If you’re like me the thought of dating might potentially make you do the following: sweat profusely, get sick to your stomach, eat copious amounts of ice cream, or all of the above.
Dating can often feel like the worst version of the flu.
Relationships are messy because they’re real. Unfortunately, there’s no formula for success and no roadmap to guarantee a life of bliss and happiness. People arrive at different places at different times, and everyone’s journey is unique.
This is half of the beauty and yet half the pain of navigating dating relationships.
Dating is kind of like getting ready in the morning. It’s not exactly fun, everyone does it a little differently, but for many of us it’s a part of life. Some people exercise in the morning, and others snooze until the last minute. Dating, if you’re willing to instill some routines and habits, has the potential to function in a similar way. We all date a little differently, but here are a few habits worth considering to make dating manageable. And if you’re lucky, maybe even enjoyable.
1. Say Yes
For so long, my friends and I moaned about how guys don’t ask girls out anymore. While there’s a little truth behind this complaint, there’s also some ownership on our behalf.
Guys aren’t asking girls out anymore because girls aren’t saying yes. My rule of thumb is always to say yes to a first date. Trust me, it’s been interesting, but I don’t regret a single one. A first date isn’t committal, and it certainly isn’t a proposal. If a guy is mustering up the courage to ask us out, then we can muster up the courage to say yes.
By saying yes now, you’re setting up two people for success. He gains the confidence to keep asking people out (whether that’s with you or in some other future relationship). You get a chance to practice spending time with someone and to get to know them. There’s never any harm in polishing those relationship skills.
2. You Aren’t Getting Married
At least, not right now. You are just dating, and it’s important to keep that in mind throughout the process. Instead of viewing the first few dates as the beginning steps to the long road towards marriage, remember you’re still getting to know each other.
There’s a lot of pressure to have everything figured out. It’s almost impossible to determine if you want to spend the rest of your life with someone after a simple cup of coffee or a few cocktails. Do yourself and your date a favor. Stop trying to picture what your future kids might look like and just enjoy each other’s company.
Life isn’t a movie. You won’t know right away and guess what? That’s okay! We don’t make most decisions right away. Like anything worth investing in, dating and marriage are lifelong processes through which we will continue to learn. Treat a date as a date until proven otherwise. You’ll be free to be yourself, and your ease will likely cause him to do the same.
3. Stop Texting
I’ll be honest, this was the hardest habit to break. I love texting; I think it’s genius. As a writer, I’m able to communicate better through a text than in person. Texting is quick and convenient and often an afterthought.
Let’s be honest, quick, convenient, and thoughtless isn’t the best foundation for a relationship. It’s easy to hide behind a text conversation or misinterpret information leading to problems. Or, if you’re like me, texting gives you permission to avoid confrontation altogether.
If a guy asks you out via text, he’s probably just nervous or thinks it’s best practice. Instead of turning him down or enabling him to think texting is a good way to pursue you, set the standard by saying, “Sure that sounds great! Give me a call and we can set something up!”
At that point, if he’s not confident enough to call, then he’s not worth dating. Guys are driven. If he wants to take you out, he’ll figure out a way to make that happen. Even after the initial date, resist the urge to text the day away and save conversations for in person. It will give you plenty to talk about since you haven’t exhausted a day’s worth of topics over text. Plus, it’s great practice for learning to get out from behind a phone and engage each other.
No one is perfect at dating (myself included). Give yourself time, grace and freedom to try these suggestions and see what work for you!