Stand firm: 7 tips for staying motivated
A friend of mine is about to join a Christian dating site (this one, as a matter of fact), and wanted advice on getting the most from online dating. ‘In your experience, HopefulGirl, what’s the key to success?’ she asked. I had no trouble giving her an answer…
Seven years ago, after the publication of my book Would Like To Meet, I was invited to share what I’d learned from my time on the Christian dating scene with members of Christian Connection. I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiences with you through this blog, and learning from other contributors – and I’m grateful for every letter, email and online message I’ve received.
I’m now taking a break from writing for Christian Connection. But before I go, I want to share with you the same tip I gave to that friend. The number one key to success on a dating website is… perseverance. For most of us, online dating is a marathon, not a sprint. Yes, some people meet their beloved within days of joining up – but they’re the exception. The rest of us have to be prepared to put in some time and effort, meet lots of people, and perhaps face a few disappointments on the way to finding someone we want to build a life with. That takes resolve and commitment.
It’s not always easy to stick with something when you don’t see quick results – it’s natural to lose enthusiasm. But staying motivated is essential for success. So here are my top seven tips for staying the course…
1. Be prepared to play the long game
Don’t join a dating website expecting to hit the jackpot straight away. ‘You might have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince,’ my brother told me. Well, I wasn’t planning to kiss too many, but online dating is a numbers game. You won’t click or have chemistry with everyone you meet – finding the right partner takes time. So accept that it may be a lengthy process.
2. Find ways to enjoy the experience
Dating should be fun. Look for opportunities to turn dates into enjoyable experiences, and a chance to try new things or see different places. Go into dates expecting to have a good time – even if the person isn’t right for you, you can still have fun meeting someone interesting, have a pleasant outing, and perhaps make a friend. It will all enrich your life and help you enjoy the journey.
3. Keep things moving
It’s easy to become despondent if you invest weeks or months chatting to someone, only to meet them in real life and find it’s a huge let-down. Meet quickly, so if they’re not for you, you haven’t lost much. Don’t invest too much time and emotion in the early stages – save that for someone you really click with.
4. Don’t let it take over your life
It’s important to keep messaging people, pursuing conversations and setting up meetings, but don’t let online dating dominate your life, or it will become a chore. Set yourself a limit for time spent on the website, and the number of people you contact per week. Keep it regular but manageable.
5. Remember, rejection is part of the process
It’s easy to lose motivation when we get knocked back. But rejection is an inevitable part of dating – it happens to all of us. Yes, it stings – but try to see it as confirmation that the person isn’t right for you, and is freeing you up to find your special someone. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and plough on…
6. Ring the changes
It’s good to keep things fresh. Update your profile from time to time, changing the pictures and text to keep it current and make it more appealing. If you’re getting bored with online dating, try speed dating, singles parties or group meetups instead (check out Events for Christians for ideas). Ringing the changes helps to keep it interesting.
7. Take time out
If you’re experiencing ‘dating fatigue’, it’s okay to take a break. Suspend your online profile and spend time doing other things to lift your spirits – hang out with friends, help out at church, indulge in your hobbies, regain some perspective through prayer. Then, when you’re ready, come back feeling refreshed and ready to get stuck in again.
So, friends, thank you for reading my blogs over the years. Please find me on Twitter and Facebook to stay in touch and hear news about my next book. And as you continue on your journey towards finding love, I leave you with these words from a favourite hymn:
Stand, oh stand firm
Stand, oh stand firm
Stand, oh stand firm
And see what the Lord can do.