Do every one of your dates end in failure? Maybe they just fizzle out, or you never seem to close on that second date phone call. If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. So many people struggle to healthily manage the trials of dating life. It’s a struggle. Especially when you don’t have the tools to navigate the nuance of connecting on these new (potentially romantic) levels with someone else. Not to despair, though. You can build better and more successful dating behaviors when you shed the unhealthy ones that are holding you back.
The deadly dating behaviors that kill your second chance.
If every one of your dates ends in disaster or failure, then there’s a pretty good chance you’re a part of the equation. That’s not to say you’re not going on bad dates — you are. But there are some common dating mistakes that a lot of us make without really thinking about. Acknowledging these foibles is how we move past them, but that requires honesty. Are you acting distracted? Coming on too hard and fast? Correct these dating no-no’s and you can create new connections that matter with the people you’re interested in.
Putting on airs
No one likes someone who pretends to be something that they’re not. It’s offsetting, and it doesn’t allow us to build a basis of trust. If you put on airs whenever you’re on a date, the other person is going to pick up on that. They will be able to see that you’re not who you say you are, and that’s going to create issues that are difficult to solve from the very first day you’re together.
Asking too many questions
There’s a fine line between asking enough questions to stir the conversation, and so many questions that you seem like a creep. Sure, you want to get to know what makes the other person tick; how they grew up and what their life outlook is. But you don’t need to question every single aspect of their past relationships, or other sensitive topics that are too close to pain for a first or second date. Again, this is a place to keep it light and fun. Leave room for them to question you as well.
Begging for reassurance
Are you someone who constantly asks their dates if they are alright? Or if they are having fun? You may even go so far as to ask your date what they think of your appearance — over-and-over again. This constant reassurance is a major turnoff. No one wants to be constantly responsible for someone else’s insecurity. Doing this can create the idea (in the mind of your date) that you are weak, clingy, and highly codependent.
Are you someone who gets totally distracted on your dates? Maybe you sit on your on the phone more than normal, or answer (unimportant) phone calls when you’re just meeting someone new. These are major turn offs, and send the signal that you’re either uninterested, or just an inattentive (and rude) person and partner in general. Focus on your date and getting to know them.
Being an emotional drain
Negative Nancy’s are not fun to hang out with and they certainly aren’t fun on dates. They are a total drain on our energy, and all that negative thinking has a bad way of rubbing off on our own perception of life. This is the person who is negative about everything. And that can include the weather, the date, and even the appearance of the person they’re hanging out with. Does this sound like you? Being more positive is the only path forward.
Oversharing too quickly
The people that we’re interested in should be trustworthy. That is to say, we should want to share ourselves with them because we know it’s safe. It doesn’t mean we actually open ourselves up like a book from Day 1. If you’re a high-speed over-sharer, then you could turn your dates off before they get started. That’s a lot of pressure to deal with when you’re hammering them with sensitive topics like money, politics, or your desire to have 12 kids in the next 12 months.
Bullying and strong arming
Refusing to take “no” for an answer is not an appealing trait in a partner at any stage in the relationship. This happens whenever you try to force a second date, or even insist on walking your date home (after they have repeatedly told you no). It’s also a major red flag and a potential sign of a controlling person who insists on getting their way over others. If someone tells you they don’t want something or don’t want to do something — respect them.
Taking over conversation
Do you monopolize conversation a lot when you’re out on a date. This can happen a lot when we’re nervous, but it’s a deadly dating behavior that kills so many new connections in the water. When you only talk about yourself, or spend all your time talking over the other person, it can make them feel as though you don’t really value or respect them as a human being.
Are you a speed dater of Ramona Singer proportions? Maybe you go out on one date, but immediately schedule another date right after. While this may seem effective for you, it’s hurtful to the people you’re spending time with. This is especially true if you tell one date you are leaving for another. Again, this creates the idea you don’t respect them, you’re not that interested, and you don’t really value their time and connection.
Taking up all the space
Some people take up a lot of space. There’s no intention behind, they just do. Their personalities are big, and their egos are better. Along the way, they were allowed to lean into patterns that affirmed this behavior. People swallow space on their dates when they try to force the flow of the date. They will monopolize the conversation, tell the other person what to order, and even order for them. They may also criticize what the other person eats and tell them (in any way) how to feel or act on the date.
How to improve your dating skills (and success rate).
Do you want to move beyond the annoying, irritating, or self-sabotaging behaviors above? Then you have to take steps to make yourself the ideal date — not just for your potential partners, but for your own peace of mind. Doing this requires you to change the way you see dating, though, and that you also focus on what you really need (and your sense of self). Clarify what you’re interested in before you commit to dates and remember to keep it light and fun.
1. Shift the way you see dating
You must have the right mindset about dating to even make it remotely successful for you. That means you have to stop seeing each date as the end-all and be-all of your life. That new person doesn’t have to become your husband or the father of their children. Could they? Maybe one day. But the important thing now is that you stop focusing on the future and get clear in the present. Who are they right now? Your job is to find out.
