In the modern world, where dinner can be hunted at Trader Joe’s, our primeval traits still come out when we’re on the hunt for a mate — I mean, a date. Young or old, we can sniff out a few specific traits in our prey that instantly raises our hackles: desperation, bitterness, and loneliness.
And you know what we do when we get a whiff of those things? We run far, far away.
It’s ironic that when we’re feeling our worst, we most desperately want someone to swoop in, pay attention to us, take us out, and tell us we’re pretty.
You know those slumps — when you’re bombarded by stress from work, your family is making you nutty, or your friends are acting like mean girls.
Next thing you know, it’s been months since you’ve had a real date and can’t fit into the five outfits you normally rotate through. You’re exhausted. Your hair never does what you want it to. Netflix is your lover. Adopting a cat seems like a viable next move.
Like pouring salt on the friggin’ wound, this slump keeps building until you find yourself standing atop Negativity Mountain. You’re pissed off at the world and having a hard time keeping a good attitude or even just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
On the flip side of this spectrum, when we’re loving life, feeling carefree and happy, and focusing on ourselves — suddenly the “Hey, how have you been?” texts start pouring in.
What gives?! When you need a date, you get nada. And yet when you stop giving a sh*t, you get that hotline bling.
So how do you get there? These tips will help you find your happy and be your best self. Once you get there, you’ll have to fight ’em off with a stick. Here are the five qualities of incredibly attractive people (and we don’t just mean physically):
1. They take care of their health.
Nothing makes you feel more confident than being fit and feeling like your body is running like a well-oiled machine.
The new year is the perfect time to take advantage of every gym’s New Year’s special. But if you’re not someone who loves working out, it’s not like the new year will suddenly turn you into a gym bunny.
You’ve got to set goals, then force yourself to stick to them. I suggest bargaining with yourself. For example: “If I don’t go to the gym three times a week for an entire month, I’m canceling my Netflix subscription.”
It sounds dramatic, like you’re being your own parent, but it works. Withholding something, or making it a prize to be earned, kick-starts motivation for a lot of us. Try it and see how quickly you reach your goals.
The benefits of working out are amazing. You’ll look good, feel good, and your closet will feel like a brand-new boutique. (Don’t forget to eat your veggies.)
2. They have full social calendars.
Popularity is attractive, and so is unavailability. When you’re busy doing fun things with your friends, suddenly that guy who keeps you on the back burner will start to notice you again.
But don’t just stick to the same group of gals you always see: Branch out and meet some new people; try some new things.
Making friends as a grownup is actually as easy as it was in kindergarten. When you meet a cool chick, just be like a kid again, and say, “Hey let’s be friends! Want to hang out?” It’s fun to meet new people and get outside of your usual social circle.
When you’re keeping yourself busy, surrounding yourself with awesome new people, along with the friends who’ve stuck by you forever, you’ll feel loved, inspired, and confident.
3. They spend time doing the things that light them up.
Yoga. Painting. Training for a half-marathon. Photography. Volunteering. Starting a freelance business. Studying for the LSAT. Taking a class.
It’s not easy to make time for hobbies when we have a full-time job, errands, work events, and the task of keeping our apartments spiffy. But hobbies are soul food, and you gotta feed it if you want to feel good.
We all say, “I’m so busy. I have no free time.” But is that really true? Take a look at your planner, and instead of going to happy hour one night, bust a move on your friends and suggest a cooking class instead. Feel like bonding with a cool coworker? Start a running club at work and knock out steps 1 and 2 at the same time.
And seriously, think about how many hours a week you’re watching TV. Relaxing as it is, it’s not a hobby. So start swapping out an hour on the couch with an hour doing your hobby. It’s a lot cooler to talk about on a date than discussing old episodes of Friends.
4. They dump any negativity in their lives.
That toxic job, friendship, client, or late-night ice cream habit: all that negativity weighs us down. It eats away at us from the inside out, showing its ugliness on our blemished skin or limp, brittle hair. Stress and negativity take a serious toll on our physical and mental health.
As an adult, you have choices. You can choose who you’re friends with and dump the ones who weigh you down. You can choose to stay at a dead-end job that makes you anxious every time you walk in the door or you can get serious and put in the time applying for new jobs (like it’s your job!). You can choose to stay in a relationship that you know isn’t going anywhere, or you can make the (scary) choice to embark on your own and see if that perfect someone is out there waiting for you.
Everything is a choice. So choose the positive direction and let go of the negative things in your life that make you feel sad, anxious, or annoyed. You don’t need ’em.
5. They practice being happy just as they are.
When you get to a point where you’re taking care of your health, you have fantastic friends surrounding you, you’re feeding your soul with enriching hobbies, and you’ve ditched the negativity in your life, the world will look like a beautiful place, full of opportunities.
This is the best time to think about what it is that you really want and to actually go for it. That dream career you need to go back to school for? Do it. That goal of finishing a marathon before your next birthday? Get going. That book you started writing in college, then forgot about? Finish it. That trip you’ve been planning on a Pinterest board for years? Book it.
When you’re happy and putting you first, you are your most attractive. You’ll start attracting amazing people — people who are just as sparkly and awesome as you are — not just romantically, but as new friends, through the strengthening of family bonds, and experiencing more fulfilling relationships at work.
Finding your happy is the best thing you can do for your future, so what are you waiting for?