Dating is stressful, especially if you haven’t been on a real-life date in more than a year. To help you make your comeback to dating as smooth as possible, Hily reached out to three relationship experts. Here’s what they recommend.
Practice makes perfect. So if you are determined to find the one sooner rather than later, go on as many dates as you can. This way, you’ll get used to socializing and will feel more comfortable about hanging out with strangers again.
“Meet friends for dinner, an old acquaintance of your desired sex for a drink, maybe even take a date first with someone you aren’t as interested in,” suggests Alexis Wolfe, NYC dating expert.
Dr. Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, CSU sex and relationship professor, also recommends reaching out to your friends and hanging out with them first if you’re not up to meeting new people yet. True friends will support you and make you feel better about the upcoming date, and friendly outings will help you freshen up your social skills.
The founder of Match Me Cards, Erica Younkin, says you can also start by meeting your friends’ friends or significant others. On the one hand, you’ll be meeting someone new, but on the other hand, you’ll be accompanied by someone you know and trust.
Taking some extra time to prepare can be a true game-changer, especially for people who haven’t dipped a toe into the dating pool for a while. If you’re worried you and your date will have nothing to talk about, ask them about their interests so that you can do some research.
“Are they interested in rock music? Watch a little Youtube video or short documentary about rock music. Knowledge in your date’s topic of interest will give you confidence in having an interesting conversation,” says Dr. Suwinyattichaiporn.
Another option is to have a video date before meeting up. It’s the best way to find out whether a real-life date is a good idea.
“You may get more excited about the date, or you may not even want to go on it anymore — either way, it helps take off that pressure of the “unknown” — which is often the scariest part,” suggests Wolfe.
Younkin has an excellent lifehack for people who wouldn’t mind dating their friends’ friends — let your friends know you’re interested in meeting someone and allow them to set you up. You’ll feel much more at peace knowing you have a mutual acquaintance with your date.
For some people, hyping themselves up can be surprisingly difficult, but it’s surprisingly effective too. Dr. Suwinyattichaiporn recommends incorporating self-affirmations into your daily routine to ensure your self-esteem doesn’t betray you when you need it most. If you have never done it, she suggests complimenting yourself in the mirror by saying things like “You’re an amazing person,” “You’re very interesting,” “You have so much to offer”, etc.
And if you’re worried the nerves will get the best of you, she says you should try journaling before the date.
“Write down things that make you feel a little uncomfortable going on this live date and write an alternative scenario. Imagine that it’s going extremely well. Research has shown that journaling can help people reduce anxiety and in turn boost their confidence in the area they want to work on, in this case, dating!”
Wolfe suggests doing a little solo pre-party by putting on your favorite flattering outfit, pouring yourself a glass of wine, and dancing to your favorite music.
“Play upbeat tunes to get yourself into a more carefree and positive headspace. Dance around your room, put on your favorite outfit, and get excited,” she says.
Experts Speaking: How to Get Mentally Prepared for Your First Live Date After the Pandemic was originally published in Hily on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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