Dating in the modern world is a complicated dance between wanting to meet someone tomorrow and being OK if it doesn’t happen for a little while longer. Here’s how to chill out about dating yet keep your expectations high — it’s possible, I promise:
- Learn one thing from every date. Yes, even the guy who insulted you the second you sat down – at least you know that next time, you’ll walk out immediately. It may seem kind of Pollyanna-ish to view first dates as a learning experience. But if the alternative is you whining to your besties about how hard it is to find love, you’ll want to change your perspective for your sake (and theirs).
- Stop wanting a “nice guy.” Of course the person you choose to be with should be nice — that goes without saying. But there seems to be a lot of chatter these days about what a nice guy really is and how people can manipulate you into thinking they’re a lot sweeter than they actually are. Set your sets a bit higher – someone who is a huge bookworm just like you, or at least someone who’s also on a career path. This will keep your ego in check when you do meet a jerk (which is bound to happen, sorry, but you already knew that) but keep you on the right track.
- Don’t blame the messenger. In this case, since so many of us are online dating these days, that would probably be Tinder or OKCupid. It’s natural to think that if your Tinder date is a dud, you should stop using the app altogether because there are clearly no good people on it – but that kind of generalized thinking is not going to help you at all. Your next match could be the love of your life. So keep calm and Tinder on, as they say (okay, as no one ever said).
- Forget your romantic past. Easier said than done, obviously, or we’d never dream about our exes or wonder what could have been. The only way to go is forward, though, and keeping one foot on the gas but looking behind your shoulder every two minutes is no way to get to your destination. If you expect your next date to be better or worse than the guys you’ve loved before, that will only lead to disappointment. Look at each new person as just that – a new person. That’s the beauty of it, isn’t it
- Be a rule-breaker. You already know that following those old-school dating rules don’t make much sense today. You should officially stop worrying about them and stop reading into every little thing your new guy does. If he takes two hours to respond to a text, figure that yes, he really could be busy at work. It means nothing. Look at you, you’re such a rebel.
- Believe your own observations. We always ask our friends for dating advice, but we usually know the answer even when we ask someone for help. If you feel in your heart that someone is right for you, or that they’re treating you like crap, you need to believe what you’ve observed. This will keep you honest and true to yourself, and will ensure that you’re following your gut while saving yourself for someone better.
- Do the work. As long as you do the work, both before and during the date, you’ll be fine, no matter what the outcome. That means making an effort to listen as much as you talk and basically make yourself an interesting person (which shouldn’t be hard, obviously).
- Change your methods. As the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. If you’re not going on any interesting or even just average dates, maybe start going on chill afternoon coffee dates. If you end up stuck in an endless online message chain waiting for the guy to ask you for a drink, start doing the asking.
- Embrace the unknown. The best and scariest thing about the single life is that you truly could meet someone any time at all. You’re free, you’re ready, you’re waiting. You don’t know when your person is going to get here, so you might as well expect it to be amazing when he does. Wouldn’t you rather stay positive?