How To Survive The Sh-tshow That Is Modern Dating

As much as we all hate dating, it’s a necessary evil for those of us who would eventually like to find a partner to spend our lives with. Unfortunately, that means dealing with crap like ghosting, being left on read, being used for sex… it’s endless. However, it doesn’t have to be quite so painful. If you want to not only survive dating but actually maintain your sanity, here are a few things you need to do.

  1. Forget the outdated rules. Old school dating rules that worked in the ’90s or even the early ’00s just don’t have a place in 2022. While general etiquette about kindness and consideration never go out of style, other guidelines just don’t apply. Forget all the conventional dating advice you’ve received (and will likely to continue to receive until you’re coupled up long-term) and learn how to improvise within the world as it is now.
  2. Do your research. It should go without saying that if you want to survive dating, you need to know what you’re up against. Googling a date is pretty much second nature these days, but don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper if something the person is telling you doesn’t seem to add up or you need to know more. The last thing you want to do is discover a nasty surprise down the line.
  3. Don’t take dating so seriously. This is probably the realest and best tip on this list when it comes to figuring out how to survive dating. Yes, you’re serious about wanting to find a relationship, but that doesn’t mean you should act like it’s a life-or-death situation every time you start talking to someone new. Take a deep breath, relax, and know that if this one doesn’t work out, there will always be someone else around the corner.
  4. Look for friends, not just romantic partners. Your friends will always play an instrumental role in helping you survive dating, especially when it gets so frustrating that you want to throw in the towel for good. This is why it’s good to look for potential dates that you could also see yourself chilling with on a platonic level if the romance part doesn’t work out. You can never have enough friends, right?
  5. Block and delete with abandon. You have to be willing to cut the cord on dead weight if you want to survive dating. If someone seems sketchy, you catch them lying, they’re inconsistent or disrespectful, or things just aren’t feeling good, block and delete. Don’t hang around waiting for them to prove your sinking feelings about them correct. Get rid of them now before you waste any more of your time.
  6. Be cool with making the first move sometimes. This is just good practice in general. You know how I said you need to throw the old dating advice out the window? The outdated and frankly misogynistic idea that men should be the aggressors and you should take a backseat in your own romantic life is dumb. If you want to not just survive dating but thrive in it, you’ll have to step up to the plate sometimes and take control of your own romantic destiny.
  1. Take a break sometimes. Because modern dating is such a sh*tshow, there will be times when it just becomes too much and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t keep going. When you reach the end of your tether, there’s literally zero shame in being like, “Nah, you know what? I’m going to take a step back for a while.” It doesn’t matter if you take a few weeks off or even a few months. If taking a break from dating helps you survive it, more power to you.
  2. Give second chances when warranted. I know I said above that you should block and delete with abandon, but you have to strike a balance. We’re only human, we all make mistakes, blah blah blah. My point is that sometimes people are going to mess up, and that doesn’t mean they’re bad people or that they’re not worth your time. It’s up to you to be judicious about second chances, but be open to giving them nonetheless.
  3. Get off apps and into the real world. Dating apps have made finding someone much easier, but that doesn’t mean you’re finding someone good. It’s possible to find love online, but you’re going to have just as much of a chance (and perhaps much less frustration) by getting out of your apartment and out into the real world to meet people.
  4. Loosen up on your “type.” If you want to survive dating, you have to accept the fact that your “type” may be slightly too rigid and keep you from enjoying the experience. What we want isn’t always what we need, so consider dating people you normally wouldn’t to increase your chances of finding more meaningful connections.
  5. Don’t sleep with a guy right away — make him work for it. Yes, I know women get horny too and we want to get our rocks off. If you’re in a mutual casual encounter and are both on the same page about what sleeping together means, by all means, go for it. Otherwise, help yourself survive dating by not sleeping with a guy too quickly. Make him prove that he’s worth your time and worthy of being in your bed.
  6. Make your intentions clear from day one. Whew, this is a biggie. It can certainly be intimidating to rock up to a date and be like, “Yo, I’m not looking for any casual sh*t. I want a long-term partner because I’m not getting any older, so let’s do this thing.” And actually, I’m not saying you should do that. What I am suggesting is that in order to survive dating, you need to set your expectations out early on so that you don’t get invested in someone who will never be willing or able to meet your needs.
  7. Learn to love the process. At the end of the day, it’s not the destination but the journey, or however the saying goes. By giving you tips on how to survive dating, I’m really suggesting that you learn to live in the moment and take things for what they are. Instead of focusing on the end result too much, practice centering yourself so that you can be fully present where you are. You might be surprised just how much easier it gets when you’re not looking too far ahead.


Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill