How to Not Be Single by Next Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is in our rearview mirror — where it belongs.

But, single friends, maybe it got you thinking: “Wouldn’t life be nicer with a partner?”

Followed shortly by, “What the heck can I do to improve the chances of that happening?”

So we talked to Bay Area love coach Katherine McCaskie about how she came by this most mysterious of jobs: finding you the love of your life, having stipulated that such a thing exists.

If love is a battlefield, she’s got some tips on how to equip yourself for victory.

InsideHook: There are a lot of left-brain people in this city, who tell me, like, “I’m a programmer, I’m a finance guy, I’m a numbers guy” or whatever —”I don’t know how to do this.” What would you tell them?

Katherine McCaskie: Well, first, I’d say, sure—a man is if not all then one of those things. And sure, some people, both men and women, think about the world in a very programmatic way. But there’s not much utility in defining ourselves by a single quality, even if that quality informs how we see the world. You’re also a son, part of a family, part of a community, with interests and passions that extend beyond your job description. Especially for guys—assuming that they’re heterosexual—who work in fields traditionally dominated by men, it’s crucial to look outside of them for a partner. But everyone, really, can look at other ways of defining themselves to create a fuller, richer idea of who they are—one that will appeal not just to a boss but to potential partners as well.

IH: What about a situation where you’re just not meeting anyone?

KM: Then you are going to have to make meeting them your job. I’m not even talking about dating apps—some people have good luck with them, while for others, the disposability of potential partners can bleed into the real-life situations. I’m talking about going out into the real world. You like something beyond your job. You like food? Take a cooking class. You like soccer? Go find a co-ed league you can join. So often people mistake the boundaries of their world for the real world — and the truth is that probably several people who could bring you tremendous happiness are almost certainly within one or two degrees of your current social circle. Why not meet them as soon as possible?

IH: What if I don’t know how to approach a woman?

KM: This, too, can be learned. Give yourself a task: Every day you leave the house, you’re going to talk to one new person for a week. It can be as brief as a sentence when you start. Over time, build on that—chatting to people isn’t a talent, it’s a skill that’s honed through repetition and practice. And if it doesn’t feel natural, so what? Talking with most people doesn’t feel natural. But practicing will ensure that when you meet someone you love talking to, that you’re able to overcome any former stumbling blocks — shyness, a sense of inadequacy, a sense that you have nothing to say — before that person walks into the room.

When she does — and she will! — you want to be ready.