How to Date

We all know that dating can be a pretty tricky thing to maneuver, here are six important tips on how to navigate dating situations

Let me start this out by saying that I am in no way a relationship or life expert, the advice I give is solely based off of my experiences. I understand how hard it can be to navigate dating situations. Although I haven’t been in the world of dating long, my time at college has already exposed me to so many different kinds of people and helped me learn a lot about myself. That being said, here are my 6 tips on how to date:


1. Be Sure.

For me personally, the dating behavior in our current hookup culture and the games you’re expected to play can get old pretty fast. This isn’t meant to discourage you. Dating can be fun and a good way to add something new or exciting to your usual routine, when it’s done correctly. (Correctly being the key word there). The majority of my dating experiences have been facilitated by the oh-so-popular apps like Tinder and Bumble. For me, taking a break from the constant swiping, dry conversations that go nowhere, and genuinely terrible people, is a necessity as it can be draining. Basically, what I’m trying to say is before you get involved, prepare yourself for some of the shit that may come with your dating adventures.


2. Know What You Want.

Before jumping into a dating situation, it’s good to think about what you want to come out of your experience. Your boundaries don’t have to be clear cut and completely defined but knowing if you want something casual or more serious can be very helpful. Definitely don’t close yourself off to things that don’t fit the ideal because those can lead to some of the most interesting and eye-opening experiences. To me, it’s about establishing a good balance between leaving wiggle room to let things happen how they will and shaping an experience into the dating situation you want. I’m still trying to get that balance currently. I’ve gone into situations with people not knowing what I wanted, and it led to a relationship solely based on what the other person wanted. After going through that, I tried operating based off of my ideal situation and refused to stray from that. My unwillingness to compromise also left me disappointed because no one can meet all of your expectations. It’s about finding a middle ground.


3. Be Yourself.

You shouldn’t change yourself to be “more appealing” to someone else. Sometimes this isn’t as intentional as it may seem. I’m a very shy and reserved person by nature which makes it hard to open up to unfamiliar people and be completely myself unless I’m comfortable. I usually end up either forcing myself to be outgoing or beating myself up for not naturally being open. The way to counteract these insecurities with being yourself is to remind yourself that it’s okay to be vulnerable. If someone can’t accept you how you are, flaws and all, then they do not deserve your time.


4. Don’t Take It Personally.

Entering dating situations usually means anticipating all possible outcomes which can be discouraging. The fear of rejection or something not working out is pretty scary. I’m the queen of building things up to be so much bigger than they truly are so I understand this fear all too well. The idea that what’s meant to be for you will be for you is something that you can use to comfort you along your dating journey. Rejection doesn’t always have to be a personal attack so if you’re shot down, don’t automatically think it’s because of you or something you did. Most importantly with this tip, don’t let a rejection keep you from continuing to put yourself out there.


5. Explore.

The best way to explore is to keep your mind open to people or things that aren’t what you’re used to. I’ve encountered some incredibly interesting people with my “I don’t have a type” mentality and learned a lot about myself. Sticking to what’s comfortable for you may lead you to miss out on people who could have a positive effect on your life. It also helps you figure out what does and does not work for you. I’ve learned so many things about what I’m into, the type of affection I need, and what dating standards I need to set for myself. I never would have figured these things out until I had been with different kinds of people.


6. Be Safe.

Lastly, and most importantly, is that you’re safe. With navigating new territory, it can be hard to know what precautions you should take ahead of time. If you’re dating and being sexually intimate with people, you should be getting tested regularly to make sure you and your partners are healthy. Getting tested in about 3-to-6-month intervals as well as using adequate protection during sex (condoms, etc.) is very important. Another way you should be staying safe is by sharing your location with people you trust or making sure someone knows where you are and who you’re with. When dating online, you can’t really trust people because you don’t know them. When I’m first meeting someone I try to meet in a public place and share my location with my roommate and close friends. Your safety should come before anything else so take precautions and be smart.