Ask Andi: Help! I'm newly single, how can I put myself out there?

Dear Andi,

I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 14 months. Since we are long distance, I don't have to worry about running into him anywhere within 500+ miles. With that said, my friends have been awesome about cheering me up. So now I'd like to start having fun by casual dating again. I'm not the most outgoing person so I was wondering if you could give me any advice for how to meet some new guys and get my flirt back.


Newly Single and Ready to Mingle

Dear Newly Single and Ready to Mingle,

I’m sorry about the break up but it sounds like it was for the best.  It sounds to me like you’ve done the two hardest parts of entering the single life: you’ve already moved along from the emotional hurt stage of a breakup, and you’ve also taken the initiative to want to get back out there.

There are guys everywhere so it should seem easy, but at the same time, it’s not like you can just walk up to a stranger and woo him (or maybe you could but it might be awkward).  To be able to meet and flirt with new guys, you need to put yourself in situations to do so.  If your friends go out make sure you go along with them.

Hang out or go out with a crowd that you normally don’t.  Maybe there’s a girl on your floor you don’t go out with that often, or maybe you could invite a girl from your classes to tag along with your group.  The point is, different people have different friends.  Branching out, even with girl friends, will give you more social confidence (which will help you get your flirt) and it will also give you opportunities to meet their friends!  Maybe her boyfriend’s best friend is single, or some other guy in her circle is a cutie.  You won’t find out until you expand your social circle!

Be like Beyonce and be proud to be a single lady!

If you’re shy, relying on people to introduce you is wonderful, but eventually you have to get some personal confidence and courage to approach guys yourself. I always advocate that direct and clear conversation never fails.  If you see a guy introduce yourself, or if you have someone in mind, ask him how he has been.  With a direct approach and polite demeanor, you’ll be successful way more often than not.  However, if this idea completely freaks you out and you don’t think you could be that brave then start smaller. Setting aside the classic Facebook creeping (which I do not condone), sites like Facebook and Twitter are social networking sites, so use them as intended.  If you think chatting with a guy online will break the ice before approaching him in person, then go for it. 

Whether online or in person, there is a special art to flirting.  There is no right or wrong way to flirt because everyone is different.  It can seem frightening to think of flirting again since you were in a long term relationship, but chances are you’ve probably been flirting all this time without even realizing it.  Flirting is simply playful conversation.  Don’t put so much emphasis on the idea, because it will only deter you from relaxing and being yourself.  Flirting can be anything from using an emoticon to dropping an outright innuendo.  Find where in that range you are most comfortable and set up camp.  I say this because the only important thing about flirting is that you are yourself.  People don’t care what silly things others say when they are flirting, it’s the actual process of being playful and comfortable that develops an attraction.

Coming out of a relationship, you can easily forget the realities of the single life.  Unfortunately, there is no roadmap to finding the right guy, there are no rules to the game, and you will not get feedback as easily as you do in a relationship.  You need to make sure your expectations are realistic. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged if you don’t meet a guy to match your standards within a week, but don’t rule out the option that you might! Accept that you might be nervous and realize it is natural. You won’t find the natural comfort in meeting new boys as you did everyday with your ex, but that is because it takes time to reach that level of comfort; and you will never reach it if you don’t try!

Xoxo Andi