Whether you recently got out of a serious relationship or you’ve been consciously single for a long period of time, getting back into the dating pool can feel a little awkward and overwhelming at times. Putting yourself out there can be scary, exciting, fantastic, disappointing, and every emotion in between. Here’s how to get back into dating one small step at a time.
First Things First, Do this For You
Your family and friends may equate singleness with unhappiness, and therefore may put unnecessary pressure on you to get back out there and find a mate. Just remember that you should only start to date if you want to start dating. No one else’s approval or opinion should matter when it comes to your love life.
However, if you feel like you want to start dating again or meet a companion, then pursue it in a way that makes sense for you. That means if you don’t feel like being set up with your mother’s dentist’s cousin, then it’s perfectly fine for you to politely decline the invitation. It also means that your friends or family members shouldn’t pressure you to set up an online dating account if you would rather meet someone in a more organic way.
Start Looking Around
When you were in a previous relationship or weren’t looking for a partner, it was easy to just go about your life and not pay too much attention to strangers or acquaintances that you came across on a daily basis. Once you have actively decided to pursue dating again, stop and take a look around at all of the people you are interacting with on a daily basis. Maybe that barista you love that has memorized your very specific coffee order should be given a second look. Or maybe the guy who services the copy machine at your office who always makes small talk should be paid more attention to. The point is, take stock of the people who are around you and you’ll never know what kinds of friendships or even romantic relationships may happen for you in the future.
Ask for a Setup
Five years ago you may not have even considered having your friends or family members set you up with another single person, but now you may be rethinking that decision. Who better to set you up with another person than the people who know you best? Sure, there might be a chance that the date could be a complete flop, but so could a date with someone completely random.
Ask your friends or family members if they know anyone single who you might be compatible with. Tell them that what kinds of qualities you’re looking for in a date or potentially a future partner. Have them take it seriously (and not just find the only single person they know). You never know when their connection with someone could lead to romance!
Join a New Club or Hobby Group
Do you love to go to art museums or drink wine? Are you a movie buff who is dying to talk shop with other cinema lovers? Chances are, whatever your hobby is, there’s a group out there you can join to meet up with other hobbyists. Although it’s not guaranteed that there will be other single people there, it’s a great chance to get you out of your comfort zone and meet new people. You never know if someone in your new cycling group could be your next best friend or maybe your next great date. Put yourself out there by joining new groups and you’ll be surprised at how easily a connection can form with someone new.
Sign Up for Online Dating
Yes, this is the 21st century and online dating is an extremely popular way to meet someone new. There are certainly drawbacks to meeting someone in this way, but it’s hard to deny some of the results that you hear about from happy couples that have found success. There are many, many online dating sites and apps, so be sure to be selective and choose one that fits your needs (and one that’s recommended by your other single friends). Algorithms that predict your interest in another person can often turn out to be really accurate, but sometimes you may have a date that’s a dud. Take it in stride (and maybe with a chuckle) and move on to the next.
Do What Makes You Comfortable
When you’re putting yourself out there for the first time in a while, dating can seem a little overwhelming and often frustrating. The most important thing is to check in with yourself and ensure that you’re having fun and enjoying most of the experiences that you’re having. If you find that most of your experiences are less than desirable, don’t be afraid to take a break. A little bit of self care while you’re dating never hurt anyone.