Burned out by online dating? Ghosted one too many times? Time to refine your game. Kick off 2019 refreshed, positive, and optimistic with our 10 Top Dating Tips, complete with dating wisdom from relationship professionals.
1. Use Sophisticated Icebreakers
Are you opening chats with “hi” or “what’s up”? Come on now – you can do better than that! It’s competitive out there, so break the ice in creative and memorable ways. Not sure where to start? Take a tip from The Verge’s Megan Farokhmanesh: “If you want to be more than a bubble in someone’s DMs, treat them like more than a face in your matches.” To write a good opener, take your time and take the person in, following clues in their pictures and words. Take a risk while being respectful, be personal without being creepy, and be unique without trying too hard! It’s a lot to juggle, but with practice and a little faith, you’ll be firing off one-liners that instantaneously win people over.
2. Put Your Best Photos Forward
What’s the first step in creating a profile that delivers? Top-notch photos that look like you. Of course you at your best, but still you. Have you sat across from someone who didn’t live up to his/her picture? Not only awkward and disappointing, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Psychologist Marisa T. Cohen, Ph.D., author of “From First Kiss to Forever: A Scientific Approach to Love,” explains what online daters are seeking: “Women [are] more attracted to men displaying pride in their photos, like having their head tilted up, shoulders back, and an expanded stance. Men [are] more attracted to women displaying happiness, like a big smile.”
Photos are key. Find a friend who also needs to up their photos and make a day of snapping fun, genuine, and appealing pictures. As photos are the key to online dating success, you’ll find the investment well worth your while.
3. Message Less, Meet up More
Too much pre-date messaging can make first-date conversation challenging. It can also smother a spark. According to life coach and author Christine Hassler, “It’s like you’re on your second date in terms of info, but your first date in terms of physical chemistry, which can make things awkward.”
Too much information up front can interfere with good ole chemistry. The fix? Get to dating faster. If you find someone you like, be direct about meeting up a few days after matching and chatting. If they seem flaky or wishwashy, move on!
4. Stop Playing Games and Start Breezing
“’Breezing’ is a simple dating trend that focuses on not caring. No, really. It’s about being carefree, confident within yourself, and not worrying too much about what you’re supposed to be doing and what [the other person’s] thinking,” journalist Giulia Simolo explains.
Instead of trying to anticipate what the other person wants, go about your day and meet your own needs. This approach isn’t selfish – it’s empowered. And to potential matches, it’s a refreshing change to a landscape that is oversaturated with over-trying and insincerity. Be the flame – the moth will come.
5. Let go of your fantasy and meet the person in front of you
Creating fantasies about future first dates can only lead to disappointment. Not only will a person not likely live up to your fantasy of an ideal date, he or she will never exactly match your fantasy. Psychiatrist and mental health expert Grant Hilary Brenner, MD, has discovered the following: “When people were overly positive…, disillusionment was very likely; …people maintain positive illusions in the absence of information about the other person, leading to a greater risk of being disappointed.” When your mind wants to wander off into projections about what a person or a date will be like, do you best to stop it dead in its tracks and stay open to possibility. Not only will you avoid being let down, you may well set yourself up for the most meaningful of surprises.
6. Don’t Pre-Judge
Don’t draw superficial conclusions! Suspend judgment until meeting IRL. As millennial love expert Samantha Burns explains, “A judgment is an assumption… you’ll never know the truth about [someone] unless you put in the effort to talk or go on a date.” Judgments might be coming from your defenses, and when you latch onto specific “flaws,” you might overlook a person who is an amazing match. Also, the heart might want someone the head disqualifies. “Always ask yourself why you’re ruling someone out,” Burns continues. “If it’s a superficial reason, you might fall into that ‘too picky’ category, in which case consider giving this person another look.”
7. Hone in on What You’re Looking For
It might be a good time to re-evaluate what you’re looking for in a date and why. We often focus on traits in other people because we want to fulfill an insecurity in our own lives. “If a person isn’t financially secure, for example, it might be something he or she is wanting within his or her own life, which is why he or she is finding it attractive in someone else’s,” psychotherapist Tristan Coopersmith says.
We all know the remedy: first fill those needs in ourselves. If we want someone else to show up in a certain way, we first have to show up for ourselves. Of course, as Ben Harper sings, “It’s so hard to do, and so easy to say.” Self-discovery is an ongoing journey.
8. Ask the Right Questions
While you don’t want to get stuck in endless messaging, it’s a good idea to ensure you and a potential match are on the same page. If someone’s religion or smoking/drinking habits are deal-breakers, it’s better to find out sooner than later. In addition, you might ask a few questions to get a feel for who people truly are and what matters most to them.
Writer Eiman Jawed offers 17 questions that can jumpstart the process of getting a true sense of a potential mate. A few examples: “Who is your biggest role model,” What about my profile stuck out to you?,” and “Why are you on here?.”
9. Be Brave
In this disposable culture of ghosting, do your best to stay brave, confident, and open. While being open doesn’t mean you wont get hurt, occasional heartbreak is a small price for a rich and fulfilling life. Relationship expert John Kim, also known as The Angry Therapist, puts it bluntly: “You can protect yourself by living behind your fear walls and you’ll end up creating a moat around your life castle. You’ll end up becoming a prisoner and merely exist instead of live.”
At the League, we do our best to value quality over quantity, placing the emphasis on fostering fewer quality connections over amassing great numbers of connections that are likely to fade. We want to minimize your chances of coming across ghosts and maximize your chances of meeting considerate, reliable, and real human beings.
10. Mindfully Consider Matches
Give an attentive and thoughtful read to your matches’ profiles. Jamie Price, co-founder and president of Stop, Breathe & Think, advises “Every step of the way, from swiping to replying, ask yourself if this is someone you’d actually want to meet up with or just white noise that will ultimately make you feel more stressed.” Without the noise, your intuition can take over and guide you toward the people you’ll really connect with in a meaningful way. Not only will this maximize your chances of meeting that special someone, it will also set you up for more connected first-date conversations.
Dating is no easy thing, but it is doable, and it can even be a lot of fun. We hope these tips set you up for the most pleasurable and successful of dating experiences in 2019!