Dating is often referred to as more of a hassle than a joy. But, you can learn how to be better at dating so it is fun and not a bummer.
If you are dreading dating because you think you are no good at it, I get it. I have wondered how to be better at dating. And I was there for a while. I went on dates that made me feel just blah. I didn’t enjoy dating and it felt more like a job or a means to an end rather than something fun I could enjoy.
Whether you are dating just to meet people or to hopefully meet the person, the dating process can be a lot. I know it. You know it. But, it doesn’t have to be so bad.
Really. You can learn how to be better at dating so that you actually enjoy it. And the good news is that it isn’t all that difficult. All it takes is a little practice and a new perspective. [Read: What does dating mean? All the things you should understand about what it is]
Why do you need to learn how to be better at dating?
Don’t worry. We will get into everything to do to so you can get better at dating, but first, let’s analyze your current dating life and why you think you aren’t so good at dating now.
When I was in this dating rut, I felt unhopeful. I had some bad or mediocre dates and sort of went into all dates expecting that. I just sort of went through the motions without the emotions.
What about you? Are you struggling to meet people? Do you find it hard to open up? Do you get super nervous or word vomit? Or do you feel like you’re just dating the wrong people?
Think about what you feel like you are struggling with the most. And then smash that thought.
Whatever makes you not like dating right now is no longer a problem. Stop thinking about it. Push it out of your mind. Do not dwell on it.
Once we have had a few bad dates or get down on ourselves about our dating lives, we get bitter. We have a bad taste in our mouths about all dates, no matter who we are dating. When we let those thoughts take control, that is exactly what they do. They override the fun, the excitement, the butterflies, and the rest of what makes dating enjoyable.
Instead of getting down on yourself for having bad luck in dating, build your confidence back up and look at all the positives. Focus on the benefits of dating. Remind yourself why you are dating in the first place.
Are you dating just for fun? Do you want to meet people? Are you looking for a partner? Are your parents or friends pressuring you? Find a reason for dating that will make you happy. And if you don’t want to date, then don’t. You can take a break. Sometimes we need space from the dating scene to go back in with a fresh outlook. [Read: How taking a break from dating can actually help you find the one]
How to be better at dating
Now that you are hopefully in a positive mindset, time to focus on how to be better at dating. There are some things you can do and others you can just think about. So let’s get into it.
#1 Take a break. The first thing to do if you want to know how to get better at dating is to take a break. Whether you have been swiping on dating apps so long you have carpal tunnel or go on one date a month, take a step back.
Something is getting you in a rut and isn’t working. Instead of being worried you are wasting time or aren’t getting out there, just stop. Take a few weeks to reflect and get back in touch with yourself. Sometimes you just need to relax and find your independence again. This can help you clear your mind and go back into dating with a fresher outlook. [Read: How to enjoy being single and live the life you want to live]
#2 Talk to your friends. I find this super helpful, and if you have insightful friends you will too. I think a true friend tells you the unfiltered truth. Ask them why they think dating isn’t going well for you.
A good friend won’t sugar coat it. Rather, they will tell you the truth so you can actually think about it. They hear your dating stories and probably pick up on patterns you may be unaware of.
For instance, my best friend told me it seemed like I was going into dates hoping for a relationship, but that was unrealistic. She told me to go into each date hoping for a good time at the least and a good friend at the most. This made me think about dating as less of a means to an end and more as a fun learning experience.
#3 Try a new method. If you have been on the same dating app for months or even years change it up. I don’t mean you should switch to another almost identical dating app, but try something new. Take a class. Go speed dating. Find a single mixer nearby.
Meeting people over the internet may not have the same flow for you as meeting someone in person. [Read: How to meet new people with interesting ways to find a new crowd]
#4 Try a second date. Just because a first date wasn’t ideal doesn’t mean the second one won’t be. I mean if you don’t like someone then say bye, but if it just fell flat or didn’t have a spark, give it another go.
You never know what date number two has in store. It couldn’t hurt just to give it a shot. In today’s culture, we want things to work now or we move on, but dating isn’t like Wifi. Give it a chance.
#5 Have hope. I think this is where a lot of people struggle in dating. We get strung along, ghosted, rejected, and start to expect that same outcome. We project our past experiences onto people we don’t even know.
