Tips for Getting Back Online Dating

A woman on an online dating app at a coffee shop, smiling while on her phone.

Most people have at least a few bad online dating experiences. Maybe you were outright catfished or you were expecting Mr. Wonderful to have a full head of hair based on his photos, but those and his built muscles were circa 2009, not 2019. Maybe you just didn’t find what you were looking for and decided to take an all-out break. Whatever the reason, getting back on the dating horse, can fill you with anxiety and dread.

You might find yourself getting sweaty just thinking about who you’ll match with, having to wait to see who is going to message who first, or trying to think of anything less boring to say as an online dating opener than, “Hi! I like your photos!” And I haven’t even mentioned the actual date part.

But online dating remains the easiest way to meet people in 2019. There are so many apps and sites available, and eventually most people turn to dating apps to meet someone special. If you’re attempting online dating again, know that you’re not alone and it’s okay! Everyone deserves to find love and you don’t deserve it any less than anyone else.

It’s important that you start on the right foot. If you’re feeling bitter, resentful, or angry from your last relationship or experience dating or online dating, you might want to process those feelings before trying again. You won’t want to carry those feelings into your next relationship or interactions with people.

If you’re feeling open and willing to find love, even if it might take a little footwork, here are some tips to make your next experience with online dating the best:

Go on a lot of dates.
Terrible dates happen, and this becomes obvious when you go on a lot. But it doesn’t bug you so much. If you go on one date a month, that one date will have a lot more weight and influence than if you went on one date every weekend.

It will seriously bum you out if that one date was terrible. But if you know it won’t be your only date this month because you’re already planning on going on several, then you know that you can just as easily forget how bad that one was and move on to being excited about your next one.

2. Don’t waste your time.
Up your screening game. Make sure, first, that you know what you’re looking for, make sure they’re looking for the same, and be clear up front.

It may sound shallow, but it can also help if you choose to meet your dates at locations that aren’t super out of your way. Think about choosing public places near where you live or work, so if the date ends up being phenomenally terrible, you only waste an hour plus maybe fifteen minutes getting there and back.

If you’re putting in a huge time investment upfront with a long commute, then it’s going to make you resentful if it does end up being mediocre or less so. It’s easier to manage your expectations if you aren’t putting in a huge commitment until you know it’s something worth it. Know that these dates are just dates, opportunities to get to know a new person and hopefully have some fun yourself.

3. Start small.
There’s nothing wrong with having a coffee date or just meeting for an adult beverage to start with. Dates don’t have to be a big ordeal, and if you’re planning on tackling many in a certain length of time, it takes away some of the stress or expectation around them to start small. You can get to know each other in a casual setting, and leave dinners or more involved dates for people you actually see something with.

4. Be yourself.
If they’re the one, they’ll like you for you. If they’re not, you don’t want to bother trying to impress them anyway. Show up wearing clothes you like and feel good in. Agree to do things that you want to do, even if it may be a little out of your comfort zone.

The thing about scheduling a lot of dates when you’re trying online dating again is that you develop those small-talk and meeting new people muscles again. You get to practice talking about yourself in a concise manner and learning how fun it is to get to know someone new again. Knowing that you’re meeting new people and that it can be okay to just meet new people instead looking specifically for your soulmate puts less pressure on each new match.

Online dating can be fun, but it can have its shares of ups and downs, as you very well know. You just need to work to make it fun, manage your expectations, be clear about what you want, be yourself, and plan on many dates, so you aren’t stuck in a slump even if you get a couple of bad dates in a row. With an open mind and some luck, it may very well work out for you this time. If not, you at least have plenty of new stories to share with friends!

Tara Mae Mulroy

Tara Mae Mulroy is a freelance writer and blogger who focuses on relationships. She is a regular contributor on Medium as well as the author of the full-length poetry collection, Swallow, and other writing found at taramaemulroy.com.

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