“My kid just hasn't found the right one yet.”
It’s a sentiment echoed near and far by mothers and fathers turning a blind eye to the imperfect nature of their offspring.
As if their little one, who is now in his mid- to late 20s, is a perfect specimen of human mating, and all that’s left to do is to find “the one.”
Sure, compatibility is a big issue when it comes to dating, but it’s a two-way street.
The act of continually searching for the right — without taking a look in the mirror — is akin to trying different jobs and businesses over and over again because you failed at the last one.
The problem might not be the job.
It might be you.
If you’re attracting sh*tty people, chances are, you’re a sh*tty person, too.
Like attract likes.
Healthy people attract healthy people, and dysfunctional people attract dysfunctional people.
You know what I’m talking about.
If you’ve had the same pattern act out in your relationships more than twice, there’s a very good chance it has to do with you.
Instead, what if you became “the one?”
Become the kind of person you’re trying to attract, and you’ll be surprised by how many potential “ones” are looking for what you have to offer.
Here are six of the best ways that I know how:
1. Build self-awareness.
It’s hard to improve yourself if you’re not aware of what is in need of improvement.
Self-awareness isn’t an easy skill to build, but it’s more than worth the effort to work on this area of your life.
Self-awareness will help you recognize your unconscious emotional patterns in relationships, your career and everything else in life.
What’s the best way to start?
2. Play the numbers.
You can’t win the game of love if you don’t play.
Life is not a fairytale, and while it would be nice if all love stories started as serendipitously as they do in romantic comedies, they don’t.
While it may be off-putting to your idealistic, hopeless romantic self to think of dating as something much like prospecting in sales, the reality of the situation is that the bigger the pool of potential mates you can interact with in an intentional way, the greater the chance of finding someone compatible.
If you’re waiting around for “the one” to find you, don’t.
Summon your suave side, get out there and start meeting people.
The best place to look? Somewhere that prequalifies your potential lover.
Do you want someone who places a value on health? A yoga class is a good start.
More into performance art? Try an acting class.
3. Learn from your mistakes.
Dating, like anything else in life, is an iterative process.
You get better with repetition.
Think of your middle school self on a date. You probably weren’t as smooth as you think you were.
If you change your goal from “finding the one” to “going on dates,” you’ll succeed every time you go out because you’re practicing and getting better.
You’re getting better at understanding yourself, other people and the relationship between the two.
Dating will teach you what you want and don’t want in a relationship, and best of all, it will make you better at dating.
4. Improve your social skills.
Meeting people, engaging in conversation and being likable is an art form.
Some of us are innately talented at such things, and then there are some of us who have to try a little harder.
The good news is that social skills are indeed a learnable skill set.
Anyone can get better at dealing with people relatively quickly. They even have classes for this.
If you want to get better at interacting with people, try some personal or professional development such as a Dale Carnegie class, improvisational comedy or Toastmasters.
These are nurturing, supportive environments that will teach you how to be better in all of your interactions.
5. Become an independent, interesting person.
Without building an interesting, independent life of your own, you’ll most likely place too much pressure and responsibility on your partner.
Don’t depend on your partner to meet all of your emotional needs. That’s not an ideal many of us can live up to.
Go to the gym, get some interesting hobbies, become good at something, learn skills, speak another language, play an instrument or volunteer for a service opportunity.
I highly recommend you travel. It makes for good stories, and it will make you a better person.
As Mark Twain said,
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.
6. Deal with your sh*t.
They say that when you meet someone and feel like it’s love at first sight, run the other direction. All that’s happened is that your dysfunction has meshed with their dysfunction. Your wounded inner child has recognized their wounded inner child, both hoping to be healed by the same fire that burned them.
— Neil Strauss, "The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships"
It may sound harsh, but chances are, if you are desperately searching for “the one,” then you aren’t ready to find that person.
Sure, you might find someone who’s dysfunction fits perfectly into yours, and you might think you’ve found your soulmate as a result.
But sooner or later, you’ll find out that another person can’t fill the void inside of you.
Only you can do that.
Build an interesting life and learn to be happy with yourself, and I will bet you will find many other attractive, suitable mates who will be happy with you, too.