Couple at restaurant

Let’s face it; dating can be a real challenge. It’s not as easy as it seems in the movies. Most of the time, there is no wild coincidence or fated meetings like in “Romeo and Juliet.” If you want something, you should learn how to get it.

Dating is a unique and exciting encounter for each person. For those new to the game, it can feel intimidating to put yourself out there. However, there is no need to fret. Love is in the air, and this might be the right moment to take your chance. Here are 14 dating tips for those who are just getting into the dating game.

Relax and Unwind Before Your Date

Woman dancing in bedroom with headphones on

Are you feeling the nerves before your first date?

Take some time to chill out. Letting go of any worries and pressure can help you feel more relaxed and confident, which is the best mood for a romantic date.

Set your stress aside and take a moment to treat yourself. This way, you can get into the right mindset and stop doubting yourself. Remember, you’re not going to a job interview! You’re going to a date where you can get to know someone and have fun. 

Here are some recommended tips on how to unwind your nerves before a date:

  1. Listen to some confidence-boosting music while getting ready. 
  2. Have a nice, hot bath to ease the tension in your body.
  3. Spend some fun time with your family or friends before the date. You will be distracted from worrying too much and improve your overall mood!
  4. Hit the gym. Working up a sweat before a date can make you feel more confident and at ease.
  5. Pour a glass of wine to loosen up. Make sure not to drink too much, though. It’s not ideal for a first impression with your date.

Go to a Place Where You Can Have Fun

You might think that a date is all about good impressions, and therefore, you will try to go somewhere high-class and unfamiliar. Stop, back up.

That can set up an uncomfortable atmosphere! For example, what if the date turns out to be horrible, but you can’t easily walk out of your reserved spot in a five-star restaurant? It’s going to be a quiet and awkward meal for both of you.

Instead, try to go somewhere you enjoy, like your favorite coffee shop or a local bar. You can also switch it up by doing something together! The bonus to this idea is that if your date enjoys an activity you like, then you are on the way to real compatibility

Here are some fun ideas you can do for a first date:

  1. Go bowling.
  2. Volunteer at a pet shelter.
  3. Play golf.
  4. Try escaping an escape room.
  5. Visit an ice-skating rink.
  6. Go hiking.
  7. Sing your hearts out at a karaoke bar.
  8. Have a picnic date at the local park.
  9. Attend a comedy show.
  10. Watch an anticipated movie at a drive-in theater.

Granted, the current social restrictions in place can make this a little more difficult, but this only means that you’ll need to get a bit more creative when thinking up a fun activity for your date!

Show Up on Time

The concept of punctuality does not only apply to work meetings. It  also applies everywhere else. Being punctual is not just for an excellent first impression; it’s also an act of respect to another person’s time.

Arriving twenty minutes or more past the set time can signify that the person is not interested. It’s also a way of saying, “my time is more important than your time, even if you waited for me.”

Be Genuine

Couple at bar

There’s no other way around it; if you go on a date wearing a facade, then the whole purpose pf dating is entirely useless.

Finding the right partner can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. You may end up confused and discouraged. However, it can be an easy and smooth date if the other person can match your real personality

Be honest about yourself. Yes, you want to impress each other. That’s natural. But do not lie or inflate the truth to seem more impressive. You can only establish trust between two people if there is transparency. Your date is more likely interested in your actual humor and interests, rather than a fake profile.

Put Your Phone Away

Dating is supposed to involve two-way communication.

As much as you’re busy with work and other commitments, you should put your phone away when you’re on a date. Or at least put your phone in silent mode! If you have to be on call, let them know. Fiddling with your phone and not looking at them when they talk, even if it’s a nervous habit, can seem rude in front of your date. 

You know what else you should do?

Pay attention to what they say. You can learn so much from a person based on what they are passionate about. Rather than going for monosyllabic answers, empty flattery, or lame pick-up lines you discovered online, get into an engaging conversation. Being engaging can show that aside from being impressed, you are also impressive.

Let the Other Person Talk

For the most part, people usually like to talk about themselves, so let your date talk. There is a big difference in waiting for the other person to stop talking and listening. Be an active listener and let the conversation flow between two people. Ask questions, listen to their perspective, then share your thoughts when there is an opening. 

You might wonder, “how do I continue the conversation if we have nothing in common?”

The answer to this is curiosity. Being a curious individual can be attractive, and it encourages your date to be interested in you as well. Moreover, you can learn more about your partner and the topic at hand. 

Here are some topics you can try out to spice up the conversation!

