All it takes is one quick Google search and you’ll find dating articles about everything from “In L.A., there will always be someone richer and better looking than you” to “Traffic and proximity make dating expensive and near impossible.”
But, I have to ask, how is thinking about dating in this way helpful?
True, some people in Los Angeles are often renowned for being flaky, superficial, and opportunistic. It’s also true in L.A., where driving anywhere is practically unavoidable, that dating is very different from dating in, say, New York City, where you can literally brush shoulders with several perfectly eligible decent human beings on a single evening stroll.
Often, I work with clients who are frustrated with their relationship status and complain that living in Los Angeles is the root of all their dating problems.
But is living here really the cause of the problem?
A Different Perspective
It’s also true that L.A. is a city of dreams and a city where those dreams can and actually do come true. Big things happen here!
Just think back to what made you choose to live here, or if you were born here, all the reasons that you stay. I bet you had some bright-eyed aspirations. Maybe L.A. inspires you, maybe it’s the weather, or maybe it’s the only home you’ve ever known. Whatever it is, people don’t continue to live here unless they really, really want to make this their home. And this applies to dating as well.
Some complain that life here seems so impersonal. I tend to put this under the heading of “self-fulfilling prophecies.” If we believe something strongly enough, it tends to become true – even if it’s not.
Consider this: If dating and finding “The One” in L.A. is “almost impossible” then why is it that almost every wedding venue in the region has to be booked at least a full year in advance?!
To help you out, I’ve put together a list of actionable tips that will serve all my (understandably) frustrated single clients well in this city, as they have for other singles, who initially felt just like you.
First things first: Are you ready to date?
There are any number of reasons that you might not be ready to date. One of the most common reasons is that you may not be over your last relationship. If this is you, then you need to emotionally clear the decks so that you can truly be ready for someone new.
Ask yourself, “What exactly am I looking for in a mate?
Be clear with yourself about what your values are in life and what you want from a relationship.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What do you want your life to look like the future?
- What makes you happy today?
- What made you happy when you were 10 years old?
- What are your core values?
- What do you want from a romantic partner?
- How do you define a good partnership/marriage?
What are your “Must Haves?” What are your deal breakers in a relationship?
Consider and rank the top categories in your life: relationships, sexual compatibility, emotional intimacy, family, money, career, trust, fidelity, compatibility, health, passion projects, travel, etc.
This seems like a no-brainer, but really being honest about this can be a vast and game-changing topic that will absolutely influence how you will respond or act on every other tip that follows in this list.
What are you not looking for?
Along with knowing what you want, it is also equally as helpful to know what you don’t want. Knowing the signs that someone is not “The One” is something that my clients, family, and friends have found very helpful.
The “80% Rule”
While there is no exact math to dating and compatibility, here is a general guideline that many singles find very helpful. If you meet someone and after spending some time with them you feel that you are compatible on at least 80% of your mutual needs, then this is a relationship that you may want to continue to explore.
Feeling anxious about dating?
Being single and dating in the age of Tinder, can be rather complex. It’s not uncommon to feel nervous or anxious about starting over or just getting started. Meeting new people can be nerve-wracking, but the articles linked can provide some helpful tips.
The language of dating
As with everything in life, there are the ups and downs of dating. If you know some of the language of dating, you are ahead of the game. There are some wonderful men and women out there. And there are some jerks.
Knowing particular patterns and pitfalls of dating will more quickly free you up to let go of the “bad ones,” and move on to more optimistic choices.
Meeting someone through people you know
What many others have found is that most of us will still have a better chance of meeting someone through our direct human contacts with friends, family, and fellow co-workers.
Social media can certainly help move the process along after you have met someone, but I don’t recommend it as your “romantic search engine.” There just is no comparison to meeting someone in person through people who already know a little about what makes you tick.
Los Angeles is a land where dreams are made, but they don’t come easy for anyone – and that includes finding an ideal mate. You are going to need to be self-assured and focused on what matters most to you, or else be led astray by what others suggest you try on for size. However, there is nothing wrong with trying things on for size if it helps you to get clarity on a particular question mark in your life. It’s better to think of answering these questions as a sculptor gradually carving away at a block of stone than something that is contractually binding with yourself.
For example, you might be really interested in that guy in Santa Monica, but is it worth the commute from where you live in Pasadena? If it’s worth it to you to try it, try it. The key to experimentation though is, once you get clear on whether something works for you or not, act accordingly. Rewrite your wants and move on.
