5. "I'm in good shape, and I look my best."
If you've been out of the dating circuit for a very long time, it's possible that you've gotten a bit too relaxed about how you present yourself. You might need to go to the gym, get a new haircut, or shop for some better fitting clothes. That doesn't mean you have to be model thin or that you need to wear the latest style. But showing some respect for your appearance will reflect better on you than sloppy grooming, wrinkled or ill fitting clothes and a dangerous body weight. Since most of us can't see ourselves objectively, it's a great idea to have a close friend take a good look at you and offer some advice.
6. "I'm ready to have a good time."
Most people in our age group are looking for someone with energy, optimism and warmth. If you are feeling unhappy, you won't be able to provide any of these. If your mood is bringing you down, it will bring others down too. Unless you are fairly content with your life, you are not ready to date. Go see a counselor if you need to, but be ready to face dating with a smile and an upbeat attitude.
7. "I don't expect instant success."
Dating is usually a protracted search for the right person that is filled with plenty of ups and downs. Sure, some people meet "the one" right away, but most don't. Sure, it can be dispiriting to have a series of coffee dates with guys or gals who just aren't right for you. But try to use these occasions simply to learn about someone else's world and life. Dating isn't always fun — it can even be heartbreaking if you are entranced by someone and it isn't mutual. But if you are resilient and assume it takes a while to find a match, you will find a wonderful person.
8. "I'm not looking for Mr. or Ms. Perfect."
If you've got a long list of sterling qualities, characteristics and lifestyle criteria, you are going to have a tough time finding anyone who's good enough for you. But if you have reasonable list expectations — for example, you want to meet a good person who is fun to be with and who shares your values and goals — you'll have an easier time. Be reasonable. Be realistic. And remember to stay positive: If you want to find a new partner and you're willing to work at it, you definitely will!
Published November 2011