9 ways to make dating fun again
For all you single people out there: who among you has ever started to consider dating a chore? It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it? The excitement of those first couple of dates begins to fade as the novelty wears off and you’re left discouraged. We’ve all been there. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that dating is no easy task. Especially, if the years are stacking up and you’re running out of single friends. Bitterness and boredom kick in and the fun is sucked out of what was once such an exhilarating experience. But fear not, my friends! The fun can be restored! All that is needed is a slight adjustment of your perspective and technique.
Adjustment #1: Expectations
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “without expectations, there wouldn’t be disappointments”. I wholeheartedly agree! How ridiculous would it be if everyone you met held a grudge against you for not being their Mr. or Mrs. Right? You can’t help it if you don’t talk, walk or act in the exact way that they prefer. Exactly! So why hold others to the same outrageous standard? Hoping that every date will end with a walk down the aisle and living happily ever after makes it almost impossible for any real intimacy to form. The very point of a date is to get to know each other and try to have some fun together. If it goes well, you can arrange for another and let it flow naturally. If it doesn’t, that’s not an indication that your Prince or Princess Charming will never come. Just that you mistook this particular noble for them, instead.
Adjustment #2: Self-imposed limited options
The most beautiful thing about this life is that the most amazing experiences come to us when and whence we least expect them to. When you have your guard down and take chances, wondrous things can occur. I’ve come to realize that when a particular dating method or system isn’t producing the desired results, it’s wise to switch it up a little. If you have a habit of always dating people you met at a bar, and it has proven itself a fruitless labor, try dating people you meet at the park, at the beach or even at your local art gallery. The possibilities are endless, as long as you step out of your comfort zone. If you’ve always dated people your age, try dating a few years younger (keep it legal, folks) or older than your usual pick. Flip your preferences on their head and you’ll be surprised at the difference this can make.
Adjustment #3: Second chances
Parties, bars, vacation spots and other similar settings can make it easy for people to feel intimate with each other. But arranging a date with the same person in a more relaxed atmosphere can feel less comfortable. That doesn’t mean you didn’t really click with that person. Nor does it mean it was just the alcohol that made you attracted to each other the previous night. It’s just a little harder to find things to say and do when left to your own devices, so give them a chance anyway, even if you’re feeling a little awkward. It may take two or more dates for you to start to feel comfortable with each other. Just remember that they might be just as discouraged with their failed dates and perhaps it’s that stress that is making them uncomfortable.
Adjustment #4: Initiative
It’s easy to criticize the way the other person decided to setup the date, but putting yourself in their shoes can really open your eyes to just how demanding it can be. It’s hard to know what someone will enjoy doing when it’s the first time you’re going out with them. That’s the point of the date – to get to know them. If you are, nonetheless, still concerned with the date actually being something you will enjoy, then take an active role in leading it the way you want. If the restaurant is less than satisfactory, suggest heading somewhere you do like instead. Or to avoid those disappointments altogether, organize the date yourself. Don’t always expect the other person to plan the ideal night perfectly tailored to your needs. You can either go with the flow or change the flow to do what you prefer.
Adjustment #5: Originality
There are only so many times you can go to your local restaurants before they start to get monotonous. Sitting opposite a stranger, interrogating each other, while struggling not to get food anywhere other than your mouth can be a terrifying process and it’s not for everyone. It can make both parties too nervous to be themselves and more prone to putting on a show in order to make a good impression. So why not try something non-traditional? Preferably something that will get your endorphins pumping and take the pressure off. Use this opportunity to cross something off your bucket list, perhaps. Go indoor rock-climbing, hiking, take a cooking class together. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Active dates like this will help the conversation flow more naturally and will help you both show your true colors earlier on.
Adjustment #6: Positive Outlook
After a handful (or more) of rotten dates, it’s easy to be left disheartened with the whole idea. But the more you think negatively about it, the worse your dates will progressively get, because you will find yourself feeling more irritable over the tiniest details. One way to make sure you keep your perspective fresh and positive is to ask your friends, family or colleagues to share funny dating stories. Or, if they are fresh out of new ones to tell, Erin Meanley dating blogger for Glamour Magazine, suggests Samantha Daniels’s Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern-Day Matchmaker and Chelsea Handler’s My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands. They are both hilarious and guaranteed to lift your spirits concerning the dating front.
Adjustment #7: Dating Sabbaticals
There’s nothing wrong with taking some time off from the exhausting dating scene from time to time. If you have been on a losing streak for what you feel has been too long, then give yourself a month or two to “detox”, so to speak, and recharge your batteries. There’s a chance you are just discouraged and are recycling bad experiences so much that they are poisoning what would otherwise have been a perfectly innocent dating mishap. It won’t all look like doom and gloom if your head is cleared and you feel rejuvenated and ready to hit the town.
Adjustment #8: Alcohol
Keep it out of a first date. At least copious amounts of it. If you have to be plastered to tolerate a date with this person, then simply cut the date short. No reason to subject yourself to the inevitable hangover and guilty conscious that ensue. If you’re that nervous, allow a glass of wine or perhaps a beer, but make sure to stay lucid enough to remember a few things about your date the next day. Not only are you giving a terrible example of who you are if your date witnesses you hammered, but you sabotage yourself by being much less equipped to present the full spectrum of who you are to a perspective boyfriend or girlfriend. Why ruin what might be good odds?
Adjustment #9: The Blame Game
I know it’s easier (and more fun) to pretend like the only person at fault for a bad date was the other person, but consider this: perhaps your last few dates have all been less than satisfactory because they all had a common denominator: you. I know it’s hard to accept that perhaps it was you that was the unsuitable suitor, but realizing this can make all the difference when it comes to improving your future dates. Instead of always coming out of a date crying up to the heavens: “Why are there no good girls/guys left in this town?” try considering that maybe – through your date’s eyes – you weren’t quite as awesome as they had expected you to be. The truth is, when you always show up expecting only to be wooed and never to have to woo the other person in return, you make yourself look demanding, selfish and, yes, boring. That is sure to de-motivate them and cause your date to lose interest in even trying to impress you anymore.
It’s true that some of these things can be hard to hear (and to accept), because when it comes to finding the right person to spend the rest of our lives with, we get ahead of ourselves and somehow feel entitled to everything being perfectly prepared for us. We expect to not have to lift a finger and when we have to work for it, we get upset and the result of our little tantrum can be a botched date, or utter discouragement from the dating scene in general. The trick is to embrace the fact that not only is the other person going to have the same expectations as us, but they will probably have the same attitude as well, leaving no one driving the proverbial bus. Someone has to take the wheel and steer it where they want it to go. If that someone is you, then the vehicle is most likely to end up where you want it to go. Just keep it mind, however difficult it can sometimes be to remember, that dating is supposed to be fun. So don’t take it too seriously.