First and foremost, it’s important to accept the very normal feelings and fears you may be having about putting yourself out there. The fact that you are feeling nervous is a good sign. It means that dating is important to you, and if you are wanting more than one or a series of casual hookups, it means that you feel that you are ready for something more.
Yes, for many of us, this is taking a big leap – and that’s scary. But it could also be an opportunity! If you are dreading the drive to your friend’s party in Palos Verdes or the Hollywood Hills, but want to make an appearance, then why not make it known that you’re open to dating someone new?
If the host knows you’re actively looking, maybe they’ll invite that one friend of theirs with whom they had been thinking you’d hit it off. Or, if you strike up a conversation with someone that sparks an interest in you, why not ask them for their phone number? This goes right along with some healthy flirting too!
Don’t pass up an opportunity because of a fear that isn’t serving you. In professional life, we call this networking. So why not apply it to your dating life? Part of being proactive is being willing to look that fear in the eye. It only takes one “Yes!”
Hack your courage!
And speaking of being proactive, here are seven reasons to ask him out first!
Learn how to handle rejection
We’ve all experienced it. If you’re putting yourself out there, rejection will happen from time to time. It might even happen a lot. And that’s OK. We don’t have to be the right person for everyone. A certain amount of self-protection is a good idea, as long as it doesn’t hinder your ability to keep trying.
If you need to avoid your coupled-up friends for a little bit because your relationship has ended or you’re not ready to date yet after a deeply broken heart, it’s perfectly fine and healthy to nurture those wounds for a while until you’re ready. But, if you’ve been stood up or brushed off on a first date, keep it in perspective. It doesn’t mean you’re unattractive or inherently unlovable. That person is simply freeing you up to move on to the next!
Be clear about your intentions
Angelinos are often accused of being flaky and opportunistic, but you can avoid that by simply being honest and direct from the get-go. If you strike up a conversation, tell them that you’d like to get to know them more and ask for a date. If you accept a date with someone but aren’t sure what their intentions are, make it clear that you are looking for relationship material and not just a fling.
Bonus tip and insight for the guys: I have talked to so many of my single women clients and friends who told me that they strongly prefer to be asked out on an actual date as opposed to you asking, “Hey, do you wanna hook up?” Yeh. Not so romantic guys. Truly, if you are at all interested a woman beyond friendship, actually use the word “date.” It’s sexier than you might know!
How to deal with flakes
It will probably happen. And not just in Los Angeles. You’ll also find flaky people in New York, Chicago, and Miami. Someone you’re into will say, “Yeah, yeah, we should totally hang out,” and then doesn’t ever return your calls. Or, someone will say, “Let’s meet up later,” but doesn’t show up.
The rule of thumb for dealing with is people like this is “Just Don’t.” Don’t put up with it. Don’t keep trying. Don’t hold out in the hopes that they follow through. Just continue doing your own thing. If they do follow through, then it’s a pleasant surprise! And if they don’t, then it’s no harm done because you’re out having a good time anyway. (P.S. If they’re really into you, they WILL follow through.)
Enjoy your singledom!
Don’t wait to do what makes you happy until you find that right person. You’ve got goals and dreams, right? You’ve got a bucket list that can’t wait – so, don’t! The more life experience you have, the better informed you’ll be to make the right choices for yourself.
Your confidence to do anything will be even more unshakeable (and attractive).
Practice joy for others
This one can be tricky. If you’re healing a broken heart, it can be hard to go out to a movie among all the happy couples. If your biological clock is ticking, it can be hard to hang out with your pregnant married friends. It’s OK to practice self-preservation when you’re truly hurting. But the thing is, practicing joy for others is a practice in gratitude. The more joy we look for, the more we will find. So, when you are grateful for the love that already surrounds you, you’ll very likely attract more into your own life.
This is the ultimate dating rule. If you disregard everything else I’ve said in this post, hold on to this one because it is the common thread for all of us.
Work on liking yourself more than liking someone else. Enjoy your own company when you’re alone. Dive into a hobby or personal interest. Take care of your body. Pursue your bucket list. Be gentle with yourself. Never stop learning.
Self-love is the one task we’ll never be done with, so embrace yourself, and don’t give up! So much more is possible than you might believe!
You will be a better lover and partner to your future mate for it, but more importantly, you’ll enjoy a more fulfilled life, with or without a partner…which, ironically, will likely attract people you will want in your life.
I hope that this blog has been helpful. If you would like to explore more about dating, give me a call or send me an email for a free 15-minute phone consultation. There is very likely more that we can explore to help your dating life be more successful.