Dating in today’s world is nothing like it used to be. We show our interest by liking each other’s Instagram pictures, all our deep conversations happen over text, and no one goes to dinner anymore. We “Facebook stalk” to get to know people and “Netflix and chilling” is how we spend time together.
I, just like many others, am completely guilty of all of this. In high school, it even made sense to interact like this. How else would we have gotten through the awkwardness of first relationships?! While there isn’t really anything majorly wrong with this when you’re young, there comes a time (somewhere in your 20s) where this just doesn’t cut it anymore. Most begin to look for something more genuine and serious and want to get to know someone on a more mature level. But how are you supposed to change a whole societal norm? I’ve found that the only way to do so is to keep in mind a list of guidelines. Use these tips to direct your actions and decisions and to foster mature, meaningful relationships in today’s society.
Be confident, even if you have to fake it.
Not only is confidence attractive, but faking it can help to calm your nerves until you’re actually confident for real. First (and second and third) dates are always a little nerve wracking. Wear something you feel good in or listen to your favorite song on repeat. Act like you’ve done this a million times.
Have a good idea of what you want in another person.
But don’t let that list be definitive. The biggest mistake people make is making a list of traits they want in another person, and writing off everyone that doesn’t exactly fit. It’s good to know what you’re looking for in someone, but you’ll miss out on too many amazing people and potential partners if you can’t compromise a bit.
And an even better idea of what you don’t want.
This, however, should be definitive. Use your past experiences as ways to discover exactly what you don’t want in another person. You know better than anyone what didn’t work for you. This shouldn’t be something you often compromise on.
Learn how to hold a conversation.
Somehow, in today's world, digital conversation has taken the place of face-to-face conversation, and with it, our social skills. Focus on talking to someone without the use of technology. Ask questions; get to know someone without social media. Talk about yourself too, but show interest in the other person as well. You'll be amazed at what you can learn about someone (and yourself!) by having an actual conversation.
Approach each situation with an open mind.
Taking chances is what being young is all about. Remember that not everyone is going to hurt you like somebody else did before. In a situation where you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, why not be open to new experiences?! Some will work out and some won’t, but you’ll be glad you gave things a shot in the long run.
Remember that everyone has a past, including you.
Don’t bring your past into the present, and don’t completely write somebody off because of his or hers. Everybody has made (or dated) his or her fair share of mistakes. You wouldn’t want to be entirely judged off of a few past experiences, and neither would anyone else. Try keeping this in mind.
Don’t waste time -- yours or theirs!
If you’re not feeling something (or someone), be straight up about it. Don’t try to force chemistry that so obviously isn’t there. You’ll only waste your time and their time, which isn’t fair to either of you.
Be tolerant of others.
Everyone has their little quirks and habits that make them a little bit different. When things are new between you and another person, it is easy to overanalyze these things and make up excuses as to why it’ll never work between you two. If all goes as planned, you’ll fall in love with their weird laugh or the way they eat Ramen with a fork. Don’t write people off so quickly.
Do not allow yourself to be disrespected.
With this being said, there are certain behaviors you should never tolerate. Lying, cheating, and any type of abuse are certainly not quirks you can learn to love. Never ever allow someone else to disrespect your mind or body. Thankfully, spotting these things early on in a relationship makes it easier to walk away from. Demand respect from others and give it in return. The quality of your relationships will be dramatically different.
And be honest. Showing someone your true self right off the bat may be scary at first, but it’s better in the long run. You’ll give someone a sense of who you truly are right away, and you wont waste your time pretending to be something you’re not only to have to prove who you really are later on. It will help you be more comfortable around the other person almost immediately because you wont have to remember to act a certain way or try to keep up some charade. Relax and be yourself, it’s more than good enough.
Your relationship should never be mediocre. Don’t be with someone because you’re lonely. Don’t put up with disrespect because you think you’ll never find someone else. Remember how young you are in the grand scheme of things. Never settle for less than you deserve.