Finding a Partner

Are you ready to start dating again?

If you have been home recovering from a bad breakup it may be hard to figure out when you are ready to start dating again.

Some people want to get right out there on the dating scene, while others need more time to lick their wounds and let themselves heal.

Are you being healthy in letting yourself get over that last relationship, or are you avoiding getting out there again? It can be hard to tell. It’s natural to be apprehensive about dating again, especially if the last one really hurt or if it’s been a long time since you were last single.

You should follow your own instincts a little bit as well – if you don’t feel ready then you might not be. A little bit of caution can be a form of protection, but too much is just avoidance.

Ok, so how can you tell if it’s time to start dating again?

There isn’t an easy rule of thumb about when to start dating again. You can’t say three months is a long enough wait, or six months, because it will vary for every person.

It is hard to say when you should try again in terms of weeks or months, but there are signs that you can look for to tell if you feel ready.

There is a rough rule of thumb that recommends you take half as long to heal as the total time the relationship lasted (so if you were together one year then you’d need six months to heal properly). But people rarely work so much like clockwork.

If you rush into dating again because you are lonely and hurting then you might find yourself making the wrong mistakes again and again. You might engage in dangerous or self-destructive behaviours and end up with the same toxic kind of partner as in the past.

Generally, you probably aren’t ready to date again until you have:

  • Had a chance to grieve
  • Healed properly from the last breakup
  • Addressed any changes about yourself that contributed to the last failed relationship
  • Built up your resilience to the possibility of being hurt again
  • Built up your strength and confidence in yourself enough to be treated well

You need to be healed enough to go into the next relationship with a positive attitude

You can tell you are ready to start dating again when your attention turns from the pain of the last relationship to the potential of the next one. When you start to believe that you are worthy of being loved again and that a great relationship is waiting out there for you, then you are ready. 

A very good sign is if you aren’t looking to start dating to reduce the pain of your last breakup but because you are excited about the possibility of finding the one.

Your friends and family will have a pretty good idea if you are ready too, so chat to them about what they think.

And remember that ‘getting out there’ doesn’t need to mean you have to be 100% healed before going out or dating at all. Just start with some nights out with friends, or some dinners where other single people are there. Just getting out there again meeting people and doing things like learning to read signals or getting comfortable with flirting again will all help you build your confidence and inner strength enough to be ready for the next great love of your life.

If you want to be ready, but suspect you aren’t quite there yet, check out our other posts on how to build up your self-esteem.

How to handle being Ghosted

Being ghosted by someone online can make you feel like complete rubbish, and it’s only natural. This happens when you have been dating or even just chatting online and then suddenly you get nothing but silence and virtual tumbleweeds on the other end.

It can happen at any point in an online relationship (including before you would even define it as a relationship). And at least 50% of men and women who have talked to people online have experienced this feeling.

So why does it happen?

One of the great skills of dating that we probably all need to learn is how to accept if someone just isn’t into you. Single people often give the other party a lot of excuses, when the simple fact is they aren’t interested and they know that it isn’t going to work out long term.

Ghosting is someone’s way of not wanting to hurt by leading you on, while actually telling you this would be a kinder way to do it. It is their way of ending the relationship.

How can you tell if you are being ghosted?

If you get sudden silence on the other end of your chat there are a couple of reasons for it – either your person is suddenly offline or busy, or you are being ghosted. 

Because something could have come up to distract them from chatting to you (such as a family trip with no digital coverage or perhaps they lost their phone) it’s best not to launch straight away into offensive texts demanding a response. 

But the likelihood of being ghosted is high, so perhaps protect yourself and prepare yourself a bit for the reality of this happening.

How should you handle it?

Because online dating happens entirely through digital communication someone can ‘break-up’ with you without even having to do anything. They can break up with you by doing nothing, literally.

It is far easier than back in the dinosaur age when people had to actually speak to each other to break up. People used to tell that a relationship had ended because of something active the other person did (like fight, cheat, start dating someone else). Because digital communication is so easy and also happens 24-7, you can break up with someone just by failing to respond.

There are two ways you will need to react to being ghosted – the first is your online response, and the other is how you react personally.

How to react online

The best way to react online is as cool as a cucumber, regardless of how you feel inside. If someone you’ve been chatting with suddenly goes AWOL perhaps leave two or three messages hanging and then say something like, ‘I’ll leave it with you to make the next move.’ Then stop contacting them.

If you are ghosted on a public forum it can be harder to deal with because it can feel like everybody is watching. Did the entire internet just see you get stood up?

While technically other people can see it, chances are no one is really attention, unless you make a big deal out of it. People are generally too caught up in their own dramas to notice what happens to others unless a big song and dance is going on.

Avoid the urge to call them out publicly on this behaviour or say anything mean. Be the bigger person.

Try to brush it off, don’t feel embarrassed or self-conscious. It’s just something that happens. 

And perhaps use this as a lesson in how bad it feels to be ghosted and why you should remember not to do it to others – you can always send them a respectful message to say that you’re not feeling it and this is goodbye.

How to deal with being ghosted

It’s normal to feel crappy if you’ve been suddenly ghosted, especially if you kind of liked this person. 

And because breaking up or letting someone know you aren’t interested just by ghosting is so easy, the shallowest people will do it.

