Let's be honest, lockdown has given us a lot of time to ponder and re-evaluate our lives. Things that seemed important to us pre-pandemic have changed.
Many of us realised we are more productive working from home, or perhaps all the partying and trying to keep a full-time job was leading us to burn out.
It also exposed something in me that I had a niggling feeling was there, but I wasn't really ready to address yet. And that was that I'm actually a little bit lonely. Now don't get me wrong, I adore my single life, and have a great network of friends, but falling asleep with my legs wrapped around a pillow, and waking up to a dog licking my face just isn't what I envisioned for my 37-year-old self.
Add to that, three months of weekends that have felt like groundhog day, with no long lunches, birthdays or weekends away to look forward to, and … well … it's safe to say this realisation was a real slap in the face.
Last Saturday when I woke up and realised that I couldn't cross the harbour bridge to visit my best friend and the day ahead was looking pretty solo, well, I shed a few tears.
Luckily, Apple's show Ted Lasso was a saving grace! Umm … have you watched that series?! Yes, I know I'm the last person in the world to discover it, but sheesh it really is a good little serotonin rush.
Anyway, ol' mate Ted could only fill the day for so long, and it got me pondering. What do I actually want? I know it's not kids, that maternal side just never really kicked in, but a boyfriend would be quite nice.
So what's the method to getting one? Do I need to brush up on some of the rules?! Like, how long do you wait before you do the deed? What are some conversation starters that let the guy know you're looking for your forever person, without looking too desperate? How long are you supposed to casually date for before you shift gears into something more serious? I'm a bit out of practice.
I had one of my best friends, Triple M star Jess Eva, on my Kinda Sorta Dating podcast this week, and I decided she was the perfect person to ask, considering she has been in a relationship with her partner Norm for a whopping 10 years!
She came up with the best response. She said you've just got to be you. Want to sleep with them on the first date? Do it! Want to text them constantly? Do it! If someone's turned off by it, then they weren't for you. It's actually very simple. Just be yourself. When we play these games or be who we think they want us to be, then we are just delaying the inevitable. Treat them like a best friend and they will stay for life.
I realised I was doing that oh-so-tragic female tradition of overthinking things. How cliche! When you think about it, guys are very black and white. Sure, many of them play games, but when a guy likes you, he lets you know.
Over the past year I've made many new friends, and if I want to see them I just pick up the phone, or shoot off a quick text. No games, no umm'ing and ahh'ing, just showing up to the friendship.
So why don't we treat dating the same?
Because we get scared. Of being rejected, of having our heart broken, of investing in someone who can turn around after a few weeks and say "no thanks". But how do we know if we don't give it a go?
I came across a quote recently that gave me a little light-bulb moment, so I shared it on my Instagram and I don't think I've ever had such a strong reaction from my followers. It went along the lines of this:
Couples have dated for 10 years then got married and divorced after a year. Strangers have slept together on the first date and now are celebrating their 15th anniversary. Some get married after six months and are still happily married. There is no formula to this. Do what makes you happy.
I had people sliding into my DMs with their own stories of one-night stands that turned into their own "happily ever after" situation, or people who rushed down the aisle with the wrong person because they felt a sense of duty.
So throw out the rules, and just dive right in. If it feels right, and you don't get a sense that they are playing games, well then heck, you may just have found the one!
Our most successful relationships have always been the easiest ones. So go and find that best friend you want to see naked from time to time … it sounds pretty darn good to me!