How To Stop Wasting Your Time In The Dating Game

by Imani Ellis

When I was younger, the highlight of my week was going to a shrine-like Chinese buffet down the street
with my family. Every Friday, we would pile into the suburban and head to an indigestion nightmare
of fried calamari, crab legs drizzled with garlic butter, fried rice and sesame seed chicken.
 I remember mentally deciding which entrée I would devour first, which flavor of rice would complement it best and how much I could grab when I came back for second helpings. As soon as we had plates in our hands, I rushed to my carefully determined selections and gorged myself in Oriental heaven.

My younger sister had her own decision-making rituals when it came to mealtime. She typically walked
aimlessly up and down the aisles, asking herself if she was in more of a “shrimp mood” or a “steak
mood.” She would scoop a teaspoon of every type of rice available, only to pace back and forth as she toiled over what would be the next item to occupy a prized position on her plate. By the time she got back to the table, I was already on my third plate of food, or even dessert.

I tell this story, not to encourage the overconsumption of eggrolls, but to illustrate the importance of having a vision for what you want in life – especially when it comes to relationships. You might be thinking, ‘But at the end of the day, weren’t you both fed?’ Yes. But my journey saved me time, energy and frustration. If wasting time doesn’t bother you, then wandering through relationships might be a great option. If it does, here are some ways to save precious time and to satisfy whatever you’re craving in your next relationship.

1. Figuring out what you don’t want is just as important as figuring out what you do.


Knowing what turns you off might be more important than you think. I once dated a guy who cut me off mid-sentence when I tried to speak, and that included when I ordered food at restaurants. Suffice to say, I hated it. Then, there was my ex who was anti-kissing (who doesn’t enjoy kissing?). I also hated that. I mentally noted that these were not only traits that were deal breaking and annoying, but also, these were characteristics that I did not desire in my significant other. By discovering (and excluding) the traits I wasn’t looking for in a relationship, I was able to save time by realizing what doesn’t work for me

2. Know your worth.

You’re beautiful. You’re smart. You’re worth it. I know I sound like every self-help book written. But
knowing your worth can save you time. Have you recently met a guy who consistently blows you off, calls only after midnight or has yet to flex his biceps for the sole purpose of opening a door? You don’t
need him. Really…you don’t. Knowing that you have something unique - something special - to bring to a relationship will enable you to see that asking someone to meet you halfway isn’t an outrageous request (and actually necessary).

3. Avoid desperation.


We’ve all had nights when Ben & Jerry’s didn’t cut it, and we craved a companion in place of Chunky Monkey, but try to avoid
moving in with desperation. Find a way to distract yourself. Whether it’s by turning on the “Law
& Order: SVU” marathon, heading to a yoga class or grabbing dinner with the roommate, find a way to
develop yourself, strengthen existing friendships and establish your own interests. Not to say that living in the moment is negative, but making decisions that your future self will thank will only benefit your personal well being.

4. Run your own race.

Let’s face it: we’re young. We don’t need to plan our lives doesn to the minute, but we do need to live our lives at our own pace. With wedding photos popping up daily on Facebook and screenshots of ‘lovey dovey’ conversations flooding Instagram, it can seem like everyone around you is deeply in love. Don’t feel obligated to make a commitment you’re not ready for. Stay in your own lane, and do what makes you comfortable. Don’t want to kiss on the first date? Then don’t. This isn’t a race, kids.

5. Cover your ears and watch it unfold.

At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words - we all know this. There comes a time
when we have to tune out the ‘sweet nothings’ and face reality. He says he’s ‘sooo into you’ but you kind of only hear from him on the weekends. Wanting a boyfriend? Don’t keep making the guy who wants the world to know he’s single a priority.

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” – Maya Angelou

Don’t trust people until you are certain that they are worthy. You can avoid wasting your time by weeding out those who bring only negativity to your life. Like my mom always says, “If he likes you, you’ll know, and if he doesn’t, you’ll be confused.”

Top Photo Courtesy: Tumblr