Dating is difficult—especially in February. But as local businesswoman and author Ann Marie Sorrell notes, dating is a marathon, not a sprint. Inspired by her own relationships, good and bad, Sorrell wrote Chronicles of a Serial Dater ($15) to offer up her advice to men and women on how to survive and thrive in the wild world of dating. When love beats you down, “you have to pull yourself together, get back out there, and keep hope alive,” says Sorrell, who is also president and CEO of The Mosaic Group, an events, marketing, and PR firm. Here, Sorrell shares five tips for dating with intent, honesty, and an open heart.
1. Date Ready.
Make sure you are ready to date (mentally, emotionally, and physically). To find and sustain love, you must be open to new experiences and willing to put in the work. “You have to make sure it’s something you really want [and that] you’re really ready to commit to the process, because it is a process,” Sorrell says. “We put [dating] on the backburner and are like, okay, if it finds me it finds me, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. We have to change that.”
2. Be Intentional.
Make dating a priority and be real about what you want. This is a natural extension of tip one, because once you’ve determined you’re ready for love, you have to be honest about what you’re looking for. “Be very specific,” she explains. Whether your intent is marriage and family or simply companionship, “you can’t be afraid to express those intentions.” She also advises to be straightforward about the traits you’re looking for and blunt about how important certain factors, like career ambitions and money, are to you.
3. Have Fun.
Get all the rules out of your head and enjoy yourself. “Stop thinking about the relationship goals you see on Instagram, because that may not be your reality,” says Sorrell. As much as you need to be intent, you also need to relax and enjoy the process. Pursue your own hobbies, like golf or painting, and look for potential suitors who enjoy similar activities.
4. Thank You, Next.
If it does not work, move on. “It’s okay to get in your feelings for a very short period of time,” she notes. “But whether it’s seven days or 17 days, don’t get stuck. There is someone else out there who will enjoy your company and all your quirks and attributes. There’s always another bus coming, but you’ve got to be at the bus stop waiting for it.”
5. Be You.
Bring your most authentic self at all times. While it can be tempting to try to reform yourself to fit another person’s wants or desires, this pressure will wear you down in the long run. “Whoever you are, show up as that person every single time,” Sorrell says. Not only is that the most truthful way to enter into a relationship, it also frees you from having the “burden of pretentiousness on your shoulders.”