Bored, restless, and just craving a connection, polls show that up to 48% of Americans are single but unable to mingle. What can you do about it?
The bars are closed.
So are the restaurants.
Coffee shop? Museum? Beach?
Good luck! The world has changed more than we may want to admit, and it's already started to change people's habits.
So what, do we all just start hanging out near gas stations and fast food establishments in an attempt to find that special someone? Unlikely. The thought of mobile dating apps comes to mind. But with so many apps and people to choose from, the prospect can be a little daunting. Not to mention the plethora of inauthentic users and bots that seem to exist only to spite you. What about friends and family? Surely they would know someone just perfect for you. Without the same close-knit social circles that previous generations experienced, this isn't as promising either.
But there is hope! Nothing is so bleak. The upside of half of Americans being single is that... well, half of Americans are single!
Maybe none of the options we've discussed already have been very appetizing. Not one of them offers any particularly good chance at finding "the one" (or anyone, for that matter) by themselves. That's why you've got to diversify your bonds. Put yourself out there. It's going to be difficult. Everything worth anything is always difficult.
Be open to new interactions. Use those apps. Ask your friends and family. They too want you to be happy. Establish your boundaries and be clear about what you want, but don't create unnecessary obstacles. Don't be afraid to be yourself! It sounds cliche, but it's good advice. You'll save yourself so much time by filtering out the people who never would have accepted you for who you are. Besides, you are far more likely to attract someone with similar interests. Just do you.
With so many chances to make a mistake, you're bound to be overwhelmed. We all are. Brushing aside your frazzled nerves, one of the best things you can do to improve your chances is to broaden your horizons. With more and more of our time spent online, we expose ourselves to so many ideas and opinions that we love or hate. This has given us such a narrow and contorted view of our perfect someone that sometimes we forget that they only exist in our mind's eye. Being kind and accepting others for who they are will go a long way in your search for someone special.
Newsflash: you know less about your favorite YouTuber or Musician than you think you do. They get to control what parts of them you get to see, and that skews your opinion of who they are. Why do we completely discount someone for things that would not have mattered to our grandparents? Is it really that big a deal that he/she does that thing you don't like? Ask yourself if it could grow on you. If it's such a big deal, talk to them about it. If you focus on what you like about the people in your life and not the things you don't, you will absolutely be happier for it.
Just remember that this is the new normal, at least for now. Feelings of isolation and anxiety are on the rise. You don't need a degree in psychology to see that. We're all going to be a bit awkward. Be willing to make compromises. Don't expect them to accept your imperfections if you can't accept theirs. They probably feel just as isolated as you do.
Put yourself out there, even if it's from within your home. Video chatting with friends before your virtual date will get you accustomed to communicating face to face again. A heated or weighted blanket can give you a small semblance of intimacy. Take a shower and make sure you smell nice. They may not be able to tell, but smelling good will leave you more confident. Light some candles and play your favorite music. Give yourself every opportunity to be confident.
And remember to think about what could be instead of what will "never happen." Don't watch your life just happen and actively pursue what you want. We're all anxious, lonely, angry, or scared but we can transform that energy into big changes in our lives, starting today, by living the golden rule. It's going to be ok.