I've just turned 30 years old, so that means I have not only the privilege, but the duty to lecture all you 20-somethings on life.
Well, not really... but I have learned some things in my three decades on earth — especially about love and dating. Yes, love and dating; it seems as the two are meant to be synonymous, but life teaches us that's rarely the case in your 20s, especially if you're a late bloomer like me.
And when I say I'm a late bloomer, I mean really late. I turned 30 on the 26th of September, and went on my first date on the first of October… and it was speed dating (which I will write about soon.)
See, so when I tell you I have some warnings for you, listen up! As I often say, “you don't want to trade places with what I've been through.”
Now you're probably thinking: Who's this guy to give me advice? He didn't start dating until his 30s.
Actually, I'd argue it makes me the perfect guy to give advice. I have finally seen the error of my ways and can impart wisdom upon my younger brethren.
So here are some things to keep in mind when dating in your 20s, as told by someone who didn't start dating until their 30s:
I cannot stress this enough. I'm kicking myself for the amount of time I wasted thinking love was going to knock on my door and find me.
For some people, it happens that way, and God bless 'em. It happened to my grandparents that way, but for most of us, that's not how it's going to happen.
If you like someone, ask them out! In my 30 years, I found out that the “nos” in the long-run hurt less than the “what ifs?” And I learned this lesson the hard way.
I recently spoke to a former love interest who I was always afraid of asking out, in fear of rejection. She actually confided in me that if I'd actually had the nerve to ask her out she, would have said yes! “Are you kidding me?” I said loudly in my head and less loudly to her.
But she's now married and has a couple kids. So that ship has not only sailed, it found another ship and had babies with it. So please, be proactive.
Stop blaming your looks
Blaming my solitude on my looks has been a pastime of mine for longer than I can remember. I was so good at it, they actually considered giving me an honorable gold medal at the Rio Olympics. Seriously, look it up.
But if you don't have time, I'll understand. I always thought I was “too fat” and “too ugly” for a woman to be attracted to me. You know what? That's not true! I'm not too fat to find love because I've seen people fatter than I find love! I'm not too ugly to find love because ugliness is something that's subjective.
My grandmother seriously doesn't know what men find attractive about Sofia Vergara... I kid you not. No matter how you look, there's someone who will be attracted to you. It may take some of us longer to find them, but trust me, it will be worth the wait.
Don't make the comfort zone you're end zone
Sometimes life has a funny way of throwing opportunities at us. The problem is, we often suck at picking up the signals. If you want to have success in your love life, you have to get off of the sidelines. Whether it's that guy or girl who you think is giving you the eye, or that invitation to a party you're too tired to go to. Go for it!
That guy or girl giving you the eye could be the guy a girl of your dreams. That party that you may be too tired for might be the place you meet the future Mr. Or Mrs. Right.
At worst, it's just a bad party. At really worst it's a cult meeting, but life is all about experiences. (FYI, just don't drink the Kool-Aid if it is a cult meeting.)
You're never going to grow if you don't go! There's opportunity all around us, but if you stick to your comfort zone and stay on the sidelines, you're never going to bask in any glory.
Ask for help
The famous Motown song says, "I Ain't Too Proud to Beg," and though I'm not exactly talking about begging, I'm just talking about asking for help.
This past year has probably been the best year ever as far as my love life is concerned. I've been speed dating, I've been taken on by dating coaches and even a matchmaker, and all because I asked for help.
I was finally brave and vulnerable enough to put myself out there, to tell people I feel bad and I need help. “Can you help me?” is probably the four hardest words for humans to say.
But I got the courage to say them and because of it, I got a whole host of healthy connections and they've made me become more cool, confident and just plain old better about myself.
It's like seeing a therapist for your love life. It's been fun and I'm actually starting to see some results.
So these are just a few tips and things I learned about dating in your 20s from someone who didn't start dating until their 30s. So put yourself out there more. May luck and love be on your side on the battlefield that is dating.