It’s important that you change your entire perception of dating. Not every single date must come with the intention of a future or marriage. Dating can be casual, and it can be strictly for fun on a variety of levels. It’s all about intention and knowing what your path in this life is. Taking the pressure off the act of dating, though, makes it a much easier mountain to climb.
Shed those expectations and standards society has forced that on you. You don’t have to be married by a certain age. There’s no validation waiting for you on the other side of a romantic relationship, or some magic cure that will somehow make you better and more loveable. Dating is simply spending time with people you find interesting. That’s it. And when you come to understand that on a true and deep level, it changes your entire approach to the process.
2. Focus on boosting self-esteem
Confidence is key to make yourself both an attractive prospect and secure and successful dater. People can tell when you’re insecure, and that can make them feel uncertain about you. “If this person doesn’t even like themselves, why should I like them?” To be attractive to someone, you must think you’re attractive. Genuinely. You need to love yourself and know how much you really have to offer in life and in love, too.
Increase your self-esteem and work on boosting your self-esteem before you dive into the dating world. You should have a firm sense of who you are and what you want before you invest time and emotional energy (even on a superficial level) into someone new. Know yourself. Love yourself. And, more than that, love who you are as a partner and a friend.
The best way to kick-start this process is by doing things you’re good at. Stop thinking about relationships for a moment and focus on yourself. Get out into the world and experience the things that fill you up with lightness and passion. Meet new people, make new friends. Go different places and do things entirely on your own. Fill yourself up from the inside out so you don’t go chasing partners who want to take advantage of you. Stop seeking constant reassurances on your dates by giving it to yourself with a base of self-esteem.
3. Be honest about what you really want
Before you go leaping off the high dive into the deep end, you need to have a general idea of what actually matters to you. What are you looking for out of the dating process? Do you just want to have some casual fun? Are you looking to connect with someone on a more serious level? There’s no right or wrong answer. We all have different needs and wants, and they are all valid. Getting clarity is so that you can communicate your needs and get them, without hurting others and yourself in the process.
Clarify what you want before ever agreeing to that first date. Sure, you may not have the full picture of your ideal partner yet — but you have a general idea. Stick to your known needs, and don’t go chasing dates with people you know are a poor fit. This might be someone who makes you feel insecure, or someone you just don’t really connect with.
Take some time visualizing your ideal date experience and your ideal partner. What do you enjoy doing when you meet someone new? What puts your mind at ease? This clarification can save us a lot of time and a lot of frustration. Not every date is worth taking. That’s simply a fact. Getting the right person isn’t a game of playing all the numbers. You’ve got to play the right numbers. So, be honest about what you want and don’t want at this stage in your dating journey, and don’t settle for potential partners you know are widely outside of these needs.
4. Take the ups with the downs
Look, the fact of the matter is that there’s no way to create a 100% successful and enjoyable dating experience. That’s not how life works — and it never has. Sometimes our dates don’t work out. What starts off being an attractive prospect can end up being totally unappealing. You must be open to the bad dates as much as you are to the excellent dates. But the real trick is doing this without intentionally settling or getting into a dangerous “numbers game”.
Embrace the fact that you’re going to have as many bad dates as wonderful dates. In some ways, that adage really is true. You’ve got to kiss some frogs to get to the top-tier partner at the end of the road. Don’t avoid them. Don’t catastrophize and assume that you’ll never find love because a couple of dates are awkward or wrong.
Look at the bad dates as a learning experience. These individuals may not have what you want or need, but they are a mirror through which you can see the reflection of your ideal relationship. In their flaws or shortcomings, see what you’re not willing to settle for, or what you can’t commit to. There’s no use in thinking you can “fix” them or morph them into the partner that you want. Take the awful date as a chance to learn and move on. Focus on the next spark and the potential fire that could grow from (if fostered correctly).
Putting it all together…
Do you keep flailing around in dating? Are you struggling to find a suitable date amid all the nerves and the misunderstandings? If so, you’re not alone. There are many out there who have dating beliefs and behaviors that hold them back from finding love and connection. You’ve got to stop looking for reassurance and start believing in your ability to bond deeply with others. Dating isn’t a magical or even a scary process. It’s the opening of a door, and that’s a possibility we should all look forward to.
Change your entire perception of dating so that you can change your approach. It’s nothing more than a meeting of someone new. You do that every day. Drop the heavy expectations and see it as a normal part of life. Increase your self-esteem and go into your new dating life with confidence in who you are as a person. Clarify what you want, and clarify any accompanying needs, values, and beliefs. Out partners, at any stage, should align with these things and complement them. Anything else is a waste of time. Know that bad dates will still happen, even if you get it all “right”. That’s okay. Embrace the good and the bad and keep your heart open. The right person will still be waiting for you on the other side.