Take things slowly!
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that constant exposure to a partner is going to speed up your relationship clock something fierce. The desperation for interaction that came with lockdown led to a lot of people burning out in the dating scene. Remember – life is long and full of opportunity, you don’t have to rush to find somebody.
Enhance your scent game
A new summer perfume or aftershave is going to put you in the right head space to get out there and mingle. The right smell can help you stand out and feel unstoppable. A great dating tip is to spray a little on the back sides of the neck, that way every hug goodbye will be elevated by your intoxicating aroma.
Spend more time with friends
This is going to serve multiple purposes. As well as getting in some solid social practice hours, your friends will be able to offer advice and help you meet new people. It also opens up the chance for some photo ops! Group pictures tend to do well on dating apps since they demonstrate a thriving social life – get snapping!
Spruce up your wardrobe
You don’t have to have a complete summer collection from your favorite designers, but refreshing your image is going to give you a huge burst of confidence. Like appearance in general, the effort you make to look good is one of the first things a date is going to notice online and in person, making your style essential.
Don’t fish, hunt
Spend some time thinking about what you want out of your dating life. If you just want to mess around and have a little short-term fun, that’s absolutely great! Just make sure your dates know that. By narrowing the dating pool to people looking for the same thing as you, you get fewer catches overall, but the connections you do make will be genuine.
Don’t be afraid of apps
Dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, and Bumble have a bit of a reputation for being an internet cesspit. They can be, but in 2023 you can’t get anything done without wading in and filtering out the gold. The key to success is just understanding the platform, who goes on it and what they want – do a little research and you’ll survive.
Don’t be afraid of rejection
Courtship has upped its tempo a little in the modern era. Life is much faster paced and the rejections have sped up to match. It’s important to understand that, especially over message, rejection will be a mostly vibe-based deal. It’s not a huge personal flaw if a complete stranger doesn’t get along with you well enough to get married. Take it in your stride.
Take care of your mental health
Getting back into the dating scene can be a very stressful time. Most of us carry some hangups around relationships or sex, and it’s all our responsibility to keep these things in check. Leaving issues unaddressed can come back to bite you later, so while you have some time for yourself it’s important to make sure you’re doing okay.
Try something new
You could try a new hobby to get you out of the house and meeting new people with similar interests. Try extending this to new places, cuisines, fashion choices… anything really! It’s important to keep developing yourself while you’re looking for the right person, as stagnation will only shred your motivation.
Know when somebody isn’t right for you
One of the driving forces behind dating as a single person is no longer being single anymore. Don’t let your desire for intimacy and validation make you pursue something you’re not 100% about. Part of being a well-rounded individual is knowing when to save yourself from long-term stress, and realizing that temporary sadness is better than uncertainty.
Don’t focus on a ‘type’
You don’t hear too much about ‘types’ anymore, which makes a lot of sense. We’re seeing increasingly diverse faces and personality types around our local areas and online. They’re all so beautiful that the idea of limiting yourself to just one hair color or body type could only ever set you back.
Do your date spot research
It’s a good idea to have a few local spots in mind for dates, but you should also make sure the choice is appropriate for the tone. If you both vibe with the idea of drinks at the bar then go for it, but they may want somewhere a little more engaging. Try something that involves teamwork or competition, like an escape room or mini-golf.
Rethink what a date has to be
A romantic dinner both dressed your finest “bought for a cousin’s wedding and only wore it once” attire is always wonderful. Though you may find a lot of people lack the free time and resources for this lifestyle. Remember, a lunch break cup of coffee or video-call after work give you all the same opportunities to get to know each other.
Don’t stress over paying
Everybody has their expectations about dating and how the bill is divided. We’re unlikely to ever settle this argument, but there’s a simple way to navigate the situation before it turns awkward – just ask. Message something like “Hey, I don’t mind splitting the bill for this” and if you don’t like their response, you’ve saved yourself some valuable time.
Don’t pay attention to social media ‘gurus’
Nobody on TikTok or Instagram promising you secret, life-changing social superpowers, actually have your best interests in mind. Dating isn’t a game you master, there aren’t winners and losers and viewing potential partners this way is totally toxic. You’re just a person, looking to meet another person – treat them that way.
Stay up to date
If you’re not a natural conversationalist and need some help with prompts, try to stay plugged into world events. Geopolitical conflict might make for an intense first date, so stick to pop culture, entertainment, or art if you really want to seem mysterious. You could also first establish mutual interests, which you’re going to be more confident talking about.
Don’t beat yourself up
Ironic self-depreciation is out, sincere self-love is the new trend. A little self-depreciating humor is fine and natural, as long as it is humor. Don’t try and highlight your flaws to get them out in the open, because if they’re worth taking out on a date, they shouldn’t care. People are more interested in what you like about yourself than what you hate.
Set up your second date on the first
Try and get the second date lined up by the end of the first. Establish something you both love, like a type of cuisine or activity, and suggest that for next time. If you don’t get complete commitment – that’s fine! It just saves you both from the age old dilemma of how long to wait to message and how you should reapproach.
You’re not entitled to anything
Get it out of your head that a certain amount of effort dictates particular rewards. Nobody has to spend time with you or do something if they don’t want to, just for the sake of it. It comes across as disrespectful and manipulative, and next year you’ll still be single and searching for answers in 2024.
Pay attention to body language
It’s easy to get wrapped up in how you’re being perceived by a date. This is just going to throw you off and make you seem unnatural. Instead, pay attention to them! What makes them laugh and smile? Are they sitting openly and relaxed while facing you? Those could be signs of interest, but they definitely tell you a little bit about who they are.
