How to date is a simple question and the answer could literally fill a book!
It is currently one of the most googled searches for singles in countries coming out of lockdown. Search interest for how to date is the highest it’s been in the last 5 years!
If you have been locked up for a year or even if you have come out of a long-term relationship you might have no idea how to date or where to start!
You have no idea what to do and the thought is overwhelming!
What do you do? Where do you start! Really how do you date?
Oh, and what does it even mean to date!
Dating is meeting other people and going on dates! You are getting out there and spending time with people to see if you like them and want to spend more time with them.
You might have an idea of what you would like but until you get to know someone you won’t know for sure.
Let me give you an analogy about a jacket. I might decide I want a leather jacket and know the type of jacket I want, but I need to try it on to see if it fits, feels comfortable and suits me.
Dating is a little like this.
1. Don’t Let Fear Get in the Way!
Doing anything new feels scary. It’s normal to feel fear when you get out of your comfort zone, but the reality is everything good happens outside of your comfort zone.
When you are doing something that is outside of your comfort zone it is normal to feel nervous! Knowing that nerves are normal makes them easier to deal with.
Did you know that fear and excitement are two sides of the same emotion? You can choose whether to view it as crippling or exciting! Let your fear motivate you to take action!
You worry about rejection, however, rejection is experience. Use it to work out what works and what doesn’t rather than getting stuck in being perfect or in your head.
If you have been stuck in lockdown you may be terrified about getting back out there. You might feel like you have spent so much time in your own company that you are worried you won’t remember how to talk to a stranger! Don’t worry it will come back to you just like riding a bike. Oh, and you may feel like you have wasted your valuable time but take it slow and don’t rush.
If you have come out of a long term relationship it is normal to feel scared that you will end up getting hurt all over again. But, It is important to focus on what you want rather than what you fear.
For more tips on how to deal with nerves read How to Deal with Nerves Before a Date or Event.
2. How to Date – Decide to get back out there
Decide that you are going to get out and meet new people, which is all dating is Don’t overthink it or stress about it simply do it. Decide that you are going to enjoy meeting and being curious about other humans. Dating can be fun if you allow it to be!
Don’t go into each date expecting them to be your person for the rest of your life, as it puts way too much pressure on meeting someone new! You don’t do that when you meet new friends, so why do it when dating?
To meet other single people, you need to take action, one step at a time. There may be UberEATS but there isn’t Uber Love – yet!
3. How to Date – Relax
Does the thought of talking to someone fill you with anxiety? Do you start to overthink everything and freeze up? Anxiety comes from uncertainty and dating is uncertain! It is important to know that nervous feeling is normal and it will get easier each time you talk to someone. Practice will make you confident!
Don’t put pressure on yourself about saying the right thing or stress about that perfect pick up line. The best way to start to talk to someone is, Hello, my name is………., it’s nice to meet you’ and then continue the conversation. Men and women are people just like you are, they may be different yet deep down they want the same things as you do. Everyone wants to be loved, respected, appreciated and accepted.
4. Dating May Seem Different but the Basics Apply
If you have come out of a long-term relationship dating will look totally different. There are dating apps and there is a whole new dating language. Not to mention all the horror stories you will read in the media, on social media and through friends. Everyone likes to share their personal horror stories because let’s face it those stories really are more entertaining. However, I want to let you know that there are countless success stories that you never hear about!
Yes, online dating has made bad behaviour easier to do because you can say and do things online that you would never dare do in person. However, there are just as many genuine people like you online.
The reality is that the basics haven’t changed that much from when you were last single and still apply.
5. Be Clear About What you Want
Nowadays there are so many different types of relationships that it is ESSENTIAL to be clear about what you want at the BEGINNING! If you want a causal relationship, say so, if you want a serious relationship, say so. Whatever you are looking for be clear about it from the very beginning. This will save you wasting time with people who don’t want the same things as you do.
6. How to Date – Sex
In the modern dating world, it’s more common to have sex outside of a serious relationship than it used to be. Ideas about sex and how acceptable it is is completely different from 20 years ago.
You may wonder when do you have sex?
Do you have to have sex to keep someone interested in you?
You might have even heard that people expect you to have sex on the third or fifth date and that is a rule everyone follows. Are you expected to follow this rule?
My answer to when you have sex is – have sex when YOU feel comfortable not because anyone else wants you to.
You don’t have to have sex to keep someone interested in you. You have sex when you want to have sex and when you feel it is right for you. The timing will be different for each individual person and will depend on what type of relationship you are looking for. Are you looking for a casual or serious relationship?
I recommend avoiding sleeping with someone until you know that you are looking for the same thing. Having sex will make you feel more attached to the person and you don’t want that to happen with someone who doesn’t want the same thing. It can also make you feel really bad about yourself. You also don’t want to jump into sex and become attached to someone you are not compatible with. There is much more to compatibility than sexual chemistry!
Sex doesn’t keep anyone around or made them interested in you. Of course, the ones who only want sex won’t hang around for prolonged periods without getting sex. This is good news if you are looking for a serious relationship because it will save you a whole world of pain!
