Whether it’s social anxiety, being shy, or just having bad date after bad date, people hate dating for a variety of reasons. But if you eventually want a long-term relationship and marriage, you have to date to find the right person. So what do you do if you hate dating but still really want to meet someone?
Take a breath, be brave, and follow these 13 tips to start enjoying yourself again:
1. Figure out what irks you so much
Is it the way you’re dating that bugs you? Maybe it’s the dating apps, set ups, or hanging out at bars you’re sick of? Shula Melamed, a relationship and wellness coach, advises you to take a look at what about dating you hate and focus on eliminating that or changing how you feel about it. “Really take a look at what’s making the process difficult for you in order to see how you can flip the narrative or innovate on how you have been meeting people,” she advises.
2. Date in spurts.
For example, sign up for a dating app for three months, then take a month or two off from all dating, suggests licensed therapist, Dr. Tracey Phillips. “Use that time to self-reflect on what you desire in a partner and what you want to achieve in life. When you begin to miss the fun of meeting new people, then it will be time to start dating again.”
3. Establish a process.
“For first meet ups, arrange a mid-day coffee or ice cream date. That way, if there’s no potential, you can get out quick,” says Phillips. This is the perfect solution for those who fear long dragged-out dates with someone you really aren’t interested in.
4. Pump yourself up.
Remind yourself of your great qualities and that it can take a lot of time to meet someone perfect for you. “Going into the dating world knowing that you have a lot to offer can really buffer some of the potential effects of dates not working out and can help you not take bad dating experiences personally,” advises Katie Krimer, a licensed therapist.
5. Shift your dating mindset.
If you think you’ll only get bad dates, then you probably will. “Don’t look at it as a success or failure,, but rather as an adventure you’re taking on. Remind yourself that so many of us are in the same boat and are having similar frustrations as you,” says Krimer.
6. Be upfront.
Once you know what you’re looking for, don’t waste time with people who make you hate dating. “Someone who’s secure and emotionally mature will be open to hearing about your readiness for a relationship, and you should feel safe expressing at least a general sense of what you want from a dating experience,” says Krimer.
7. Find a new hobby.
This can really help you enjoy dating more. “Maybe it’s time to train for a marathon, start painting or finding some other pleasure in life besides what dates you have lined up,” says Stef Safran,s a professional matchmaker and owner of Stef and the City. “Finding some relaxation and inner peace can help you feel better when you do go out there.”
8. Get more single friends.
You need adult friends that can understand what you’re going through so you don’t always have to the third wheel or someone else’s wing girl. “Sometimes connecting with new people can put your perspective about dating in a better light,” says Safran.
9. Stop equating dating with sex.
It’s easy to feel like dating includes “hooking up” with someone for casual sex. And that can put a lot of pressure on you and the process of dating. “Instead, date for the fun of meeting new people. If the pressure of having sex is removed, you can relax and enjoy the process,” says Phillips.
10. Write about it.
Blogging or keeping a journal about you dating life can really help lighten the experience. “Make them funny and share the stories with your friends over a bottle of wine,” says Phillips. And who knows, you might just turn that bad-date journal into a fun future novel.
11. Don’t take rejections personally.
Go into each date with an open mind and no attachments to the outcome. “Be present and if it’s not a match, it isn’t a sign from the universe that you’re destined to be alone forever,” says Melamed. Understand that if you thought you had chemistry with someone but they don’t text you back, it’s probably a good thing.
12. Don’t stay longer than you feel.
Melamed says that a lot of people who are meeting people on apps make the mistake of spending multiple hours with lackluster dates. “It’s ok to have one drink and politely part ways. You don’t owe any more of your time then you’re willing to give.”
13. Realize what dating really is.
Phillips says at the end of the day, it’s important to recognize the reality that you don’t have to marry everyone you date, but you will have to date the person you marry. “If your goal is to eventually marry, see dating for what it is.” A way to get you where you want to go.
If you hate dating, don’t worry. We all do at some point. But there are ways to approach dating that takes the pressure off and makes it feel like less work or something you have to do, and more like an experience you’re embracing. Be open minded, laugh at yourself and others, and follow these tips to turn things around. You may just start enjoying yourself again.