Dating in your 20s should be about having fun and experimenting to figure out what you like and want versus what you definitely don’t. Before you hit your 30s, cross these things off your dating bucket list — it’ll make the experience a whole lot more enjoyable (or at the very least, it’ll give you a few stories to tell).
- Give that ‘okay’ date a second chance. You’re on a date with a hot guy but it’s going cold fast. What gives? Maybe the timing’s off or you’re both too nervous to get the conversation going. Whatever the case, don’t let a wobbly first attempt put you off from seeing him again. If you feel there’s something special about him, try a second date. It might just surprise you.
- Walk out on the jerk. Of course, there are uncomfortable dates and then there are dates from hell. If you’re having the latter with a downright loser, don’t feel forced to sit through it. Every woman should put this on her bucket list: getting up and excusing herself from a bad date without feeling a pinch of guilt. It also gets you into the habit of not doing things just to be ladylike, polite or a people pleaser.
- Get set up. Setups can be weird and sometimes really awkward, but it’s like speed-dating or online dating: you should try the trend at least once to see if it could work for you. It’s all about trying new things and not being afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
- Stay single for a while. Dating up a storm is great and all, but sometimes you need time to be on your own and flex your independence muscle. This is crucial in your 20s when you’re having the time of your life and your social circle is on fire. You’ll learn that you can rely on yourself and that you really don’t need a guy to have fun – which is sure to benefit you all through the rest of your life.
- Date someone who’s not your type. If you’re in your mid to late 20s, you probably already know the kinds of guys you like, but why limit yourself so early in the game? Go out there and say yes to the guy who’s a little nerdy or introverted. Same goes for the gamer and the artist and even the bad boy. Only after you’ve dated lots of different types of guys will you be able to know for sure what you’re looking for in a partner.
- Try an adventure for a first date. Forget meeting for dinner or drinks — plenty of time for that in your 30s. Take the opportunity to do something fun and adventurous with guys who are more likely to want to do them, too. How about first date bungee jumping or white water rafting? It’s sure to be memorable even if the guy isn’t.
- Go on a second first date with an ex. When an ex comes back into the picture, your knee-jerk reaction might be to ignore his texts. This is good advice if he was an loser, but what about the guy who got away or the bad timing that sealed your fate when you were together? If he’s always been the one you could imagine going back to, go ahead and take the chance. It’s just a date, anyway. You can leave at any time.
- Rethink the dating rules. Everyone has certain dating rules they follow. It might be that you won’t have sex on a first date because you’re afraid of how the guy will perceive you. Or, perhaps you won’t call a guy after a first date because ‘they’ say (whoever ‘they’ are) that it’s not the right thing to do. Screw that. Stop restricting yourself and rather try on different rules in the same way you’d try on different dresses before choosing the one that fits you best. Also, don’t be afraid to tweak the rules so that they work for you. There’s no universal rule book.
- Make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of making dating mistakes (unless they involve things like unprotected sex!). You’ll learn the most valuable lessons through trial and error. So, be the clingy girlfriend, the cheated-on girlfriend, the girl who had a work romance and got burned. Go on and try different things to learn and grow, and you’ll create some kick-ass memories.