I get it. It is hard to break that because you are used to a cycle and preparing for it is a form of self-preservation. But, just hang onto hope that there are decent people out there. They don’t need to be your soulmate, but they could be honest and good. [Read: 30 effective tips to help you win at online dating]
#6 Go outside of your type. If you have a type, get rid of it. How many times have you heard a member of a happy couple say, “They are not who I thought I’d end up with?” A lot.
Instead of always going for the same type of person, branch out. Maybe you love guys in suits who work in business, but it never works out. Try dating a guy who does a manual labor job. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. It could be what you never knew you always wanted.
#7 Do something different on dates. Most of us have a go-to for first dates. Whether that is coffee or drinks, that can get old really quick. These dates are nice and speedy but don’t offer much in the way of fun.
Next time you are planning a date, try something new. It doesn’t need to be pulled from The Bachelor, so maybe not bungee jumping, but bowling is a nice way to branch out from the norm.
Go to the gym. Climb a rock wall. There are tons of ways to get to know someone that include fun instead of just caffeine.
#8 Be aware of how much you talk and listen. Most people are nervous before a date, but once it starts, they just go with it. That is great, but can be a little too much. When you let go of the nerves, you can word vomit. You can talk a lot or too much or too fast.
Remember what it’s like to give a presentation in school? You would practice at home and it would take five minutes, but when you did it in front of the class, it was only two minutes. We rush through things when we are nervous without even realizing it.
If you want to know how to be better at dating, remember to slow down and take your time. And don’t forget to ask them questions too. For every story, anecdote, or answer you give, ask them something. [Read: What to say on a first date to keep it light, easy and flirtatious]
#9 Get your dealbreakers out of the way early on. You could go on three dates with someone great but then find out they smoke, have a job that makes them travel a lot, or something else you know you can’t handle. That can really throw things off, but it is preventable.
I always say to share your dealbreakers right off the bat. Before meeting up or on the first date ask them what their dealbreakers are. This way no one wastes their time. You could still have dinner and be friends, but if you know you can’t date someone who supports anti-LGBTQ organizations *as you shouldn’t*, then it is best to know now. [Read: These are the non-negotiables you should never compromise on in a relationship]
#10 Let people set you up. Setups are what give nightmares to all singles. Setups can be miserable. They can be awkward and then more awkward when you have to tell the person who set you up that they did a horrible job.
But, give it a chance. Before Match.com and Tinder did the matching for us, friends and family did it. Sure you might have an unfortunate night, but at least you tried. Get out of your head and your comfort zone and let your friends or even your mom set you up. It might surprise you.
#11 Get pumped up before a date. Going into a date feeling so-so is a surefire way to have a bad time. Instead, listen to your most energetic playlist, watch your favorite rom-com, or have a friend pump you up.
Think of a date as the big game. You need to be in the right headspace to have a good game, and the same goes for a date.
#12 Remind yourself to enjoy the journey. Dating is tough for so many because it feels like work. It feels like the dating equivalent to being an unpaid intern. You are enduring the worst so one day you can find the best.
But instead of thinking of it that way, enjoy the process. Enjoy each date even if it’s bad. It gives you a story to tell on your next one. Even if you aren’t a match, you may be good friends or find a new job opportunity or just get a good meal. Remember to enjoy the journey to your happily ever after. [Read: 15 hurt-free rules to enjoy dating casually without breaking your heart]
#13 Do things you enjoy. We are all still waiting for Netflix to create a dating app based on viewership, but until that happens you can meet great potential matches where you like to go.
If you like going to the gym, you can meet people there. If you want to learn French, take a class and you could meet someone there. Join a kickball team or a book club and you could meet tons of new people that you already have something in common with. [Read: How to make loads of new friends as an adult]
#14 Let go of judgments. We all judge people, even unintentionally. We do it. And we judge them on their clothes, teeth, dialect, and more. But, instead of walking into a date and thinking yikes he is wearing jean shorts, let it go and see what is beyond that.
The same goes for before a date even happens. Say you hit it off with the person behind you in the check out line at the grocery store but they are totally not your type or maybe you don’t find them attractive, ask for their number anyway.
Attraction can form and grow over time, but a real connection even just based on complaining about plastic bags can be something more. [Read: The 30 signs you could be a shallow person]
#15 Make friends. Dating does not have to be all about romance and finding your perfect person. It is about having fun. You get to meet new people and learn about their job and their culture.
You can meet someone who really hit it off with platonically and that is wonderful. Don’t forego friendship because your goal is romance. You never know what you’ll get.
Hopefully, these tips help you learn how to be better at dating so you can start enjoying it rather than dreading it.