A couple of months ago, I got out of a relationship. I was talking with a group of friends when I admitted that I had pretty much never been on a 'first date'. I had spent my younger years constantly in relationships, and had never truly dated.
The shock in the room was palpable, and quickly replaced with the opening of new bottles of wine and a group effort to create Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder profiles for Talia to explore her newly single status in Los Angeles.
After some swiping and some scrolling, and a lot of advice from friends on what to say first (hint: asking questions will increase the likelihood of a response), I was ready.
For fun, we decided to make the whole thing even sillier: go out on at least 3 dates every single week.
Okay, why not? What did I have to lose?
And so I did it. Honestly, it was pretty fun.
After going on 17 dates in 30 days, I learned a lot. About men, about dates, but mostly, I learned a lot about myself. I highly encourage everyone to date around, but to save you a few lessons, here are my top 5 pieces of dating advice:
1. Go with your instincts
That guy that you have a weird feeling about? The date you're really dreading? Don't go. There were two dates that I truly felt agony when I thought about going on them - and both of them ended up being awkward at best. Obviously, if you cancel every single date, then we're talking about a different problem. But if a guy gives you a bit of the creeps or makes you feel at all uncomfortable - do. not. say. yes. Just don't.
2. Go into every date with the intention of learning something new
Instead of psyching myself out to go make goo-goo eyes at a boy for a couple of hours, I would tell myself I was simply going to meet up with another human who would teach me something new about life. I dated a guy who taught me about graphic design. I dated a guy who taught me about open relationships. I dated a guy who works for NASA, and taught me about space. I dated a guy who is a somewhat famous musician, and taught me all about life on tour.
I found that when I was going into a new date with curiosity and excitement to grow my own personal knowledge, it was a lot less scary!
3. Be honest with what you're looking for
I knew what I was looking for - experiences, not a relationship. Any guy who seemed even somewhat eager for a relationship was not on the same page as me, and I would immediately bring up that I was newly single and just looking to have some fun. I also made it abundantly clear that I wasn't looking for a hook-up buddy either (since, you know... millennials).
When you're dating, it is only fair to be completely upfront with what you want and what you need. Because otherwise, you're just wasting both peoples' times.
4. Be honest if what you're looking for isn't them
Yeah, you heard me all you GHOSTERS out there. Ghosting is cruel. I don't care who you are, I don't care what the situation is. If you aren't into someone, man up and tell them. There's no excuses for just being a low-life, spineless human being. End of story.
5. Don't play games
Collective eye roll, please. Games are for children (unless we're talking some drunken board games, 'cuz then count me in!). But no, seriously. If you're into him, go ahead and text him first. Who cares?? I can say with complete honesty that I have texted quite a few guys first - I even forced a friend to text a friend to get a guy's number. We're getting sushi tonight. Honestly, it is what it is.
Be an adult. Don't play games.
And there you have it, folks.
I'm sure, as my dating continues, the list of lessons will only continue to grow. But for now, make dating fun, learn something new, and put yourself out there. You won't regret it.
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