So, chances are, you may have dodged a bullet if you got out now, as this person may not have a fully developed sense of adult emotions. It may not feel very good now, but you are probably better off without this person. Eat a big tub of expensive ice cream and then get back onto Tinder.

How to date online if you’ve never done it before

It’s time to get out of your sweats and off the couch, switch off the sad romance flicks and get started dating again. 

If you’ve never really had to date online before it can be a bit daunting at first. But in many ways, it is easier than dating in person. You can have more time to build up your confidence and think about what you are saying in each conversation. You can also prepare and plan for the kind of profile you are projecting online.

There are some tricky bits to online dating, so we have covered some of the main questions that people have below.

What dating platform to choose

There is a range of different platforms, but let’s break them down into categories in a nutshell:

Dating Apps – Tinder, Hinge and Bumble make meeting people online super easy wherever you are. You set up a profile for yourself and can search for people who meet your chosen criteria, then connect either online or IRL. These are great for casual dating and hookups and for building up your confidence and online flirting skills.

Dating Websites – such as eHarmony, Match.com and OkCupid are set up for meeting people who are looking for longer-term relationships. Again you create a profile and can search through other people’s profiles to look for someone you might connect with. You can meet people all over the globe and start chatting before arranging to meet in real life.

Facebook (and other social media) – social media platforms like Facebook aren’t traditionally for dating, but they are a great way to meet people. Introduce yourself to friends of friends, and let those close to you that you are looking for introductions. Also, join groups that share geographic location and interests with you and then hang out and comment regularly to meet people. There is also a Facebook Dating app you can use. 

Chatrooms – Online chatrooms such as Second Life, Paltalk and Charmdate don’t rely so much on your profile and exposure, but can be a great way to make friends and build relationships more gradually online. These are good if you are a ‘slow and steady’ person. You just join chats about topics that interest you and go from there, finding people to connect with.

Each different online platform has its pros and cons. The best advice is to choose a platform that is right for the kind of relationship you are looking for as well as for your demographic and the demographics of your ideal partner.

Don’t just limit yourself to one platform – spread the word around to meet as many people as possible. Be confident as well as open-minded, and chat to people that you may not have automatically been attracted to in the past.

How to create a profile

Creating a good dating profile online can be like walking on a tightrope. There is a fine line between being honest enough to attract the right people, and so honest that you scare them all away. 

Many, many people create fake or fake-ish profiles to show themselves in the best light, and while this may attract more interest, in the beginning, it usually won’t help you build any deeper relationships.

Some of the best tips for your online profile include:

  • Steer clear of photos that are too posed or sexy
  • Don’t show a lot of shots of you with your ex or semi-naked pics of others
  • Use pictures that show you with friends, being natural and also doing interesting activities
  • Try to show a well-rounded profile but be honest about what you like and dislike as well – don’t say for example that you love stand up paddle boarding and mountain hikes if you’d rather read, cook dinner at home or watch a movie and chill.
  • Pay attention to your Facebook profile as well, even if you aren’t using this platform to date. People who check you out on dating apps and sites will likely stalk your Facebook profile as well, so make sure it is clean, attractive, interesting and un-embarrassing.

Other Tips for Online Dating

There are great guides and videos online on how to start chatting with people and even how to flirt online, if you are feeling particularly out of your depth here.

Just start chatting. Keep things light and fun – don’t be weird and stalker-y, don’t be controversial and aggressive with any opinions, just have fun.

Don’t post anything unless it meets the THINK test (make sure that it is True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary and Kind before you post it)

If you unsure about anything or anyone sleep on it and give yourself time to consider what you’re saying before posting something

Take things as slowly as you need to and build a relationship that you’re comfortable with before meeting anyone in real life – only you know your own timetable on this, it will be different for everybody. But don’t let people rush you.

Stay safe – get friends to check and vet anyone you are unsure of, and if you are bringing the date into real life, let a trusted friend know where you’ll be meeting your date, or arrange to meet as a group first. 

Are you are rushing into a new relationship?

Being in a loving and happy relationship is wonderful, and it’s natural to want to be in that state if you aren’t. If you haven’t dated anyone seriously before or you are still coming off a bad breakup, that loneliness can make you sometimes want to rush out and dive into the next relationship.

And new love can make us giddy, and make us do crazy things. If you really, really like someone it’s normal to want to be with them all the time. Why wouldn’t you?

There are a few reasons why you need to be careful about rushing into any new relationship

The best reason to not rush into a new relationship is for self-protection. If you go into any relationship without giving yourself enough time to build up your own confidence as well as get to know the other person then you are running the risk of heading for disaster.

  • You need to get to know this new person well enough to trust them and know that they won’t hurt you, or aren’t stringing you along
  • You need to have given yourself enough time to heal from any past break-up 
  • Rushing into anything that you aren’t certain about is a great way to get hurt and to open yourself up to rejection and worse 
  • Rushing can cloud your judgement, so you aren’t making the right choices about this person and this relationship
  • Rushing can scare another person away that you really like and that you would have had a good chance with if you slowed things down
  • You may be in over your head and trusting this person completely with your heart, pincodes and other personal stuff, when they haven’t even earned your trust in the first place.

If you are rushing in because you are lonely or need a boost for your self-confidence this can be a tenuous way to start a relationship. It is better to deal with your own loneliness and self-confidence first, then start dating, not rely on a new relationship as a way to build your strength.

