Whether you’re just dipping your toes in the water or looking for a long-term relationship, here are a few dating tips you should know.
1) Figure out what you really want
To get the most out of your dating experience, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. For some people this may look like casual dating, while others may desire a committed relationship.
Ask yourself these questions to get started:
If you're using dating apps, these questions can also help you tailor your profile and create meaningful filters. For instance, if you’re looking for something casual, you may want to consider filtering out people who are looking for a relationship or vice versa. Using these types of features and being honest about what you want allows you to set clear expectations and match with people who want similar things.
It’s also okay if you’re not looking to date or hookup. Sometimes, it’s nice to focus on friendships instead. If this sounds like you, check out these tips for making friends on campus.
2) Communicate and uphold your boundaries
Boundaries represent the limits, rules or expectations that we set in order to protect our own well-being. Setting healthy boundaries can help us navigate relationships in a more positive way and avoid feelings of anger, resentment or burnout.
Communicating our boundaries is an important part of any relationship, especially if we plan to be intimate with someone. Before you hop on your favorite app, agree to meet up or engage in sexual activities, think through some potential relationship boundaries.
Here are a few examples to consider:
A good way to identify boundaries is to review any ‘red flags’. For instance, is it a red flag if your date insists on hooking up the first time you meet or if they use substances more than you’re comfortable with? Remember to communicate these types of boundaries with potential partners so you’re both on the same page.
Most importantly, be honest about your expectations, and trust your gut. If someone dismisses your boundaries or pushes you to do something you’re not comfortable with, they’re probably not a good fit.
3) Embrace authenticity and connection
All of us are hardwired to seek out clarity, safety and stability in our relationships. However, modern dating culture often emphasizes more casual interactions and low accountability. We may feel pressured to play it cool, be chill, minimize what we want/need or avoid committing too early. Ultimately, these dating norms and expectations can cause increased anxiety and uncertainty in our relationships.
One way to combat this is to intentionally embrace authenticity and connection. Allow your true self to shine through, whether you’re dating online or in person. If you prefer apps, be sure to build a profile that reflects who you really are. Don’t be afraid to showcase your personality through your photos, questionnaires or your bio. Staying true to your authentic self can also help you be more open to making meaningful connections. Seek out people who have shared interests, appreciate your quirks and allow you to be yourself. It’s also important to remember that you can take your time. Dating is a slow dance. Try to enjoy it, and use it as an opportunity to get to know other people (and yourself).