You know what differentiates spring cleaning from regular cleaning? It feels good. It's the time of year when we say "The status quo just isn't working," and we do something about it.
Let's apply the same mentality to our dating life. While we're cleaning out our closets and rearranging our bedrooms, let's dump those bad dating habits that are holding us back and replace them with good ones. Today, we'll share 6 bad habits to trash.
1. Being Too EagerMen and women both get very confused about this one. "Aren't I supposed to let them know I'm interested?" "Don't women want to be pursued?" "What if they're really the one and I let them go?"
Asking yourself if your eagerness is coming from genuine excitement or fear might be a good starting point. According to dating coach Donna Barnes of ABC's hit series What Would You Do?, it's an important distinction to make. "Fear is what ruins most potential relationships. Fear of abandonment, fear of commitment, fear of intimacy, rejection, etc."
She adds, "Many people become needy and smothering when they meet someone they really like. They reveal too much too soon, expect too much too soon and get attached too quickly which causes them to ignore any problems or red flags. They stop dating anyone else and put all their attention on one person, which makes them over analyze things, usually incorrectly. Don't let your fantasies speed up reality -- keep your thoughts in the present."
2. Online Stalking
Many sane, healthy people will not go out with a person without Googling first. For better or worse, we have come to accept this practice as normal. This doesn't mean that we should try to find out everything about a person before a first meeting. Anna Goldfarb, publisher of the popular Philadelphia dating blog, Shmitten Kitten, draws the line at social networks:
"I never add a guy to my social networks too quickly. A little mystery is a good thing in the beginning. I don't need to be all up in his tweets or anything. I'd rather he tell me about his day in person than read about it along with everyone else in his life. Sure, he can do a Google search on me and express curiosity; that's normal. But no need to start clicking around friend requests before we've even exchanged phone numbers."
Also, premature friending usually just causes unnecessary anxiety.
"Posts and pictures from attractive strangers on your new interest's wall mostly just feed insecurities," says Barnes. "You really shouldn't have that kind of access to each other too quickly."
It's not always easy to admit when you're in a dating rut, especially if you can't see a way out of it. Dating expert April Braswell stresses the importance of taking a good, long look at your habits.
"Most single men and single women who are over the age of about 35 years old will often fall into a rut of passive behavior. They'd 'like' to fall in love. They'd 'like' to get married. But their behavior and weekly habits and actions speak volumes to their doing the same old same old, and not actually meeting new people on a regular basis."
4. Waiting Around
Of course, the next important step after an honest assessment of your situation is to take action. The situation is not hopeless.
Finding the person who's right for you may take work, but it's also about just doing the things you really love to do. From there, confidence and attractiveness are natural byproduct.
"Have your own life. Don't wait to do things with a partner -- do them by yourself or with friends," advises Barnes. "And don't clear your schedule to accommodate a date. Having a full calendar is attractive, and it will prevent you from becoming needy."
5. Setting the Bar Too High
If you find that your high standards are preventing you from dating at all, but you still hope to find a partner, it may be time to consider where those standards are coming from and if they are even possible to meet. Boston-based dating coach Adam LoDolce notices this trend in the women he encounters in his work:
"For women, the most common bad dating habit is to 'judge a book by its cover.' Women tend to make quick judgments on men and decide very quickly whether or not the guy is worth dating. Women don't realize that many men are insanely nervous on their first dates so it takes time to actually get to know the REAL guy."
This behavior is, of course, not specific to one gender. Spring -- when you might feel renewed and a bit braver about taking dating risks -- is the perfect time for both men and women to give someone a chance that they otherwise might not.
6. Emotional Blindness
On the other hand, many of us get so caught up in the thrill of a possible new relationship or the potential end to our eternal loneliness that we can allow ourselves to ignore our real needs.
"Sometimes we are so excited that someone is interested in us that we forget to see if he is, in fact, a good match. We allow ourselves to be 'chosen' by the other person, instead of choosing that person ourselves," says The Dating Makeover Coach Kira Sabin. "We need to know what we are looking for in a date, and we need to have the confidence to be able to choose (or not choose) a person based on our own beliefs, values, personality, etc. The minute we let someone else choose us, we are handing over the power in the relationship. This almost guarantees future resentment, anger and frustration. You need to be willing to know what you are looking for and choose him back."Spring Cleaning (when it comes to your dating life) is about honestly taking stock of your behaviors around dating and committing to changing the habits that aren't working. But you may not be able to see them yourself. Talking to an honest friend, a dating coach or even a trusted ex can help you to see a clearer path to action.
More Like This:
10 Ways To Improve Your Dating Life
5 Dates To Get You Back In Dating Shape
The Worst Thing You Can Do In A New Relationship? GChat.
The Date Report is the companion blog to HowAboutWe.com, a dating site that makes it fun and easy to go on awesome dates. How it works: 1) Invent fun dates. 2) Ask people out. 3) Do something awesome, together. Sign up for free here -- and don't forget to join us on Twitter and Facebook.