Maybe you long for the good old days but even in the good old day’s men lied and deceived women to get sex. It has happened since the beginning of time.
7. You Can Meet Singles Anywhere & Everywhere
I am always asked where do the quality singles go to. People hope there will be one easy location that you can find them; however, the reality is they you can find them anywhere.
You can still meet singles in real life and it is as simple as having the confidence to have a conversation with people you meet in your day to day life. I also recommend getting off your phone, making eye contact and smiling. It is the simple old-fashioned things that make a difference and still work.
I was once paid to do a survey to find out where single women go in the city I live in, I said I could give the answer without the cost. However, my client insisted I carry out the survey anyway and the results were exactly as I predicted. There wasn’t one place or one night you would find singles in any one location.
The exception is online dating and dating apps! Love or hate the idea of dating apps, they are the one place you will find the most singles in any one location and 30% of singles find serious relationships online.
To get the results you want you will need to ensure you have a profile and photographs that appeal to the type of person you are looking to meet. Find out what makes a good profile here – 12 Hacks for a Winning Profile and literally everything in How to Succeed Online.
Other places you can meet people are:
- Singles events;
- Meetup groups
- Social groups;
- Dance classes
- Sporting clubs
- Any sort of club or church
- Have fun – happy people are way more attractive. Get out doing what you love, at the least you will be having fun. Flirt and smile at singles in the real world and online. Enjoy the experience.
8. How to Date – Where to Go on a Date
Have a plan for the date somewhere you feel comfortable. Women still enjoy a man with plan a date, as long as he considers where she lives and makes it closer to her than to him. I recommend that you do something you enjoy on a date, as well as go somewhere you are like as it will bring out the best in you. I feel that coffee dates are too short to get to know if you like someone and dinner is too much pressure. You can opt to go for a drink and if the date is going well have dinner. Or do something active and fun that takes the pressure off having to have a conversation.
Research has found choosing exciting activities/places increases the chances of attraction developing. That increased heart rate is often mistaken for attraction!
When planning a date keep in mind the type of person you are going on a date with. For example, someone who is scared of heights would not like going bungy jumping. Or planning to go to the footy when they don’t like sport.
Doing something fun and memorable is a good idea but you don’t need to put too much pressure on yourself. You could choose somewhere quirky for a drink and it goes well walk to a new venue for a simple dinner (when you go to a couple of different places it allows you to chat on the way and research has found it gives the impression you have known each other longer).
Places to Avoid
- Noisy place (hard to chat) – chose a quieter, less crowded location so you can hear each other talk.
- Movies/theatre (hard to chat and great for dates down the track)
- Sports – not everyone likes sport.
- Swimming – not everyone wants to be seen early on in their bathers!
9. Who Pays
Don’t get too caught up or freak out about who pays for the first date. People have such different views on this subject nowadays. However, I think if you have asked someone on a date it shows generosity to offer to pay. Especially if you are only going for a drink or a coffee. Do what makes YOU feel comfortable and what is in line with your values. If someone wants to pay for you, always offer to split the bill because people appreciate that and don’t forget to appreciate it and say thank you if they do pay. Try not to put too much meaning on who pays and what that means!
10. How to Date – No 3 Day Rule
Picture this: You go on a first date, everything’s great. You both agreed that you would catch up again but haven’t made any definite plans. You’re excited and want to see them soon. But if you go by the old-fashioned, well known, long-standing dating advice, you need to wait a whole 3 days to contact them.
Insane right? Especially in the world of instant text messaging. Technology has changed everything, and this rule is officially dead. It’s dead because if you wait 3 days it’s likely the person will feel you aren’t really interested after all – or worse still, someone else might ‘cut your grass’!
11. How to Date – Working on Yourself
Maybe you feel that you still need to work on yourself before you get back out there. The truth is that your personal growth is both a process and a regular practice. It is a good idea to take time to heal after the end of a relationship rather than taking your pain into the next relationship because it’s important to be in a healthy emotional place when you get out and date. However, sometimes the only way you discover things about yourself is in a relationship.
In fact, dating is a fastest track to personal development!
Okay, you may learn facts and what you ‘should’ do, however, often taking those actions is much harder. It is harder to change because old patterns die hard.
You don’t become a good basketball player by reading how to play, or by getting adviceon how to play. The truth is you have to play basketball to get better! The reality is that you have to practice and gain those skills.
Believe it or not the same applies to dating and relationships. You will work out who you need to be and what to look for in a partner to create that wonderful relationship.
12. How to Date – Lose the Distorted View of a Relationship
It’s easy to believe the myth that with your special person everything will be rainbows and butterflies! That it will be perfect, you will never argue and everything will magically fall into place. Like it does in the movies.
That isn’t true even for the happiest couples! The reality is real life is messy, imperfect and there are always bumps in the road. It is time to lose the superficial picture of what a perfect relationship looks like
If you want more specific advice why not book in free discovery call, here.