So, you’re in your twenties and surrounded by friends who are enjoying the dating scene, getting engaged, or talking about babies.
You’ve never been in a real relationship before or dated much, if at all, and you’re wondering where to go from here.
Luckily, we’ve got a whole bunch of advice to help you remember that this is perfectly normal, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you, and that good things are coming your way…
1. Age Is Just A Number
Whether you’re in your twenties or making your way through your thirties, it’s important to remember that your age is just a number.
It can be all too easy to get caught up in societal expectations…
…you ‘need’ to have done certain things by certain ages.
…you ‘should’ be settling down and planning a family.
…or you’re still at the stage of your life where you ‘ought’ to be having fun and experimenting!
Either way, we’re constantly being fed images and stories of what we’re expected to be doing each year of our lives.
You can’t open a magazine or browse Instagram without being bombarded with content that makes you feel guilty or disappointed or, maybe worse, disappointing.
Try to remind yourself that these expectations don’t actually apply to individuals – you’re definitely not the only one who feels like they’re not living the way they should be!
Some people date a lot before they settle down, some people meet the love of their life in high school, and others hit the romance jackpot in their 40s.
There is no set timeline for life, especially when it comes to relationships.
Remember that, while there are people out there who are ‘ahead’ of you in terms of dating and relationships, they may not actually enjoy that aspect of their lives.
It’s easy to look at other people and feel envious that they’ve had several serious partners while you’ve not dated at all…
…but their relationships might not have actually been all that healthy or enjoyable.
Just because other people have done certain things by a certain age, doesn’t mean you need to measure yourself against them.
It’s always better to take things at your own pace and enjoy them, rather than force them for the sake of it.
Better to be single at 35 than in an awful relationship or with a horrible dating history!
2. Put Yourself Out There
If you feel like you want to date more, or simply try for the first time, it’s up to you to put yourself out there.
We’re not saying that you’ll find instant love that way, but you need to at least take responsibility when it comes to meeting people.
You have to get out and about, whether that’s trying speed dating, joining local sports groups to meet like-minded athletes, or just heading down to the local bar more often (soft drinks are allowed so you shouldn’t feel excluded if you’re not a drinker).
If you want to ease yourself into the world of dating, you can always opt for online dating or apps.
Bumble is a great alternative to some of the more ‘aggressive’ dating apps out there, with more of a relationship in mind than something casual.
That said, it depends what you want to get out of enhancing your dating life!
Dating website can be great, as you can find people who match your profile in terms of interests, age etc.
It can be really hard and scary to get out there, but nobody is going to come knocking on your door (hopefully!)
Remind yourself that you’re in charge here and can choose who you want to see again, if you want to leave a date halfway through, and if you want to take a breather and try again in a few weeks’ time.
Ask friends to set you up with their other single friends – you’re not alone or weird for being single at any age, and people worth your time won’t judge you for it.
3. You Can Teach Yourself Confidence
Of course, if you’ve never been in a relationship or dated, it can feel incredibly daunting to put yourself out there.
Remember that just because you’ve not found the right person, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
Try to see your experience (or lack of, depending on your situation) as a filtering process, not a rejection or missing out.
It can be very easy to convince yourself that you’re unattractive or unlovable because you’ve not been in a relationship with anyone before.
In fact, you’ve just not found anyone who’s worth your time just yet.
It’s all about reframing the situation and putting a positive spin on things.
Becoming more confident is a process, and it works differently for everyone.
Some people find that going on lots of dates with different people gives them a confidence boost – they may enjoy getting compliments and feeling interested and desired.
For others, confidence builds when someone shows a prolonged interest in them over the course of a few dates.
You can use dating to your advantage and work on feeling more confident in the best way for you.
Mindfulness is a fantastic practice when it comes to building confidence.
You’ll have the time and space to process your emotions and anxieties, which will help you feel more prepared for when you do choose to start dating.
You can also practice reciting mantras to yourself every day – it may feel silly at first, but it can work so well in the long-term.
By telling yourself how great you are every day, you’ll start to believe it. It might seem unlikely, but it works – subliminal messaging and all that…
Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.