Rushing can mask the fact that you are doing all of the work – if you want to see if the other person is really interested and caring then hold back a tiny bit and let them come to you. Let the other person be proactive in the relationship as well as giving them some control.

When you are in the honeymoon phase of a relationship you are both happy and showing the best of each other, so everything is great. But you won’t get to really know a person until you faced difficulty and stress together.

If you devote all of your time and emotions to this person, you are leaving yourself open to much more pain when it doesn’t work out. You still need to maintain other good things in your life such as friendships and outside interests in case this person isn’t there for you tomorrow. You don’t want to be left with nothing.

How Do You Know if You are Rushing Things?

It may be difficult to work out if you are travelling too fast in a relationship – both of you may be head over heels with each other and totally comfortable with this current super-sonic dating pace.

Generally, if you are rushing things, or if you are being rushed, there will be some red flags. If you are reading this article then you probably have a feeling that you are either taking things too fast or you are being dragged along at a dizzying pace that is a bit faster than you would like.

If friends or family tell you that you are rushing things, they are most likely right. Listen to people that you trust and that you know will have your best interests at heart.

If you feel like you or your life is changing quickly because of this new relationship then you may need to slow things down. 

While we do change a bit and for the better when we meet the right person for us, you shouldn’t be changing so much that you’ve lost who you are or what others love about you. Hang onto your own identity including your friends, interests, personal style, where you live and your independence.

Ask yourself what you really know about this person: 

  • Have you seen their bad side as well as their good? 
  • Have you seen them deal with adversity or pressure? 
  • Have you seen how they interact with their family and friends? 
  • Do you how they feel about bigger things such as kids, religion, career, roles in a marriage etc.? 
  • Are you idealising them in any way and filling in the gaps in your knowledge with who you hope they are?

Here are some clues that you might be rushing things

You are doodling your new married name intertwined with theirs within the first week

You want them to meet your parents after the first date

You only met last week but you now talk or text for hours a day

You are ready to move in together or get married when you don’t know vital things about this person like their last name, cultural upbringing or attitude towards animals, children or money.

You are missing important things in your life for this person such as school, sleep, family time or commitments with friends

Tips for how to slow things down

New love can make you dizzy, and make you want to see this person ALL OF THE TIME. 

But if you are looking for a solid long-term relationship then you literally have your whole life to spend with this person. Slow down and take your time – it will be better for you, better for them and better for the relationship. 

But what if you lose him if you don’t take every opportunity to be with him right now? What is someone else swoops if first? 

If you are worried that the relationship will die if you don’t rush it, then maybe it wasn’t really that strong to begin with. Maybe this kind of relationship wasn’t meant to be.

Here are some great tips to slow things down:

  • If you can’t stop yourself calling or texting someone, delete their number. Give them a chance to make contact and make some moves on you
  • Make other arrangements with friends such as a weekend away with mates. Book yourself up some of the time so that you aren’t always with your beloved, and you have a chance to miss them and see them at a bit of a distance.
  • Make a rule about spending a certain number of days apart in between dates or contact
  • Take it in turns to plan dates so that you both putting in an effort
  • Plan proper dates with chances to talk and get to know each other instead of just rushing in
  • Have dates that don’t involve alcohol or sex
  • Also, make it a rule to have conversations about sex when you aren’t in the middle of it
  • Quiz each other with questions that you don’t yet know the answers to, such as each other’s childhood toy, first pet, fave holiday destination or biggest fear.
  • Leave some things to surprise and maintain some mystery and romance in the relationship. You don’t need to be weeing with the door open or meeting each other’s grandparents in the first week (and definitely not both at the same time!)

How to tell if you’ve found ‘The One’

So, it’s finally happened. You have found that incredible person, that single person put on this earth to match your soul and make you happy forever. Your head is spinning, and your heart is pounding, you have butterflies whenever they are near.

You might feel like you’ve found ‘The One’, but how do you know? You probably haven’t been in this situation before (otherwise it wasn’t ‘The One’ – am I right?), so how can you tell for sure?

While the concept of only having one soulmate in your life isn’t something everyone believes in, and for many, it can sound like a bit of mystical who-ha, you probably would like to know how to tell if you are really in love.

Psychologists and other love experts agree that there are signs that this person is the right one for you. The right person for a life partnership should be compatible with you and there should be something between you that will last the long haul.

How can you tell if this is true love or just the lusty excitement of a new relationship?

Here are some ways you can tell if you’ve really found ‘The One’.

  • You feel calm and at peace both when you are with this person and when you aren’t. You feel genuinely happy.
  • It should be easy for you to communicate with each other and to make yourself understood. This person should understand your point of view without too much explaining or persuading.
  • If you are constantly butting heads, fighting or just creating general conflict with each other, then this might not be the one for you. This is a sign that the required compatibility may not be there between you.
  • You should both accept each other without dramatic changes in personality or behaviour. If this person is The One for you then they should love you pretty much as you are. You may need to quit smoking or start shaving, but essentially they should accept you as you come.
  • You will feel comfortable and at home with this person, it should be easy to just be yourself.
  • The One generally will not try to change you, and will love you for who you are. They should also support you in your life and challenges.
  • If you are starting to use the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ instead of ‘I’ and ‘me’ then this is a good sign that you are in a solid relationship. If you use these pronouns and believe deep down that you can speak for both of you then you are likely to be well connected.
  • Another excellent sign is if you are starting to build a life together or make permanent plans that include each other.
  • You are willing to make sacrifices for each other and for the sake of the relationship. You no longer always put yourself first.