Don’t settle down until you know what you want
Dating for short-term is a lifestyle that suits a lot of people but, at some point, you’ll probably develop feelings deeper than that and want to step it up. Being single gives you the time and freedom to explore who you are and what you want from life, which is best to know before starting a relationship.
Focus on your strengths
Try not to compare yourself to others too much. It can be helpful to set goals but, otherwise, you’re just torturing yourself. Focus on the things that make you special, like your interests. You could be passionate about food or chess, you might collect minerals – as long as you talk about it with enthusiasm, someone out there would love to hear it.
Get your bio right
If you want to step into the ring of online dating, it’s a good idea to know how to sell yourself properly. There’s no secret method, and it’s not worth padding it with lies. Like twisting the truth on your resume – it’s going to get you nowhere in the long run. List your real passions, have an interesting conversation prompt, and let people know what you’re looking for.
Take more pictures of yourself
Whether we like it or not, appearance has become pretty important when dating and meeting new people. Practice makes perfect here, even influencers take 18 ugly pictures before landing on a good one, it’s all about practice. Look for natural light and flattering angles. Aim for a good variety of selfies, group pictures, or ones that show your hobbies.
Keep yourself safe!
It’s not worth approaching every date with a sense of dread and danger – statistically, you’re pretty safe. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take small precautions just to be sure. Let your friends know where you’re going and who with whom. Use social media with a location-sharing service, and let someone you trust monitor it.
Avoid small talk
It can be tempting to reach into the reliable old bag of ‘so this weather we’re having…’ when you’re running low on conversation. This should be your last resort – it’s like watching paint dry and just takes too much effort to engage. Over text it’s easy, just wait t0 think of something better and do some research. In-person, ask a question! People love talking about themselves.
Remember, sometimes things just don’t work out
The dating scene is chaotic and scary, everything is fast and you need to keep up or you get left behind. Sometimes, despite all your best flirting, it happens anyway. People will ghost you after two great dates and a lot of good conversation, it’s just what happens when people mix and mingle. We’re an illogical bunch!
Consider a pet
Getting a pet for the sake of your dating life is a ridiculous idea… but, if you were already considering it, maybe this seals the deal. Pets offer great photo opportunities and get a lot of attention online and in person, which is going to give you that extra social edge. You can also join clubs and meet like-minded owners. Maybe your cats will date… who knows?
Message your ex
Risky business but, if you’re still on good terms with an ex-partner, maybe ask them what areas you can improve on. They already have an intimate understanding of you and if you’re still friends they won’t feel weird about it or be super mean and hurt your feelings. It’s not often you get an honest and in-depth critique of your dating skill – so tread with care.
Try a singles event
These seem a bit old school but if dating apps or websites aren’t your tempo, these make a great alternative. They already do most of the filtering for you for age and intentions. Plus, everyone’s in the same boat! A boat full of people who want to try something a bit different to meet somebody.
Learn to dress for your body
Even if you have zero interest in fashion, this is the one thing you need to pay attention to. This means looking at size, fit, textures, and layers, which can all be dedicated to comfort if that’s what you want, but they can still flatter you. Your date will notice the effort, as each piece fits appropriately and gives the appearance of intent.
Don’t be afraid to look silly
Your anxiety is going to tell you that one wrong move and you will be shunned, exiled from the metaphorical singles village! Really, the absolute worst that can happen is you spill a drink or bump your head, and they laugh. Mostly because it’s funny! Dates are a weird interaction! Everybody has an embarrassing date story, so just laugh it off.
Get your hygiene in check
Leave the teeth whitening and suction cups to the influencers. You don’t have to be a sanitized, pore-less mannequin – just make sure you look after yourself as well as you deserve. Regardless of gender, a good facewash, exfoliant, and moisturizer are essential. Men, keep your beard in check if you have one.
There are always more of you
Some people truly find it impossible to socialize outside of groups based on similar interests. Or maybe those interests are just the deal breaker for you, and you want a partner you can share them with. The good news is, there are always more people like you. There will be some kind of local group or social media page filled with more you – maybe hotter!
Keep yourself busy
Very few people have 100% success in dating life, the rest of us losers have to deal rejection and heartbreak constantly. Don’t let dating be your only focus – it will only drive you crazy. It’s a sign you’re looking for validation through other people, which isn’t bad, but it can stall your personal development.
Work on your communication skills
All of them. Never stop working on them. They’re essential across life, and for dating in any capacity. Practice speaking clearly to yourself in the mirror. Make sure you’re not too fast or quiet! Slowing down a little will help you avoid too many ‘um’s and ‘ah’s. Follow the golden rule and think before you speak.
Ask for their social media
If you use a dating app, it’s a good idea to try and move the conversation away from them early. It’s a dog eat dog world in there, everyone throwing ‘heyyy’ and fire emojis at your potential bae to get their attention. Shifting the talk to text or social media messaging removes a lot of the time pressure. No need to embarrass yourself in public, either.
Look after your space
A tidy home is good to maintain regardless but, while you’re single and dating, you never know when you might have somebody over. Even if it’s not on the cards, embrace the delusion if that’s what it takes to get you to hoover up! You learn a lot about somebody from their space, you want it to seem put together and full of character – just like you.
The world is full of a diverse range of people. You’ll get along perfectly with about seven of them. That’s fine, you can’t love everybody, just be respectful of what makes them unique. Don’t belittle their interests, even if you think they’re silly. If it’s important to them you’re only going to upset them and ruin the date.
Try a double date
The idea of having a friend and their plus one watching as you try your usual routine can be scary. Strangely, the unusual format can help lift the atmosphere! You already know one person there, and the new experience means you all have to embrace the chaos and think on your feet. It’ll keep the night flowing.