It is said you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince or princess. In the American culture today, if instant gratification is not attainable, everything is disposable. We must ask ourselves, is anything worthwhile ever easy? Dating, and the process of selecting a mate, requires people to step outside of their comfort zones and allow someone else to get to know them; but first, they must know (and like) themselves. Both of these tasks require courage, motivation, and a desire to make the effort. Many people are not willing to do that much work. Our culture, especially if you\’re familiar with Hollywood, has taught us that it should not be so hard. Unfortunately, if you\’re not prepared to get out there and make the effort, the chances of finding someone are close to zero.

Frequently, people try to be someone they\’re not in order to convince potential mates to like them. Eventually this will backfire, because the “real you” will come out. In other cases, expectations may be too high. If you believe that because you got a date you\’re on your way to marriage, you may be setting your hopes too high. Learning to allow your own personality to do the talking is vital. Relax, it\’s just a date. It\’s easy to forget that the point is to have a good time and enjoy the company.

Even when we employ all the recommendations and follow all the rules, for some reason we just don’t seem to meet the right person. If dating was easy we would meet our perfect person within days of beginning to look. This would lead us to wonder, later, about what we might have missed.

Many people have a sense of entitlement, in which they will not “settle” for someone less than they believe they deserve. Unfortunately, there are no perfect people. Remember, this applies to ourselves as well as the people we date. The older we get, the more selective we become. Often this is because we have been hurt, deceived or had other experiences that have left us jaded; our negative experiences have outweighed our positive experiences in dating. Being “picky” is a hard-earned, well-deserved trait. We may have learned not to trust or let ourselves be vulnerable because of things that have happened in the past, yet we shouldn\’t let our past control us or we become the victims of our own insecurities. Cautious optimism is a good way to start.

Pickiness is not, necessarily, a bad trait. It may be that we have learned what we\’re looking for, and what we will not accept, in a mate and we now have the confidence to demand it. In addition, there may be children (and exes) added to the mix. Parents can\’t afford to play the field because it isn\’t just their lives, or hearts, at stake. Regardless, keep in mind that without risk there is no reward.

Some people treat dating as a sideline that they try to fit in between work, friends and hobbies. Relationships require an openness that many people just don’t seem to possess. Dating can be fun; it doesn\’t have to be hard. If you\’re confident with who you are and with what you believe in, listen and laugh with your date, and spend time getting to know each other, things may work out and it may require little additional effort.

In dating we have to risk getting our hearts and egos bruised repeatedly. We have to be willing to spend time primping so we look good on a first date; then we discover within the first 5 minutes that the person is not “the one.” But if we want to find our ideal match and not allow the duds to cause us to swear off dating permanently, we have to keep going on dates.