Still don’t feel like you have a handle on the dating game? Dorothy Black offers her top tips for enjoying the ride…
I’ve been out of the dating game just long enough to let the dust settle and enjoy the clarity of hindsight around the woulda/coulda/shouldas that only time can offer. So here I offer you my listicle of Doing Dating Right.
Be ok with what you’re looking for.
Nobody dates to find a brother-friend. They date to find some level of intimate connection – whether that’s physical or emotional or both, right? But some people are shy about owning their feelings: Maybe they’re shy about saying they want a short-term, cuddle-buddy shag, or they’re shy about saying they want something meaningful. And depending on social groups, women are pretty much discouraged to ‘admit’ either. Be cool with – and honest about – what you’re looking for and you’re more likely to find it.
Date with fun in mind, not The One in mind.
Just because you know what you want, doesn’t mean you should go all ‘Amazing Race’ and push a goal-oriented dating agenda until you think you’ve won The One. If you’re going on a personal crusade to mow your way through the online catalogue of humans trying to find the person that fits your idea of perfection, you’re going to end up disappointed. Great dating is learning about yourself, what you want, and what you like by interacting with other humans with clarity and honesty.
It’s ok to leave a shitty situation.
I remember a date where the guy I was with stared at a woman next to me for what felt like the better half of our dinner. Lima once listened to a date tell her all about his ex and how much he missed her vagina. Why neither of us didn’t just get up and leave is anyone’s guess. Probably because women are socialised to be polite and mind other people’s feelings regardless of what is going on for us. But you never have to have to hang around for anyone, least of all a weirdo on a first date. If you feel uncomfortable, scared, uneasy, dismissed – hell, any number of ‘no’ feelings – then listen to your gut and leave.
Check your information boundaries.
Social media and instant messaging means that there can be a weight of assumed familiarity between two strangers. Whether you’ve had your eyeball on someone for a month or you’ve hooked up after a Tinder minute, you’re messaging up a storm and probably doing a whole lot of ‘online research’ before you meet ‘in real life’. But it doesn’t mean that you know each other. Don’t assume trust and don’t hand over your personal space or emotional investment just because you’ve shared a few emojis and a margarita or two.
Don’t be a player.
Look, if you want to play games you’ll find the players to play with. But there just isn’t enough time in your one precious life to spend your valuable energy tip toeing around what-ifs and maybe-ifs and passive aggressive if-this-then-thats. If you like someone, let them know; if they’re playing hard to get, let them go.