Your brain will tell you so

Apparently genuine connection with another person changes the biochemical reactions happening in your brain when you think about them. Your mind will be drawn back to the thought of them even when they aren’t around, and you will feel the same happiness as when they are with you.

Your brain releases dopamine when you are in love, which gives you that great warm and fuzzy feeling when you think of your mate.

They don’t overshare

Don’t be discouraged if your partner isn’t sharing gooey pics of you both all over their social media images – it’s actually a sign of a stronger relationship when couples don’t overshare. Couples who feel strong and confident in their relationship with each other generally have less need to shout about it to everyone else.

A sign that someone is ‘The One’ could be that they stop taking selfies of the two of you and posting every moment on Instagram, and instead just enjoy being in this moment with you. People who post too much about your relationship could be overly insecure or using you to boost their image rather than just appreciating being with you.

You should want to share the positive parts of your life with your new partner

If you want this person to meet your friends and family, this is a good sign. If you really want your friends to like them then this is another one. Your friends’ positive opinions of your new love are yet again another good sign.

The people who know you well and love you will be able to tell you if this person is right for you. They should see how you are happier because of the new relationship and also how much your partner supports you. Your friends and family are usually very good readers of if you’ve found ‘The One’.

The other person should look up to you, respect you, encourage you and support you 

They should also hear you and value your thoughts and feelings. They should agree with your life goals and want to help make them happen.

Commonly partners think their lover is smarter than they are, although not considerably so. True love shouldn’t make you feel inadequate or unworthy of this person, but it will make you look up to them and admire them for their brain, their humour and their heart.

You don’t need to be clones of each other, and having healthy differences can be good for a long-term relationship. But you should balance and complement each other, and bring out the best in each other.

If you are fully focussed on this person when you are together, and not thinking about anyone else or wanting to be somewhere else instead, this is a good sign. You should be at your happiest in the moments with that person.

A successful relationship won’t stand the test of time purely on how compatible you are, however. 

You need to both make the conscious decision to be together and fight for the relationship to make it work. You both need to make the relationship a priority and actively choose to be with this person when you have other options. You both have to want to stay in the relationship and make it work.

How to build your confidence when dating

When you first start dating you may feel like a complete nervous wreck. You are putting yourself out there to be judged, and putting your heart out there to be examined – it’s totally natural to feel weird about this.

But nerves and shyness can get in the way of dating, and even be so bad that you stop trying altogether. 

We all want to stay in our comfort zones where we are warm and secure and nothing bad happens to us. But in your comfort zone usually, nothing wonderful happens either. It is outside in the great unknown where the magic takes place – so you have to put yourself out there to be able to experience it.

No one ever found love hiding away in their comfort zone.

What can you do to build your confidence up while dating?

A certain level of nervousness can be alluring, but too many nerves can really get in the way of impressing someone. If you are getting so nervous that you feel sick and can’t speak to them or approach them then you won’t get anywhere.

Unfortunately, when you are too nervous you aren’t really being yourself, and this isn’t showing the best side of you. When we relax, we are open and genuine, and more likely to have fun. If you can help to build your confidence up and feel more relaxed when dating you are more likely to connect with someone that you like. The first thing to do might be to look at what purpose your nerves are serving
If you lack confidence because you haven’t fully recovered yet from a break-up, this might be something you need to work on first. It might be a sign that you aren’t ready yet.

Nerves maybe there for protection and to keep you safe from emotional pain. It helps to have a look at your specific insecurities and then work out what purpose they serve. What can you do to work around them if they really aren’t helping?

Acknowledge that it’s ok to be nervous, and having some anxiety in this situation doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you. In fact, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re normal. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling nervous – take a deep breathe and say, ‘It’s ok. Now, what can I do about it?’

Get your friends to help you 

Whether you are trying to meet people online or in real life, recruiting your friends to help is one of the very best ways to build your confidence. 

Go out on group dates, or to speed dating events with a few single friends. Put it out to friends on Facebook that you’d like to meet someone and see what acquaintances they recommend. 

Practice your dating skills on friends to get your confidence up. Try out outfits and makeup with mates to get their opinion. Run jokes, flirtatious comments or pick up lines past them first to see what they think. This is like practising for an exam or a job interview – you will get better at it if you have a few rehearsals to help you prepare.

Have some stories ready

Have some funny stories ready or prep yourself with some topics of conversation that might be interesting. If there are things that you’re passionate about you make open up and relax more talking about them. 

Don’t be boring or monopolise the conversation by describing in minute detail your collection of ceramic cat figurines – but think beforehand of a few things you could about that might get the conversation humming along.

If you get flustered at any one point in time during the date, just give a long breath out 

Breathing out for a few seconds longer than we breathe in is a sign to the body that there s nothing to fear and it can calm down. When we are nervous our fight or flight system gets ready to bolt, and our breathing becomes short and shallow, which makes us more nervous. 

Give a long breath out and you will feel your whole body untighten and relax a little.

Take the Stress Off: Try to switch up your mindset and just have fun 

Try not to focus on meeting your next partner or on falling in love. Start just by trying to make connections, have interesting conversations and find new friends. If you remove that level of stress from the situation you will feel more comfortable and be more genuinely yourself. You will also be more attractive then as well. 