  1. Admit that you’re feeling nervous. Being honest about how you feel at the start can help your date open up as well.
  2. Discuss your favorite hobbies after work. 
  3. Talk about your bucket list and other aspirations.
  4. Ask them if they like the date venue, and what their favorite places are.
  5. If possible, you may converse about your family, childhood, and where you grew up.

Be Aware of Red Flags

Man and woman at table

Going on a date means that you should get to know each other. If your potential partner does not answer your questions directly or acts suspiciously, then that’s a red flag you should be wary of.

Listen to your intuition. Light and non-invasive questions such as “what is your occupation?” should be a simple one. If they can’t even answer that, then it’s reasonable to be suspicious.

It’s also best to know what works for you and what doesn’t. Knowing yourself and what you want in a relationship can save you so much time and effort. For example, if you think smoking is an instant deal-breaker, then be honest about it. You may not be compatible with your date because of that deal-breaker, but that’s fine. As long as you know and understand what you want, then both of you can move on.

Perfection is Not Real

As we’ve mentioned before, dating in real life is different from the movies. It’s fine to have expectations before going on a date, but do not expect that there will be an instant spark of understanding when you meet for the first time. Two people can be a good match for each other, even if they are not entirely compatible. You might have different jobs and work ethics. Or maybe, you are from different countries.

What matters is this:

Do you match each other’s values?

Do not get into dating with a mental checklist of the ideal partner. Instead, approach it with an open mind. If the two of you can be in a meaningful connection where you can give and take equally, then that is real compatibility. Different personalities and hobbies, but the same values and virtues. 

Forget About the “Rules”

When you were young, you probably heard about some odd dating rules. An example of this is to wait three days before calling back so that you appear “hard to get.”

Well, forget about those rules. They do not help in any way, and you might seem disrespectful if you apply them in your love life. 

A healthy relationship does not start with weird rules. Instead, it begins with trust and honesty. If you want to start a conversation and let them know you’re interested, then contact them. Simple as that. Do not leave them guessing, and do not let them do the same to you

Make Sure That You are Emotionally Available for Dating

Woman on sofa thinking

Evaluate your emotional and mental state.

Do you want to date someone? Or are you just lonely?

Maybe you’re trying hard to work through some things, like a breakup. Or perhaps, you’re still learning how to embrace who you are, with all your assets and flaws. Whatever it is, the choice of dating is entirely up to you

After all, the vulnerability that comes with dating enables emotional growth. Aside from learning from other people, you can learn a lot from yourself. Just bear in mind that searching for love and searching for happiness are two different things. Loneliness is never enough of a reason to start dating.

Love Yourself

This one might be a distinct word of advice, but it should be a constant reminder for every individual.

Love yourself before loving someone else.

If you arrive on a date feeling like you’re unworthy and have zero confidence, then that feeling is going to persist throughout the whole meeting. Pause for a while, take a breather, and practice self-compassion

There’s nothing selfish about learning how to build up your self-esteem. If you have built up your confidence, then you can go on a date feeling sure about yourself. Sure, an unfavorable outcome will translate into a good learning experience. But on the other hand, a definite result with your potential partner can be a life-changer. Allow yourself to take it easy and have fun. 

Do Not Overthink Everything

In the early stages of dating, calm your nerves and take everything at face value. There is no hidden code that you should know and memorize. If they seemed interested, then they are. If they seem bored, then they’re probably not interested, and you can check out.

Do not overthink that one text message they sent; you’re just giving yourself a headache out of worry. 

Instead of overthinking, try to communicate clearly and stop thinking about what-if scenarios. Also, stop looking at your phone too much! They will respond to your message when they want to, and you can’t control that.

Let It Be

Couple eating at restaurant

Take note: dating is not a straight line connecting Point A to Point B. It’s a journey that can lead to several detours before arriving at the actual destination.

Trying to control every aspect of the date can be exhausting, not just for you, but for the other person as well. They are probably anxious and excited too, so there is no need to worry about every single detail of the date.

Take a small step back and let it be. Dating is where you can explore and experience new aspects of life with someone else. For those new to the game, it is not a commitment. You do not have to take it too seriously in the early stages, and every scheduled date does not have to be a hundred percent perfect. 

Have Fun!

There will be many disappointing moments, funny times, and memories that you will not forget. Dating is a different learning experience for everyone, but one thing is for sure: it can be enjoyable

It’s not necessary to stress about it. Every individual has their timeline, and your time for love will come. Enjoy the journey to the fullest, and do not settle for less because someone out there deserves you.