It's safe to say the standard dating advice—that you just need to put yourself out there—could incite a collective eye roll from single girls everywhere. Not only is it irritatingly ambiguous, but it also implies that you're sitting on your couch slowly accumulating cats as you age into oblivion.
"Assuming you have a life and a job, family members and friendships, you're already out 'there,' whether that means at work, having dinner with friends or seeing a show," said Melinda Lane Fisher, dating and empowerment coach, to Bustle. In her opinion, it's more about "meeting someone 'out there' that you want to include in your already great life."
So how do you know if you're actively charting that course? To Fisher, it's less about swiping right on Tinder and more about learning from past relationships and putting your most genuine self forward. Here are the key signs you're not truly putting yourself out there when it comes to love and dating:
You don't prioritize dating.
"Putting yourself out there is about making the dating process a priority instead of an afterthought. Just having a profile on a dating site or hitting happy hour on Friday isn't putting yourself out there," said Philip Petree, author of The Man Puzzle, to Bustle. The mark of true openness is in dating outside of your "type" and actually making the time to date in the first place.
You avoid vulnerability.
In relationships, being vulnerable is the brave choice to be the most genuine version of yourself while also exposing yourself to potential hurt. "Putting yourself out there definitely makes you feel vulnerable, but it also makes you stronger emotionally and helps you learn how to be more present," said life and dating coach Gabrielle Loehr.
You haven't let go of your past.
"Examine your heart and mind and ask yourself honestly if you're really ready to meet someone," challenged Fisher. "Find a way to let go of the past so you can clear space for your present." Once you've let go of your past, she recommends communicating your intention to meet someone. "Don't be shy about admitting that you’re looking for a relationship; we’ve all been there and can relate."
Head over to Bustle for more dating advice, and share your thoughts on putting yourself out there in the comments below!