Dating is one of those things that doesn’t follow the one-size-fits-all mantra. However, everyone wants to find that special someone. But the way we go about it is different; what you would do in your twenties isn’t the same as what you’d do in your thirties or forties. We’ve gathered the top 10 tips dating experts swear by to help you cruise the dating speedway successfully when you’re ready to look for that meaningful, serious relationship.
1. Be yourself.
Knowing who you are as an individual tells a lot about your confidence and self-esteem. Dating can be hard, and feelings can get hurt. But if you know where you stand, what you want out of the relationship, and how you want to be treated, then you won’t allow anyone to put you in an awkward or discouraging place. It’s important that you be honest with yourself and your date.
2. Make it simple.
Pick someplace you’re comfortable with. If your date is the one choosing the venue, be open to trying new places, instead of spending the evening at the edge of your seat. If you’re going out to eat, pick something memorable so that you enjoy each other’s company more than focusing on the food.
3. Make the effort.
There’s a fine line between being yourself on a date and not making a good impression. Your lucky tattered jeans and favorite sneakers may look great on you, but how much effort you put into your appearance speaks volume about who you are as a person, regardless of whether or not you’ll ever see that person again. On the opposite side of the spectrum, spending hours picking an outfit and fixing your hair and make-up will probably not give off a good vibe as well.
4. Prepare a list of non-negotiables.
By now, you should know how you feel about smokers, male jewelry and pets. Personality traits and value systems are things that either you agree on or not. Clarifying these from the start will tell you whether you should give your date a second chance or leave and not waste your time. But don’t give your date the third degree. Casually slip in questions throughout the conversation or pick up on subtle hints.
5. Open yourself up emotionally.
When you’re on your date, invest in your time together. Turning your phone off, for example, says you’re ready to focus on your date and you’re doing your part and being an active participant. It can be hard to start getting to know someone, especially if you’ve been ever part of a break-up. But opening yourself up to new possibilities is what life is all about. Take it one step at a time, don’t think too much and be honest with yourself and with your date.
6. Be honest from the get-go.
Being real means not going out of your way to impress the other person. You aren’t trying to be anyone else but yourself, with all your imperfections, unique qualities, your likes and dislikes. Being genuine gets results because it’s a sexy, attractive character trait.
7. Trust your instincts.
If you feel that something isn’t quite right, it probably isn’t. That voice inside your head is your subconscious picking on subtle signals that your conscious brain hasn’t yet figured out. If things aren’t going the way you hoped, then come up with an excuse and leave. You don’t owe anyone anything, and neither do they.
8. Be the date you want to be.
This means not hogging the conversation – listen and be attentive. Dress nice for your time together; a hoodie may reflect how comfortable you are with yourself, but it also says you didn’t put in enough effort for the date. This is important, especially with people you’re just meeting for the first time because it mirrors how important the date is to you. For someone who’s still getting to know you, it’s the subtle, little details that give them insight into who you really are.
9. Relax and have fun.
If you go on a date thinking it’s an audition for marriage, then you won’t be able to enjoy your time. No one ever fell in love after analyzing their first date. Keep the conversation fun and enjoyable. There’ll be plenty of time to talk about all the serious stuff later if things go according to plan. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.
10. Don’t mention your ex.
Playing the blame game, or using the victim card, to gain sympathy will only blow up in your face and send your date running for the hills. If your date asks, then just answer the question as briefly as you can and move on to another topic. Make your date feel like you’ve let the past go and ready to focus on the present and your time together.