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Wouldn't it be great if, at the exact moment you decide you’re ready for a relationship, your perfect match miraculously appears at your door with a smile, pizza and DVDs? Unfortunately, there's a little work involved in finding a good match, including asking yourself some pointy questions and being prepared to wait for the right person.

This can help if:

  • you feel ready for a relationship
  • you’ve had relationships with people who weren’t right for you
  • you don’t know what kind of person is right for you
  • you don’t know how to find that special person.
Couple hugging at festival

What are you looking for?

It isn’t always a simple matter to decide if you want to get into a relationship with another person. Whether you’re on the lookout for someone, or already have a particular person in mind, it’s a good idea to be clear about what you want. This includes understanding what aspects of a relationship are important to you, and what personal qualities you value in yourself and others.

Make a list of the qualities you’re looking for in a person and a relationship, and underline those things you won’t compromise on.

Try to avoid just listing superficial things, such as ‘long hair’, ‘a cute smile’ or ‘blue eyes’. These things can distract you from what’s going to be important, such as whether you are compatible. Of course, physical attraction is important, too, but it’s amazing how irresistible the right person will become as you get to know them!

You might decide you’re looking for a person who is:

  • trustworthy
  • honest
  • affectionate
  • respectful
  • kind
  • generous
  • fun
  • physically active
  • loyal.

Once you’ve made your personal list, keep it in mind when you’re meeting new people or getting to know someone better.

Do you already have someone in mind?

If you’re attracted to someone and are thinking about having a relationship with them, then spend some time getting to know them first. The more you discover about them and share with them about yourself, the better idea you’ll have about whether you’re right for each other.

To help you decide, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do they possess the qualities that I value?
  • Do we communicate easily?
  • Do I feel relaxed and like myself around this person?
  • Do we respect each other’s beliefs and cultures?

If you’re still unsure if someone would be a good match for you, you can always talk to your friends and family to see what they think about it.

Does the other person want a relationship?

It takes two to have a relationship, so if you’ve got someone in mind, do you know how they feel about you?

Ideally, you’ll both feel the same way and begin a beautiful romance together.

But often things don’t run that smoothly. It’s hard when you realise that the person you’re really into doesn’t feel the same way about you. You may feel rejected, embarrassed or sad. But there’s someone else out there for you; what’s important is to be with the right person – the one who is into you, too.

The friend zone

If you’re already friends with the person you like, it may be a good idea to think about how this might affect the friendship, and be sure you really want this before you make a move.

And sometimes what starts out feeling like a budding romance gets no further than being buddies – hence the phrase ‘friend zone’. This is the point in a relationship where someone you’re romantically interested in decides to call time and keep you as a friend.

But being friend-zoned isn’t the worst thing of all time. We all need more good friends. Having friends of the opposite sex is one of the greatest gifts you never realised you could have. So, don’t see it as the end of the world if a romance doesn’t develop; it could actually be the start of a beautiful new friendship.

Where will you find someone who’s right for you?

Try going to places where people with similar interests to you hang out. Clubs and societies create great little communities of like-minded people, and there’s nothing like a shared interest to get you talking with someone new.

Put yourself in new social situations, like going to a gig, to a party hosted by a friend of a friend or, if you’re over 18, to a new bar.

You never know where you might meet someone. They could be anywhere – even on the bus or in a store. If you meet someone who you think you could get along with, try saying ‘hello’! It’s amazing how a big smile and a friendly gesture can be all it takes to start a conversation. If this is a terrifying prospect for you – and it is for a lot of people – have a look at some tips for meeting new people.

What about Tinder?

Tinder has taken the single world by storm: swiping through photographs of users who are geographically near to you and deciding whether or not you’d be interested in having a chat. Swipe left if you’re not keen, and they’ll disappear; swipe right if you like the look of them, and let the charming small-talk flow (but only if they swiped right for you, too).

If you decide that Tinder, or another online dating app, is up your alley, make sure you’re careful of your personal safety. Meet people in public places, and don’t give anyone too much of your personal info at the get-go. Also remember that, with Tinder, by judging people based just on their physical appearance, there’s going to be plenty of potentially fabulous matches left behind as you swipe left and dismiss them!

It’s not a forever decision

You may decide that you’re ready and want to be in a relationship now, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to stay in it later. You should never feel locked into a relationship. So, if you do start a relationship, keep assessing how you’re feeling about it over time.

In making your decision, keep in mind the feelings of the person that you’re with or want to be with. It’s important that they know what you’re thinking. Try not to play with someone’s emotions by going back and forth about whether or not you want to be with them. Remember that their feelings matter just as much as yours do.

What can I do now?