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Unemployed Dater’s Guide


Just lost your job? Here are five tips for keeping your spirits up in a down economy.

By Margot Carmichael Lester

t’s hard to keep your mojo workin’ when you’re not. But nobody wants to date someone who’s depressed. With the economy in the gutter and job prospects harder to find, staying positive is easier said than done.

“Singles tend to associate their self-worth with external circumstances, whether it is their weight, social status, attractiveness or wealth, so it is
You’ll feel calmer and be more open to connecting with others.
understandable that someone would feel inferior if they are not making the money they need,” explains Debra Berndt, a certified hypnotic coach. “Life is always changing and you will never be completely happy if you only gauge your happiness on life circumstances.”

Here’s how to break out of that old way of thinking:

1. Practice Mindfulness.
“With greater ability to slow down, focus and direct your attention, you’ll feel calmer and be more open to connecting with others,” says Los Angeles-based psychologist Jennifer Franklin. “If you can be more present in each moment of your life, then you are more likely to be focused on your date when you’re out together instead of being distracted by intrusive thoughts and feelings about your unemployment. So take more moments to slow down by breathing consciously as often as you can — or take a mindfulness meditation course to teach you how to focus your attention.”

2. Rework Your Self-Concept.
“Remember that your job title or lack thereof does not define you,” asserts Tamara Lowe, author of Get Motivated. “You are a human being, not a human doing. Being unemployed can be a blessing in disguise because it forces us to reevaluate who we are at the core and focus on the things that are truly important in life, which have little to do with our income, title or status. Write down your character qualities, skills and accomplishments. Every time you are tempted to whine about your current situation, affirm yourself for the amazing things you’ve already done and the wonderful person you already are.”

3. Refocus.
Being out of work is a great time to get back into hobbies or other pursuits that you enjoy. And not just because it
Being out of work is a great time to get back into hobbies.
will fill your day. It also increases your chances of meeting someone who enjoys these activities. “Connect with who you are beyond your work,” Franklin notes. “If you value other aspects of your life — like your relationships — then you will value the additional free time you have to spend with loved ones and to invest in dating.”

4. Manage Your Intent.
“The biggest mistake people make when wanting something to change in their life is doing things with a feeling of doubt,” Berndt notes. “Surfing online for dates or jobs while telling yourself, ‘I am never going to get hired or find that person’, is counterproductive. Since thoughts are energy, you are confusing the energy you are sending out with what you want, and it appears to be a stalemate. Hold the feeling of trust that you’ll get what you want while you are performing the action and you will see results much quicker.”

5. Challenge Yourself Daily.
It may seem counterintuitive, but getting out of your comfort zone can actually help you be positive. “Try new things, meet new people, visit new Web sites, read different periodicals — stretch yourself,” Lowe counsels. It’s a way to prevent mental stagnation and continue to grow during a time when you may otherwise feel unproductive.” And it’s also a way to meet people who are out of your usual social circle.

A positive attitude can be what’s coming between you and your true love or dream job. “If you can master your mind and direct it in a way that is focused on success in love and career, the world is at your command,” Berndt notes. “You have all the power within you to have whatever you desire in life.”


Margot Carmichael Lester, a freelance writer based in North Carolina, has been a columnist for Match.com since 2003. She has contributed to the Los Angeles Business Journal, Go magazine and other national publications.
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