Ask Mary Jo: Dating successfully & attending events alone

Hi Mary Jo,

When you think you’ve found the right person, how do you date them successfully?



Dating the one you love successfully means being open and honest with your real self. Your words and actions back up who you say you are and what you promise you’ll do. These suggestions can help as well:

  1. Make time for your relationship no matter what else is going on in your life. Take time to nurture your relationship the same way you take time for work or anything else that matters to you. Schedule it with your partner and make it a priority.
  2. Limit your phone use and limit social media. Focus more on your relationship and less on your fear of what you’re missing by unplugging from social media. Post less about your relationship and spend more time communicating face-to-face one-on-one. The basis of a great relationship is based on the friendship of the two people involved in it.   
  3. Help each other become better people by engaging in new things and exploring interests together. Dating should be a constant work-in-progress where you’re using your experiences to help you understand each other more. An added benefit of trying new things is personal growth. Write down new things you’d like to explore with your partner and share your lists. A cooking class or new hobby is a wonderful way to meet new couple friends, too.
  4. Keep your personal interests and save time to nurture your personal growth. When you love someone, you don’t give up who you are or what makes life meaningful for you. Time apart for couples is as important as time spent together for helping your relationship flourish. No one finds a “cling on” exciting. 

Hi Mary Jo,

How do I go about feeling less awkward or anxious attending parties or events alone while others are attending as couples?



Most people share bits of anxiety when they attend events alone, especially if those events are attended by couples. It may be a situation where you fake it until you make it but reminding yourself that others are likely just as uncomfortable as you may ease your anxiety. The suggestions below can help you attend your next party feeling more confident and less anxious.

  1. Before you rush out the door, take a good look in the mirror and repeat a mantra that strengthens you. A favorite of mine is, “I am confident, I can do this, and I will be a better person for taking the challenge.” When we change what we tell ourselves, we strengthen our personal image of ourselves.
  2. Practice your breathing and repeat the mantra as needed.
  3. Plan and decide how long you want to stay and when you want leave. This will make you feel more in control and give you a goal.
  4. Force yourself to meet at least one new person and challenge yourself to find out at least 3 facts about them. Having a focus helps minimize preoccupation with yourself, which will reduce anxiety.
  5. Always congratulate yourself after you leave the party. You were brave to attend alone. This is a big step in building self-confidence.

The most important relationship any of us has is the one with ourselves. Encouraging and embracing yourself for taking risks that force you out of your comfort zone is a wonderful way to demonstrate compassion for yourself and lower your social anxiety.