Go to a mirror and take a good, long look at yourself. Not the you from your selfie cam, and not the you that’s shown in pics on social media and on dating apps (but keep an eye on those guys too). Take a good look at your single self as a whole and ask, am I truly a dateable person?
Now don’t measure this on looks (for you will certainly already be judged on that no matter what) but let’s face it, there are plenty of happy couples to be seen out there every day where you look at one partner and wonder how they even got the other one.
Instead of focusing on things you can’t really change, think about yourself as a brand: What makes you marketable and what sets you apart from the competition? Here are 5 ways to know you are not dateable, how it affects your “marketability,” and what you can do about it.
1. You Have Weak Self Confidence
Confidence, or the lack thereof rather, would probably show up on anyone’s list of things you can do to make yourself more dateable. But it’s number one on this list for a reason. It’s not about showing off with loud bravado or obnoxiously talking loud in a public place kind of confidence. Don’t confuse lack of shame or tact, or cockiness for confidence. That might even work for wooing some, but as a whole, it’s going to be your self-confidence that potential mates will pick up on, and will judge you based on. It is important to know your worth while still being humble.
Take action: There some things you can do right now to start boosting your confidence. Even simple things like standing straight and maintaining eye contact with people when you are talking. Your posture and mannerisms can exude self-confidence, and smiling, a positive attitude, and pride in your friends, family, & the things you enjoy in life will just show that exponentially when others observe you.
2. You’re in a Rocky Financial Situation
A recent survey showed that 40% of adults said that knowing a potential partner’s credit scores would have an influence on if they wanted to date them or not. Women were nearly three times as likely to consider credit score a major influence on a potential partner compared to men (20% versus 7%).
Sitting on a pile of debt and not doing anything about it except paying the minimums on all of your balances and living paycheck to paycheck? It’s time to turn that ship around. Showing irresponsibility with finances could be a red flag to irresponsibility elsewhere. Being in a tough spot doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel, because potential mates are going to write you off immediately.
Whether it’s student loans, credit card debt, or a week with one too many spontaneous trips to the bar that weren’t thought out ahead of time, most people are dealing with financial troubles of their own. But some may prejudge according to the public image you project when it comes to finances.
Take action: Showing drive and determination is the first step. A person who has goals set in place and a plan of action appears much more dateable than someone who is just going to complain about their money situation. What are you doing to get out of your financial rut? Start with a bare-bones budget to see what the necessities are (not coffees every morning from Starbucks or a new video game). If the looming shadow of student loan debt hangs over you, look into refinancing options and see if there is a solution that can help you. Credit card debt is astronomically high in the US, but there are a lot of different angles you can approach reducing your credit card debt, so find what works and get cracking and you will get on the road to financial freedom and show a potential romantic partner that there is someone who cares about the future.
3. You’re not Honest, Respectful, or Tolerant enough
Just like potential employers can look you up on Linkedin and across social media accounts and it could affect your chance of getting a job, potential dates might want to play detective and look you up on social media as well. They can frame their own picture of you in their minds before you even get a chance to go on a single date based on the things you say and what you share.
Honesty about who you are and what you are looking for is important, especially early on when potential dates are first getting to know you. Saying you are looking for “whatever” is probably going to get you just that: whatever. The same way that being driven to turn around financial challenges can help you, being honest with yourself and with those you are pursuing a potential relationship with about what it is you want and having the drive to try and accomplish those relationship goals is going to help you as well.
Take action: Think about what you put out there publicly that is overly political, religious, or any other strong divisive topics. The opportunity to see where you both stand on issues like those will come out in the dates to come. Once you are at the stage of going on actual dates, how you treat cashiers at stores and waitstaff at restaurants could cause a potential partner to make a grand assumption about the kind of person you are overall.
Also, nobody wants to waste anyone else’s time when dating. Be clear with your intentions and be honest about what you are looking for and the pace you are hoping to pursue in the dating process. Open and honest communication is important for any relationship as it grows so it doesn’t hurt to have this mindset from the start.
4. You’re not Driven and Career Minded
Are you complacent in your career path? Unsure of where you are going over the course of the next year, let alone a (gasp!) 5-year plan? It’s difficult to plan a successful future with someone else if your own future is very up in the air still. Even if you are very happy with your current job situation, a possible partner seeing what you value with your time outside of work is closely related, showing where your priorities lie and what kind of person you strive to be.
Take action: Show that you are driven to move upwards, either by trying to find a better job if your current career path is looking stagnant, or always trying to advance up the ladder within your present job. Money is likely to be the biggest stressor in a relationship, and similar to showing drive with your personal finances, showing the same level of determination with your career goals and future is just going to give a better outlook for you as a dateable prospect.
Outside of your employment situation, you might be able to give a good impression to others if you are driven in other areas. If you have an artistic or musical side, don’t be shy to make it known. Volunteering in the community or participating in local events can show a social side of you with a go-getter attitude that will make you more dateable.
5. You’re Just Bad at Basic “Adulting”
Nothing screams immaturity like someone who handles things in their life like they are still a teenager. While you can only blame your parents for your looks, things like basic hygiene, staying healthy, and being mindful of your appearance before you head out the door can make a difference in being more dateable. Stuff like the clothes you wear might not seem important, but in the swipe right or left era of modern dating, first impressions are everything.
Remember, the dating pool is a super competitive arena and how maturely you present yourself on and off dating apps is going to at least keep you in the running instead of being written off before you have a chance to how someone how you are in person.
Take action: Care for yourself. How can you be expected to care for a partner in a relationship if you don’t respect yourself enough to take care of yourself. You don’t have to become a gym rat, but keeping fit and healthy is good for you overall and will only help make you more self-confident, and more dateable if you are showing drive in this aspect of your life as well. Give your wardrobe a reset if some of your favorite older outfits make you look frumpy and try to find outfits that play to your strengths.
Also, you don’t have to be bloody Chef Ramsay, but if you don’t use more than a microwave for your meals, you now have a new skill to pursue that can definitely make you stand out amongst the competition. There are lots of attitude adjustments you can make that can go along way to acting like an adult. Lastly, go on actual dates, not relying on “Netflix & Chill” hangouts (can we retire this phrase yet?). It’s another way to show effort and drive to a potential partner. Someone who can care for and provide for themselves will probably be more likely to care for and provide for another in a relationship.
It’s the holiday season so take these items to heart and make yourself the person a future date will want to cuddle up with hot chocolate this winter, (or insert any other cliche holiday date idea here). Watch the ball drop as the year comes to an end and look ahead into 2019 with a fresh inward perspective so when you look in the mirror you know exactly who the person is that is staring back—someone who is more dateable than they were in 2018.