How To Survive The Mess That Is Modern Dating

If you’ve been unsuccessful on recent dates, just realize one thing — it’s not just you. Plenty of people have to go through the weird courting process multiple times, and after a while, modern dating just seems like a full-time job. Here’s how to survive it:

  1. Go into every date like you’re meeting a friend. Don’t anticipate that you’ll be meeting up with your future husband. Go out thinking that you’ll have a drink, chat with someone, and then call it a night. This approach will help make sure you don’t scare him off by asking him point blank how many kids he wants and when. For a first date, you basically just want to see if you’re compatible and if conversation comes naturally. If it does, go ahead and book date two. If not, tell him it was nice meeting him and let him down easy if he tries to go in for a kiss.
  2. Feel free to look him up beforehand. Learn from Catfish and make sure his photos on his online profile are actually legit. When you have a little more information on who you’re meeting up with, it’s a little less intimidating. Just make sure you don’t seem like a total stalker. (As in, don’t mention the track and field awards he won in high school or ask him what happened with his last girlfriend, Heather — they looked really cute together in the Google Image photos you found.)
  3. Don’t abide by the old dating rules. You like him? Send him a follow-up text; don’t sit around and wait for him to call you first. Weird rules and “post-date rituals” are simply known as “high school crap” these days. It’s 2016 — take control of your own love life, “rules” be damned.
  4. Put your best face forward. Listen — if you’ve been on like, nine terrible dates in a row, don’t act like #10 will definitely be a loser. Give it your all no matter what. Show this guy who you are. I mean, it’s not his fault that your last few weekends were spent trying to pass time while chatting up duds. If you have a negative or defeatist attitude going in, dating in general will just be so much harder.
  5. Don’t think too hard. When you date a bunch, you might start to feel a little bit self-conscious. Or, you might wonder if there’s something incredibly wrong with you that every guy is just too nice to mention. You’ll lose sleep if you keep replaying the date in your head or if you keep over-calculating every single move you made. Let it be, and if you like the guy, text him and say you had a great time out. If it doesn’t work out, don’t take the rejection to heart.
  6. Don’t immediately tell your friends about dates. When you get other people involved with your love life, things can get messy. Sure, you might have a funny anecdote or two about a date, but don’t share it until you know for sure that the guy definitely won’t be in your life for the long haul. Also, if your friends use your messy dating life for entertainment, you might attend each date looking for the guy’s funny negatives before getting to know who he truly is. Remember that he’s a human first, and a story much later.
  7. … Or your family. If you’ve been single for a while, your parents might cling real hard to any information that they get about your romantic life. If you tell them you went on a date with Paul, they’ll spread the news to the family, who’ll be asking about Paul for the next year. When things get serious, then you can clue them in.
  8. Just remember to have fun. Dating and meeting new people should be fun. Even if you don’t end up making a love connection, you might just end up making a few amazing friends. Keep putting yourself out there, because only good can come of it.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.