Seven years ago, I was a single gal doing my best to embrace all the dating world had to offer. At this time, Tinder didn't exist and online dating was on the cusp of being socially acceptable. So I did what everyone else did... threw back a few vodka sodas, teased my hair, covered my body in bronzer and headed to the bars with the unwavering hope that Mr. wonderful would be there waiting for me. He'd be tall, handsome and immediately taken aback by my beauty. We'd lock eyes, engage in witty banter, and leave together to watch the sunset over Lake Michigan. He'd tell me I was the coolest girl he'd ever met, and also the prettiest.
At least that's how every hopeful pre-bar night played out in my head. Sadly, most of those fantasies were just...fantasies. And instead of laughing into the night with a hunky man next to a body of water, it usually ended up being my body, alone in bed, next to a slice of frozen pizza.
Many thoughtfully pulled together Forever 21 ensembles later, I finally managed to meet a guy who would become my boyfriend. It was a good run of about six months until we realized we had nothing in common other than skinny jeans and wanting a significant other, and therefore called it quits. Exhausted from the bar scene, I first dabbled in a dating service called Me So Far, where enthused singles projected power point presentations about themselves to brag about their lives, and you sit back, have a beer and wonder if any of it is true. It was really fun and I cared more about how everyone designed their presentation vs. what they had to say.
When that didn't work, I reluctantly signed up for eHarmony where I heard men were looking for serious relationships. Serious turned into funny and I ended up laughing at all the creepers that winked and inboxed me various attention getting one liners with utmost confidence. Though it made for good comedy when reruns of Friends got old, I signed off before another month of subscription fees kicked in and let fate take its toll.
Along the way, there were men that blew me off and men I just never responded to. One dude used exclamation points in excess..and just like that I waved my magic wand and *poof* he was a goner. There were multiple instances of obvious fading out that one party always failed to understand.
"He's just busy, right?" = the things I told myself to feel better. No, he wasn't busy. He just didn't like me. I would then pull the same strategy on the opposite sex, "Ugh how is he not getting it?!" I would think. The confusion, people! How are we supposed to know for sure!
The dating scene is much different now and if I were ever to be single again, I'm not really sure how I'd approach it. How many women do men juggle at once? How many men can I juggle at once? Actually, how do you juggle in general? How many times can you swipe right before you are the most desperate person on the planet? And is that ok?
Despite all of this, I do still believe that the lessons I learned back then are viable today. Technology has given us an unhealthy plethora of options, and new ways of thinking about things, but that doesn't change human behavior when it comes to how we treat the ones we like. As I reminisce on my past actions, I've come to understand the vicious cycles and repeat patterns that consistently took place. I just couldn't see it when I was in it.
Here, a brief overview of what I like to call the Four Day Rule (so clever, I know). It breaks down how much time is allowed to go by before hearing from your new interest, and what to do if you don't. If you just met someone new and are asking yourself what's going on, this handy chart might help you out.