You are just going on a date to have a good time this one evening and to try something new – don’t look further forward than that. That way, if it doesn’t work out, who cares? You’ve only lost that one night.

Tell yourself that you don’t need this person to love you, you are already enough yourself without them. 

When you convince yourself that if this date doesn’t work out you will spend your life alone you are guaranteed to get nervous. Finding love should be a bonus to your life, not the only source of happiness. Love yourself regardless of what happens on this date. 

Remind yourself of your friends and family and personal success and all of the good things in your life that are already there. (and if you honestly don’t have any of that then maybe you should work on some of that first…)

Go on dates more often, including dates with people that you wouldn’t ordinarily have chosen on the first pick. Practice will help you to build confidence, as well as to figure out what doesn’t work for you. And you never know, you may find ‘The One’ on one of these practice dates because you aren’t so stressed out! 

With confidence, faking it until you make it is pretty good advice. If you boost yourself up and project a certain air of confidence you will usually find that real confidence appears.

Are you coming across as desperate?

Being worried that you are coming across as desperate when dating is a very common concern. If you are putting yourself out there to hopefully find love there is the risk you can get hurt, as well as the risk you’ll behave in all kinds of strange ways.

If you really like someone or you really want this relationship to work out, you might be coming across as too strong or too needy.

Desperation is when your behaviour is being dictated by your fear of losing this person. If all you can think about is, ‘Oh, God, I don’t know what I’d do if he dumps me!’ then this will come across to them in your behaviour. And it might be the only side of you that you are showing.

You might have all kinds of lovely and fun qualities, but they could all be hiding behind your fear. You might be acting how you think they want you to, or you might have no real control over how you’re acting. But your partner won’t get a chance to get to know the real you if you can’t act naturally.

If you are always the one making the first move, or you call or text immediately after a date, or you open up too quickly and tell someone that you like them (or even love them) too soon then all of this can come across as desperate.

On the other hand, if the other party is as into you as you are into them, all of this seemingly ‘desperate’ behaviour is probably really endearing.

Is this a bad thing?

It can be a bad thing. If you are exposing yourself to be hurt too quickly or putting trust in someone who hasn’t yet earned it then you might be moving a bit fast. And there is the possibility that you could scare off someone you really liked.

If you are the only one appearing eager and moving fast then you may want to reign it in a little. This could help the relationship build at a more comfortable pace as well as allowing yourself a bit more protection against getting your heart broken.

How can you tell if you are coming across as desperate?

Some signs that you are come across as desperate may include:

  • You are spending all of your time with this person or trying to contact them
  • You are ignoring your friends or other parts of your life
  • You are easily jealous and suspicious of any time your partner isn’t with you
  • You cling to them when you are out together
  • You fish for compliments and put yourself down to force the other person to say things that will boost your self-esteem. Excessive self-pity is never attractive.
  • You constantly need reassurance of the nature of your relationship or of how the other person feels. You might be pushing them to define the status of your relationship too soon or over and over again to reassure yourself
  • You quickly drop parts of your life for them, ignore your own friends, or adopt his interests or hobbies when you really can’t stand them
  • You whinge about how bad life is to be single or how lonely you would be without a partner
  • You are the only one making an effort at contact or arranging dates
  • You are doing too much for your partner without getting anything in return – in a sense, you are being a doormat
  • You are constantly touching them or showing physical affection with nothing in return
  • You are so thankful to be with them that you will do literally anything like hanging out at the laundromat or help with groceries (without being taken on some proper dates as well)
  • You are too eager to be intimate just to please your partner, including having sex just because you think they want it and wearing skimpy clothes to get attention
  • Showing up uninvited to surprise him at places where you don’t really belong, such as random visits to his office or popping up on his ‘boys night out’.

All of these behaviours can be ok in moderation and if both parties in the relationship are doing them. If it is all one-sided then you are coming across as driven by fear than by love, and this is no way to build a solid relationship.

If you are driven by fear then you aren’t really acting in your own best interests any more and may put up with behaviour from your partner that just isn’t respectful. 

Remember: when you are acting desperate you are likely not being respected.

Tips for how to not appear desperate

The first thing to do might be to ask yourself why you are coming across so needy in the first place. 

If you are acting desperate or coming across too strong there is probably a reason for this. You may have low self-esteem and need to work more on yourself as a single person before you are ready to become half of a couple.

You may be sensing that the other person isn’t really into the relationship and working extra hard to make up for it. If you feel like the relationship may die if you don’t do all the work then perhaps it wasn’t meant to be in the first place.

And if you are so scared of losing this person that you are acting all kinds of weird then you should probably ask yourself what else you have in your life that will still be there if they aren’t.

Losing someone can be heartbreaking, but it isn’t good to be so scared of losing them that you feel like you have nothing left.

Take a deep breathe and try to relax when you are around the other person. Give yourself a chance to step back and let them do some of the work. Give the relationship a chance to stand up without you holding up all the structure beneath it.

Make sure that you have good things in your life that aren’t this person. If you have outside interests and events to go to with friends then you will not be spending all of your time with your partner. This will reduce your desperate behaviour as well as give you something to fall back on should things not work out.

How to tell if you’ve been friend-zoned

So, you are spending heaps of time with this one person and you are sure they really like you. You call and text each other often, you laugh at each other’s jokes, you send cute memes that make each other snort milk out your noses.

