By: Kate Edwards, Three Day Rule Matchmaker
Dating can be rough. Let’s face it – putting yourself out there isn’t always easy, and going on bad date after bad date can take a toll on your psyche. So, how you do survive dating without ending up in years of therapy? We’ve got the tips and tricks that will help keep you sane.
1. Enjoy the experience (as much as you can)
There are two kinds of people – those who enjoy first dates, and those who don’t. Most people fall into the latter camp because they view dates as nerve-wracking and exhausting. You get all dolled up, and you’re trying to impress someone you haven’t even met – it’s like going on an interview for a job you’re not sure you want.
Our advice is to remove all of the pressure by making it a game. Don’t think about it as an interview – think about it as a challenge.
Do everything in your power to get that person to like you. How do you do that? By having fun. If you’re a guy, take her somewhere you know you’ll have fun – the bowling alley or that new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try anyway. Take her somewhere where you know you’ll be confident. If you’re a woman, laugh at all of his jokes. You’ll find that laughing on a first date makes everyone more at ease, and it takes the stress off both sides. Of course be yourself, but be the happy, optimistic version of you.
Even if you know right away that your date isn’t right for you, the date doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Don’t consider a first date a time to analyze whether or not this person is your soulmate – just see if you can have fun with them in that moment. You’ll find that when you’re just trying to enjoy the evening, the pressure falls off. And you never know – that not-so-perfect date could eventually introduce you to the one, so you never want to burn bridges and come off like a jerk. It’s a much smaller world than you think!
2. Do your homework
No, I don’t mean Google stalking. In fact, I recommend against digging up dirt on your future first date online. People get ridiculously picky about things that don’t matter, and you end up eliminating the best part of dating – taking the time to really get to know people.
But you can eliminate the worst first dates through a little background preparation. At Three Day Rule, we meet everyone in person, so we vet all potential matches for our clients. We basically go on their bad first dates for them, eliminating the stress that comes with walking into an unknown situation. But if you’re not working with a matchmaker, try to use your friend network to get similar information. This can be tough with online dating, but the more dates you go on through friends, the better. Let all of your friends know you’re open to being set up, and you’ll find you’ll get dates that you know a little bit about beforehand. If your co-worker sets you up with her cousin, she’ll tell you In advance that he can sometimes run a few minutes late, but that he’s a great guy worth getting to know. Or if your friend dated his brother, you’ll know that his wedding dancing game is on point. These are real recommendations from people you can trust, so work that angle, and you’ll be less worried about having a miserable time.
3. Set manageable goals (don’t fall into the cycle)
We often see people fall victim to the online dating “cycle of frustration.” They get excited to get back out there, sign up for every website, go on three or four dates a week, then get completely burned out.
Like anything else, most stress about dating comes from overdoing it. Instead of throwing yourself into a process that is certain to end up in exhaustion, pace yourself. Set reasonable, achievable goals, so dating will be fun, rather than a chore.
You’ll have to figure out what makes sense for you, but limit yourself to one date a week, maximum. At TDR, we only send our clients one or two matches a month, because your dating life should be about quality, not quantity. Make dating something you look forward to, a respite from your job or going to the gym, rather than another item on your to do list. I promise, you won’t find your partner any sooner if you’re going on four dates a week – you’ll just end up getting annoyed and wanting to take a break from dating altogether. Be proactive about your dating life, but don’t let it drive you crazy.
4. Have a partner in crime
Having good single friends can really change how you feel about dating. Interacting with other singles who are going through the same first date challenges is so important, because it reminds you that you’re not alone. Often, our clients say things like, “all of my friends are married,” and it can get them down. There are thousands of singles out there, at every age, so cultivate friendships with others who are in your shoes.
Having a good wingman can never be overestimated, and besides, you’ll need someone to share those hilarious stories with over happy hour.
At Three Day Rule, our matchmakers are our clients’ partners in making dating fun again. We work with them to get them pumped about the process, inspire confidence, and work through all of those dating stressors. We help figure out what clients are really looking for in a match, and we vet singles in person, so they spend less time going on bad first dates. With these tips, you too can make dating more like a walk in the park, and less like swimming upstream.