When people are in the mood to dish out dating advice, many love to say, “You always find something when you’re not looking.”
The implication is that relationships only come along when you’re so frustrated that you stop looking, like the universe is taking pity on you or something. And the “advice,” if it can even be called that, is what—to stop looking for a relationship?
This relationship platitude is kind of like saying, “When you lose something, it’s always in the last place you look.” It sounds right until you think about it for .2 milliseconds, and then you realize this gives you nothing and you’d be better off burying a statue of Saint Francis upside-down in the backyard.
“You always find something when you’re not looking” also has some ring of truth to it—you’re more likely to find a relationship when you’re not spending 12 hours a day on match.com—but it’s not because you’ve stopped looking.
The people who seem most attractive to members of the opposite (or same) sex are those who seem happy, well-adjusted, confident, and, most important—busy. When someone seems like she has a full and exciting life, other people want to be part of it.
When you “stop looking” (which we would translate as “stop looking desperate”), you’re sending these kinds of signals. Your life seems so cool and interesting that you’re not going to drop everything to look for a boyfriend, and that’s precisely why guys are going to want to be yours.
So the trick isn’t to stop looking; it’s to make it seem as though you’re not looking. To project a persona that seems too awesome to settle for just anyone, and to market your life as something that everyone should want.
This means not skipping your yoga class for a date with a guy you met at Russia House. It means not showing up for singles mixers (do they even exist anymore?) and not begging your friends to set you up.
It means building a life that’s totally fulfilling without a better half. And when one comes along, it means making sure he knows he’s not the center of your universe.
Side note: we’re doing some transpacific traveling from now until the new year, so apologies in advance if we’re not posting as much as you’d like. We’ll be back to our regular schedule as soon as we recover from our NYE hangovers.