an attractive couple eating ice cream and showing how to start dating again

So you wondering how to start dating? While dating can be nerve-wracking for even the most seasoned veterans, it’s especially anxiety-riddled for the newbies (or those who’ve been out of the game for a while). However, never fear! Dating can also be fun and exciting, and even more so when you have a plan of action that will help make you feel confident and calm, and your best self. 

One of the most important things to know when you’re thinking about how to start dating is that there is no right and wrong. You can tailor your dating life to your preferences and you get to decide when you’re ready, want to take a step back and how you want it to fit in your life. Here’s our guide to covering the basics when you’re thinking about getting started, be it for the first time or getting back out there after a break `. 

Ready? Here’s how to start dating! 

Be Clear About What You Want 

When you think about dating, what do you think about? Do you just want to dip your toes in the dating pool and have some flirty fun? Are you looking for a hookup? Or are you interested in a committed relationship? Being clear with what you’re seeking on the dating scene will help narrow the field and allow you and potential dates to be on the same page. 

Who Will Make You Feel Like Your Best Self?

Finding your perfect match isn’t about seeking someone who looks like Leonardo DiCaprio or Ariana Grande. It also isn’t about money or what they do for a living. When it comes to compatibility and what makes a relationship thrive, you want to look for a person who embodies the qualities that makes you feel connected and inspired, and who essentially brings out the best in you. 

Ask yourself: what do you value most in life? Community? Friendships? A sense of purpose? What’s important to you when it comes to forming relationships? Is it intelligence, humor, thoughtfulness, kindness, and respect? 

Visualize your ideal partner. What are you doing together, and most importantly, how do you want to feel when you’re around them? Safe? Joyful? Peaceful? Think of the feelings, values, and qualities of that ideal partnership when you vet potential partners. 

Are You Ready to Date?

Warning: Dating can be a minefield of emotional triggers. If you haven’t healed from past relationships or any type of traumatic experience prior to dating, then it’s likely you’ll be confronted with some potentially painful memories that could interfere with the development of a new connection. 

Be real with yourself: are you feeling good about meeting new people? Do you feel like you’re equipped to handle intimacy and a healthy dose of vulnerability? 

It’s okay if you’re not! While we won’t ever be “perfect” and totally healed individuals in order to start dating (after all we might encounter a lifetime of triggers), it’s important to be honest with your emotional readiness before you start seeing people. 

Tell Everyone You Know!

Of course, creating a dating profile is an excellent way to meet people, but don’t underestimate the power of your community. When you’re looking for a potential partner, you don’t want to remain quiet about it. You never know who knows someone else who’s also single and ready to mingle! 

Join New Activities That Interest You

Meeting someone who has similar interests is not only a great way to break the ice, but it’s also an easy way to connect with someone. After all, you already know you have something in common! Who knows? Your future love could be on your co-ed soccer team or at a cooking class! Focus on what you love to do, and you never know who you might bump into. 

While dating does require some effort, whether it’s doing some personal inventory or creating a dating profile or joining a new class, it doesn’t have to feel like work. When you have the right mindset about dating, you can view it as an exciting hobby rather than a stressful career move, and then dating becomes something you look forward to. 

By focusing on being your best self, then you’re sure to attract someone who’s been looking for someone just like you! Sometimes when you’re wondering how to start dating, the best way to do it is just to take the leap and see where it takes you!

Brianne Hogan

Freelance Writer

Brianne is a Canadian freelance writer who’s been writing about dating and relationships longer than any of her relationships. She applies a “do what I say, not do what I do” approach to her articles, and believes you can find Your Person mostly when you aren’t looking. So enjoy your life, and eat lots of cheese (at least that’s her motto). Her byline’s been featured on Thrillist, The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, Elle Canada, Flare, Awesomeness TV, among others.