I don't know about you guys, but I think there's a lot of junk out there on the interwebs, presented as "dating advice." Most of it is about telling you what you're doing wrong. Stop doing this. Stop doing that. This makes you look crazy. That makes you look desperate. This makes you seem like an asshole, instead of a gentleman. That makes you look like a pushover. This tells him you're a desperate, needy, nag. That shows him he can walk all over you any time he wants.
In real life, this sort of negative teaching -- by telling you everything you're doing wrong and not focusing on the positive -- is the kind of stuff I generally just ignore. It's not all that helpful. But when it comes to dating, we seem to take it to heart. The less confident among us get downtrodden under all of this negativity. Is that really helpful to anyone?
My favorite "advice" by far comes from the perpetually single, who want to tell you that these are all the things you're doing "wrong" that make you tragically less cool than they are. If only you could act more like them, you'd be set. To do what, exactly? Well apparently, to cycle through an endless series of date after date after date. Isn't that what we're doing already, if we're reading dating advice?
So, here's my suggestion. And take this with a grain of salt, because (full disclosure), yes, I'm currently single. But I'm basing this on my years in relationships and the times where things just clicked with someone from the very beginning.
What's the secret? That's just it, there is no secret. If you really want to find true, lasting love with someone you just need to be yourself.
If there is anything that 33 years on this planet -- the vast majority of it spent people watching -- have taught me, it's that there is absolutely a lid for every pot and a pot for every lid.
When the right person for you comes along, it will work. (And I think there are multiple "right people" out there for each of us, so we're not on a magic quest to find "the one".) You might be a complete slob and absolutely incapable of getting anywhere on time, but it won't matter. You might be naturally paranoid and terrible at just relaxing in a relationship, but it won't matter. You might have terrible fashion sense and wear all the wrong things on a first date, but she'll fall for you anyway. You might drive every other man (and me, for that matter) crazy with your baby talk and pet names, but he'll love you for it.
When the chemistry is right, it just works. And when it's not right, there's nothing you can do to force it.
All the "advice" that we read after a date or a fledgling relationship goes bad is masochistic, in a way. Sure, there are things you could do differently. But how often do you know people to actually change the fundamentals of their personality? It's probably not going to happen and you are who you are. So stop bullying yourself. Stop bullying your friends who are just out there trying to find happiness, too.
Just go on, be yourself, and keep looking until you find the one who fits just right with who you are. I promise, they're out there.