You might have a great rapport with this person and you feel like you want something more to happen – but how can you tell if they feel the same way or if they only like you as a friend? How can you tell if you’ve been friend-zoned?

Some top signs that you are in the friend zone

You might be awesome together because he or she sees you as a best friend rather than as someone they are sexually attracted to or romantically interested in.

Or you may have been dating someone and it was intense and hot and heavy in the beginning, but suddenly they seem to have cooled off a lot – are you friend-zoned now?

  • There’s no romance (this one might be the biggest giveaway)
  • You don’t get any kind of special treatment or attention that their other friends don’t get
  • You aren’t their number one priority
  • Your ‘dates’ seem to be more like hanging out such as washing the dog or babysitting his cousins or playing video games or shopping for a new belt
  • They don’t touch you romantically or intimately
  • Your needs aren’t being met or noticed
  • They complain to you or confide in you about the people they are dating, because they don’t see you as ever being one of them
  • They make no effort to dress up or impress you
  • They ask you to do unsexy favours like washing their socks and jocks, or picking up tampons from the pharmacy
  • They always invite a third wheel along, or their mates don’t seem to be leaving you alone with him – as though they know he doesn’t really want it.

The biggest sign that you’re in a friend zone is a feeling that you’re being unfulfilled. If you aren’t getting what you want out of this relationship then you will feel that your emotional needs aren’t being met. Something will just feel – off.

If you suspect you have been friend-zoned its likely that you’re right.

Is there any way back from the friend zone into steamy couple territory instead?

How do you reassess this relationship and work out if the other person has a whole different set of feelings to yours? 

You could try to rekindle a spark that once was there, or perhaps light a flame in someone who never thought of you in that special way before. You can take a platonic relationship to a romantic level if you are both into it. 

You may need to blatantly put your feelings and desires on the line for this person – and give them an ultimatum to give you an honest answer. If it’s never going to happen, you deserve to know. If they want it to happen too then they will take some romantic steps with you to get the flame going.

The only way to get out of the friend zone is to put your feelings on the line. You may never be more than just a friend to this person, but at least then you’ll know for sure, and you can move on.

It might be time to lick your wounds, gather up your pride and move on. Turn your attention to someone who can give it back.

Stop making the same dating mistakes

So, you’re back again in front of The Notebook with the giant box of tissues and a tub of expensive ice cream – you’ve been dumped yet again.

You were so sure that time he was the one! Your relationship had everything going for it, all of the positive signs were there. Then suddenly you are hearing, ‘It’s not you, it’s me,’ (when you are pretty sure it is you) yet again and you’re back on the train to lonely heart hotel.

If you are repeatedly going through the same patterns and experiencing the same breakups then you need to shake things up a bit.

Essentially there is something wrong with what you’re doing, and it’s time to stop butting your head against that particular wall.

How to recognise that you are stuck in a dating pattern

There are a number of different kinds of dating patterns – do any of these sound familiar?

  • Always chasing the bad boy and inevitably getting hurt
  • Falling for married men
  • Rescuing lost souls who are too dragged down by emotional baggage to care about you
  • Coming on too strong for fear that you’ll lose someone, and then making it so uncomfortable for them that you do lose that someone
  • Cheating on people that you might really like as a way of shooting yourself in the foot
  • Losing someone because you aren’t willing to open up to them and let down your barriers
  • Rushing into the next relationship when you are clearly on the rebound from the last one
  • Chasing after someone who is the perfect clone of your ex
  • Creating a fantasy partner and dream relationship in your head that don’t resemble reality at all.

Negative dating patterns come in all shapes and sizes, but all of them mean that you are setting yourself up to fail yet again.

The key to getting out of a dating rut is to first recognise the pattern and then figure out what purpose this behaviour is serving you

This kind of behaviour is usually a form of protection oddly enough, even though you end up feeling raw and hurt after every dumping.

This is a weird sort of comfort zone that you’ve created here. It’s horrible, but it’s familiar, so you may feel as though you in control. Great love tends to happen when we have the confidence to put ourselves out there and experience the great unknown.

It can be scary as hell, but this is when the magic happens.

Tips for putting a stop to those same dating mistakes

You know what is waiting for if you tread yet again down that same old dating path. It’s time to pull out your machete and carve a whole new path through this dating jungle.

The first step in any kind of change is recognising that you have a problem, and then making a conscious effort to change. The best way to stop making any mistakes is to learn from them.

Acknowledge your role in these dating disasters and accept responsibility. In this case, it is you and not the other person. Stop playing the victim and start taking control of your life and your dating future.

You need to work out what you are afraid of, and then take definitive steps to change your dating patterns.  

Your friends and family might have insight into this – they often know us much better than we know ourselves. They may also be able to help you notice when you are making those mistakes again, and remind you gently when you need to follow a different path.

You may need the perspective of an outsider. You could also seek professional help with addressing these issues, especially if your dating choices end up exposing you to real danger or pain.

Don’t rush into any new relationship until you have completely healed from the previous one. You have healed when you don’t feel that you need a relationship but that you’d like one, and you are open to being happy with someone new.

Work on self-love first. One of the best ways to attract someone who will treat you right is to believe that you deserve it. Treat yourself right to start with and expect any new partner to do the same.

Try making completely the opposite choices to what you always do, and then see what happens. Be open to different people and different experiences – and be open to magic and happiness and love.

