While much of the dating advice out there is pretty pointless, every now and then you hear a gem of wisdom that makes all the difference. Thankfully I’m in a happy relationship now, but there are some things I wish I’d have done when I wasn’t that would have made things much easier. Here are 11 dating tips I wish I followed when I was still single.
Give chemistry time to form.
Chemistry is important in a relationship. Even if someone ticks all your boxes on paper, it very rarely works if the chemistry isn’t quite right. But contrary to what the movies say, chemistry doesn’t always appear at first sight. Love certainly doesn’t! Sometimes, you have to give those feelings a few dates to form. Don’t write people off if feelings could possibly grow. Some of the best relationships begin in a considerably cooler way and, every now and then, you’ll have to stick it out to see if you have chemistry or not.
Read mixed messages as a clear message.
There’s an old saying. Mixed messages are clear messages, and that’s definitely one to remember when you’re dating. Usually, it’s much simpler than most people think to tell whether somebody is into you. I wish that I had taken all the mixed messages I received while dating as a clear message that the other person wasn’t into me, because that’s how it always turned out. They say they want to go on another date but take ages to respond and leave your messages on read? Probably, they’re just not that into you and are too polite to say so.
Don’t chase people who don’t want to be chased.
You deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you. That’s the bottom line. You might have several qualities that you’re looking for in a partner, but if they don’t meet that one requirement, they’re not worth your time. So don’t bother chasing people who don’t want to be chased. Instead, put your time into someone who wants and deserves to be in your life.
Follow your gut.
Your gut instinct, intuition, higher self, or whatever you want to call it, is usually right. Just like in all other areas of life, you should listen to what your gut tells you when you’re dating. If she doesn’t tick your boxes but you have a good feeling about her anyway, see her again. If he invites you back to his place and you feel apprehensive about going inside, don’t go inside. Your intuition knows best!
Don’t share every detail about your dating life with your friends.
When you’re trudging through the battlefield of dating (and let’s face it: it is a battlefield sometimes), it’s wonderful to have good friends to be able to share your experiences with. But if I had my time again, I wouldn’t share every single detail. Why? Sometimes, the opinions of the people closest to you can affect how you feel about a situation. You might end up rejecting someone who’s really great for you because your friends—who have never met this person—are getting red flags. Also, it’s a sad fact that not everybody in your circle will be happy and want the best for you in life, so it’s a good idea to keep some details on a need-to-know basis.
On dating apps, don’t chat to a million people at once.
Apps like Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder make it possible to chat to multiple potential dates at once. While you should definitely have fun with the apps and take advantage of them, it’s sometimes better to keep a lid on how many people you’re chatting to. Talking to a whole bunch of people at once can be overwhelming and, more importantly, can cause you to unwittingly neglect the conversations that might actually turn into something great.
But also don’t stop everything for one potential date.
At the same time, if you are on a dating app, you don’t have to pause your profile completely because you’ve just started talking to a potential new date. Very often on dating apps, conversations don’t eventuate into anything. So it’s best to find a balance. Don’t have so many conversations going that you can’t remember who’s who and don’t have time to reply to them all. But don’t stop everything for a single match that has yet to prove their worth.
Don’t get so hung up on appearances.
Appearances do matter, but there are other qualities in a person that count for so much more. In the past, I’ve developed feelings for people I didn’t find attractive in the beginning. Similarly, people who didn’t look like my type off the bat sometimes ended up surprising me. Try not to get so hung up on appearances because you never know what feelings can emerge anyway.
Don’t try to force something that’s not there.
It’s always best to approach dating with an open mind and give things time. Don’t dismiss people just because it’s not love at first sight, as feelings, attraction, and chemistry can form. That said, sometimes you just have a gut feeling that it’s not going to work. No matter what you do, that essential spark between you is missing. Don’t try to force something that’s not there, because it’s exhausting and pointless. At a certain point, realize that it’s not going to happen and move on.
Choose a first date activity wisely.
Dating is daunting and awkward, so it’s a good idea to put lots of thought into where you go for your date—especially a first date. Try not to choose places and activities that will make things even more difficult. For example, don’t go for a hike if you’re not fit enough to walk and talk. Don’t accept an offer to get ice cream if you’re lactose intolerant (yes, that happened). Always choose wisely!
Don’t wait too long before finally setting up a date.
If you are on a dating app, you might find that you’re more comfortable talking to someone for a while before you actually agree to meet them in person. From a safety perspective, it’s good to get to know them properly before meeting them out in public. At the same time, though, if you talk to someone for too long before meeting up, that first meeting can feel like the stakes are a lot higher. You might feel under more pressure because the conversation has been going well for so long. Plus, you don’t want to spend so long chatting that you’ve got nothing to talk about on your date!
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