Should you change to impress someone else?

If you have been going on various first dates for a while now and don’t seem to be getting any further, it can be hard not to think, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ If no one is responding to your online dating profile, you could be forgiven for thinking the same.

Are you doing something wrong? And should you be changing yourself to impress someone else?

We naturally want to show the very best version of ourselves when we meet a new prospective partner

Your profile might already be a little bit exaggerated with photos of you at your most glam (or perhaps shots from 10 years and 10kg ago!) and maybe some stealthy filter work going on. 

There is a bit of grey area in this problem.

It is ok to show just the best side of you to try to impress people – its totally understandable to want to make the best first impression. And if your best first impression has not been getting you anywhere, then perhaps you need to change something up.

It’s not ok to flat out invent your profile with no resemblance to who you are in real life just to impress people or snag that new partner that you’ve had your eye on.

If you are pretending to be someone that deep down doesn’t feel right to you, this relationship isn’t going last. You shouldn’t have to change to find the right partner.

So there is a balance between glossing over yourself to impress someone you like, and flat out lying or pretending to be someone that you’re not because you think that’s what they want.

When Trying to Impress Someone is Ok (plus some great tips for how to do it!)

Putting on your best side, or making positive changes like losing weight or quitting smoking is fine when you are trying to attract someone. As long as you feel good about what you are doing for yourself, then, by all means, keep going.

Any positive changes you make should still be a part of who you are inside. And any new partner should still like you without that one change. You need to have more in common or more about you that is attractive to them than just this.

Tips to Impress Someone

Don’t be fake. It’s an old saying to ‘Just be yourself,’ and you might be sick of hearing it if it obviously isn’t working for you, but you do have to be your genuine self for someone to like you.

Find things that you are good and passionate about. These things make you attractive to others and you will light up when you are talking about them. You don’t need to be good at the same exact thing as the object of your affection – most people are attracted to others who can do something they find really hard.

Be confident, positive and happy. These traits make you easy to approach and easy to like when you approach someone else. Sometimes we have to fake confidence a bit in the beginning, and this kind of ‘faking it’ can be ok, because you will find that real confidence usually follows.

It is ok to dress to impress. If you aren’t making any effort with your personal look, hygiene or clothes then you aren’t going to attract anyone. You should find your own style that makes you feel good and then show the best version of this. Make an effort for someone to scrub up, because this shows them that you’re interested and they are worth the effort.

How to tell if you’ve crossed the line

Don’t lie about who you are to impress potential new partners or appear attractive to anyone. If dishonesty has come into your behaviour, then you’ve crossed the line.

If you’ve created an entirely new profile that doesn’t resemble the real you in any way then you are so far past the line you can’t see the line anymore.

If any changes you’ve put into place are hard to sustain, or just feel wrong or uncomfortable to you, then you are probably over the line as well.

Pretending to be someone that you aren’t might be the great plotline for a romantic comedy, but doesn’t work in real life.

We are all naturally aspirational beings, and we want to be better than we are. You might be convinced that if you lose a bit of weight, quit smoking, buy better clothes or take up an interesting hobby then you might be more attractive to potential partners.

Wanting to be better is great. Taking steps to improve yourself is also great, but you personally need to be happy with the changes.  The difference here is that you are improving yourself for you rather than just to please someone else.

When you want to change you should still want to sustain it regardless of if this new relationship works out or not. And a strong relationship should not be based entirely on how well you dress or the fact that you both like rock climbing.

Essentially change is ok if it can stand alone without the relationship. And change is ok if the relationship is based on more than just this change.

Don’t pretend to be someone that you aren’t to impress anybody, because love just doesn’t work like that. You might attract them in the beginning, but they aren’t attracted to the real you. And this won’t last, as well as not being fair really to either of you.

So, they aren’t perfect – but you can change them. Right?

You’ve started out a new relationship and everything is going pretty well – mostly, anyway. There are one or two things you’d like to change about the other person, but if they love and you love them and it’s meant to be, you can change them – right?

Can you change another person in a relationship? And another question is – should you try to?

We often see this happening when a nice girl or guy meets the classic bad boy, or a player. He might be wild and untamed, have a string of lovers behind him and a history of cheating, but it can be different now he’s with you.

You can tame his wild heart, you can make the bad boy settle down. Can’t you?

Can you change someone in a relationship?

While it is possible for people to change in a relationship and settle down when they’ve met the one, unfortunately, it is a more common situation for the other person to not change at all. If someone comes to you as a bad boy and a player, chances are you are another in their list of conquests.

It is admirable to want someone to change for the better, but it may not be possible or even likely. And you should protect yourself in the likelihood that you might get hurt.

If you start dating a bad boy hoping that you can tame him – you can’t. You can’t make anybody change their behaviour or intrinsically who they are unless they want to change.

You might start dating someone who was a bad boy before you, who then settles down happily with you because you are the one. It can happen, but don’t pin your hopes on it. Someone may willingly change to please you, but you can’t make them.

And any relationship that is built on this idea is not likely to last.

Is it ok to change someone in a relationship?

There is a certain amount of change that is acceptable in a new relationship. If you have behaviours that are particularly offensive to the other person, and you are happy to give up to make them happy, this is cool. 

Surface or generally aesthetic changes are reasonable, especially if you want to become better to please the love of your life.

But a new love shouldn’t try to change the soul of who you are. If you lose your identity, your friends, your career, your supports or your independence then you are changing too much.

If you have fallen in love with someone then you shouldn’t want to change the essence of who they are. If love is real then you should be essentially compatible and happy with each other as you are. 

Asking someone to quit smoking or start being a vegan for you is ok, but the other person needs to want to change for this to work. And you need to have their best interests at heart in asking for them to change, or the relationship might be doomed from the start.

You might want someone to have a bit of a makeover, and start dressing differently, or perhaps lose some weight. If they feel the same and are happy to do it, if these are changes they were wanting to make for the better even if you hadn’t come along, then change is reasonable.

If they are happy as they are then asking them to change for you isn’t fair and probably not the basis of a long-term relationship.

It might be helpful to have a look at yourself and ask why do you really want this person to change. What attracted you to them in the first place, if you want to change the essence of who they are? 

Are you just into a challenge? Or are you constantly starting relationships that are kind of doomed to fail? Are you attracted to guys that you know are just going to hurt you in the end? You may need to do some work on your own self-confidence first before chasing after yet another bad boy or someone who is clearly wrong for you.

If you want this person to change to be happy with you, then maybe they aren’t the right choice in the first place. Maybe you need to look for someone who is already the kind of person you want.

How to tell if someone really likes you (plus how to tell if they don’t)

This can be one of the most difficult parts of dating. It is scary as hell putting yourself out there to possibly be rejected, but it could even be worse if you are chasing someone who doesn’t really like you.

It might feel like they are interested, or you might just be sugar-coating it and be really hoping that they are. Have you got rose-coloured glasses on when you are looking at your relationship?

It can be hard to tell. Someone might be naturally shy and not big on showing how they feel. And other sorts of people can show all sorts of interest but be stringing you along for the wrong reasons.

How do you tell if someone genuinely likes you, and this is worth pursuing? And how do you tell if they don’t?

Tips that someone really likes you

Many of the ways that dating experts say you can tell someone likes you only happen face to face, which can make it a bit harder to tell if you are so far only interacting online. 

If someone looks you in the eye when they are speaking to you, touches you lightly on the arm or hand, leans in toward you or is obviously paying attention to what you are saying, these are all good signs.

If you are only dating online it can be a bit harder to tell if they are leaning toward you or looking you in the eye. 

If you are chatting online, the amount of time and attention they give you can be a good sign. If they are happy to chat often, they remember things that you’ve said, and they are giving you thoughtful questions and longer than one-word answers, these are good signs that they are interested in you.

If they go deeper with their questions, this is another great sign. I don’t mean asking dirty questions or requesting a nude pic, but asking about your opinions and feelings and reasons for something. Instead of just asking ‘What do you do for fun?’ they will ask ‘Why does that make you happy?’ or ‘Tell me about the best time you did that.’

If you get questions from them that no one else asks, and that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to answer, this person really likes you.

Someone who likes you will make time for you and make you a priority in their life. They will seem happy to hear from you and eager to keep making contact. 

They will pay attention to what you have said and show this in things they say in the future (such as ‘I remember that you liked this singer, have you heard their new song?’ or ‘My sister mentioned that if you really liked books by George R. R. Martin then you should try Stephen King’s early stuff’)

They will support and champion you in the things that are important to you – such as asking how you did in the big game on the weekend, or how your university applications are coming along.

They will laugh at your jokes and find you entertaining, even if you aren’t even remotely funny. If someone really likes you, you will most likely have the same sense of humour and find the same things funny, no matter how lame.

Most of all, they will be open and honest with you. 

How to tell if someone doesn’t like you

If someone is constantly cancelling on you, or choosing to do something (or someone!) else instead, this is a good indication that they aren’t really interested. Cancelling the odd plan here and there is ok, but an ongoing pattern of putting you second or third in their priority list isn’t a good sign.

One of the best ways to figure out if someone likes you is to stop making all the moves, and give them the chance to do so. Stop contacting them for a bit and see what they do. Tell them the ball is in their court and then take a step back.

There is a certain level of sexy mystery in a new relationship, and then there is someone who is deliberately keeping you at a distance. If the person you are dating is being cagey about anything or refusing to answer your reasonable questions then something might be up.

Ask your friends for their opinion – usually, this is one of the best measures of if this person really likes you or not. Your friends will notice if someone is treating you right, as well as if they are bringing out the best in you.

How to tell if someone is playing you

There is a third situation where someone pretends that they like you, but are in it for their own selfish reasons. You might be being played or used, or they might be trying to make someone else jealous.

Here are some ways to tell if someone is pretending to like you, but isn’t really genuine:

  • They are giving you generic questions and one-word answers
  • They aren’t really paying attention to things you’ve said
  • They aren’t available for you, or they disappear or ghost you for periods without explanation
  • It’s only about the sex
  • They haven’t introduced you to their family or friends, and they don’t want to meet yours
  • They seem to be avoiding questions or hiding parts of their lives
  • Things tend to be focused on them and what they want instead of on you
  • You find yourself making excuses for their behaviour

Generally, if you are being played you will have a gut feeling about it – something will just feel off. If this person doesn’t make you feel good about yourself and bring out the best in you, if they make you doubt yourself or question the relationship then something might be wrong. 

Follow your own instinct on this, it is often the best way to tell.

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