The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learned About Dating at 25
For someone who has been on almost 50 first dates, I have a hell lot to say about “dating” in 2017. I’m always surprised when I come across people who tell me they’ve only been on a few dates their whole life (and they are around the same age as me: 25). This is either because they have been with their high school sweetheart for the past 5-10 years, they are legit scared to go on dates, or because they are just really fucking ugly. HA, #JustKidding. No, it’s because in 2017 – we live in the era of the fuckboy, the era of Netflix & Chill, the era of “wyd?” texts at 3 a.m, the era of “sliding into her DM’s.” Have you ever seen any of those old movies from the 50’s or 60’s? There’s this movie (that used to be my mom’s favorite) called Bye, Bye Birdie. In the movie, the high school boy has a big crush on this beautiful girl. What does he do? He gives her a pin and asks if she “will go steady” with him. IMAGINE IF A GUY DID THAT IN 2017?!
For the past 4-5 years that I have been single, I have learned a lotttttttttttttttt. I have a lot of friends that were in 3-5 year relationships, then they break up, and now have no idea how to “be single” or “date” again. What do they do? They come to me and ask what to talk about, what to wear, where to go, etc. Since I have been single for what seems like an eternity, have been on countless dates when males of all ages, and have read several books on dating, I figured that I can provide some insight on what it’s like dating in this very baffling era.
1). The chase is real, but you don’t have to ‘play games.’ Listen, I hate when people told me, “you have to play hard to get.” It’s one of the stupid dating cliches you seem to hear from everyone. The thing is, you don’t have to “play” hard to get, you just have to have your priorities straight. When we start to like someone and get excited about a possible future with them, we drop everything and make time to see them. We forget about all the other shit we prioritize like going to the gym, meeting our friend for coffee, finishing that blog piece, etc. When we get that, “Hey what are you doing tonight?” text, we tend to wash away any plans we had previously made, and make room to see this person. I have been this person for most of my dating life. Whenever a guy asked to hangout but I had plans to workout, I would tell them, “Hey! Not doing anything tonight. What’s up?” Or how about when they ask, “What are you up to this weekend?” and you respond with, “Nothing, how about you?” You’re making yourself seem like you have nothing going on in your life except making yourself available to see him/her, which translates as “easy.” It’s easy to make plans with you, it’s easy to hang out with you, it’s easy to win you over. We don’t want to be easy. I don’t know about you, but I am attracted to a guy who has shit to do — AKA, not laying around all weekend doing nothing. So when people say, “play hard to get” – don’t think of it as playing games with someone. Think of it as setting your priorities straight and not dropping other important things in your life just for this one person. This other person will likely respect that you are busy and have a lot going on – which will make you appear more attractive since it shows that they have to put in some work to win over time in your jam-packed life.
2). Chivalry is mostly dead, but not completely. What constitutes a date for you? For me, it’s dinner, a movie, going to a museum, meeting for drinks, etc. I have (swear to God) met some girls who told me that they went on a date, and when they started to explain the details about it, it was really just them going over to a guy’s apartment and watching a movie on their couch. NOOOOOO. This is NOT A DATE. There is not one person to blame here, it’s everyone. It’s that the guy probably heard his friends getting away with this pathetic attempt at winning over a girl’s emotions, *they succeeded* – and so the guy gives it a go himself – and he succeeds, too! The more we validate this as an acceptable form of “hanging out,” the more it will happen. Why would a guy pay for your dinner when he can get away with just inviting you over – not spending any money, not having to dress up, not having to get in a car and drive somewhere, etc. It makes sense honestly, so the guy is not the only one to blame. However, I have been on many dates where the guy still goes “old school” as I like to call it. For the most part, a lot of the dates I have been on have been meeting for drinks and dinner. Even if I offer, the guy has almost always paid the bill. The most chivalrous date I have been on was when a guy drove from Manhattan to Philadelphia to take me out. He did the following: came to my door when he was at my apartment (instead of texting “here” like most do), opened the car door for me, made me walk on the inside of the street (which I didn’t even know was a ‘thing’ at the time), paid for my dinner and drinks, and walked me to my door when the night was over. Whether or not this was genuine or just for show, the guy actually put in effort – which is almost obsolete in this day and age. I am telling you that there are still guys out there who will do these things for you, you just need to stop settling for the ones who won’t. #NetflixAndChillIsCoolButNotOnDatesOneTwoOrThree
3). Dating is like going on interviews, just go, no matter how much you don’t want to. I bet you have been asked out by a guy who you just felt, “meh” about. He asked you out, and you said yes, but then when it comes to the day before the date, you wanna bail and cancel. DON’T. Unless you have a legit conflict (or he’s your friend’s ex-boyfriend #GirlCode), just go on the date. Dating is like going on interviews because the more experience, the better. You are obviously not going to get every job you interview for, but with more interview experience, the more comfortable you feel. Practice makes perfect, and when you go on your first few interviews, you feel nervous as fuck. But after 8-10 interviews, it’s not as threatening as it was before. Same thing with dating. You’ll find yourself less jittery before the date and more of your comfortable normal self. The second point is another famous cliche, “never judge a book by it’s cover.” Just because you’re not crazy about this guy from the bat, doesn’t mean you know his full story. Give it a chance, you never know who will surprise you. What’s the worst that can happen? You don’t get the job? You don’t like the guy? Cool, then you don’t have to see them again. You don’t have to live with the regret of what could have happened.
4). Live in the moment. Live in the moment. Live in the moment. *The most important piece of advice I have absorbed over the past year. My therapist once told me this, and I said, “How though?” Trust me, it takes time to train your mind to think this way. Females are notorious for thinking about the future: is he the marrying type? I wonder how many kids he wants? Is his job stable for our future? – Whenever we have a good date, we start painting pictures in our head with this person – don’t lie, I know you’ve done it before. This is normal, especially females, since society likes to put these strict timelines in front of us: don’t get married after 35, don’t get married before 25, if you’re 40, it’s too late – blah, blah, blah. Females tend to overthink everything, hence why we have been labeled “crazy” by the male population. We overthink things because we are insecure – plain and simple. All of this thinking about the future and questioning this stranger’s potential with us makes us fucking miserable. Because you know what? Half the time we start getting excited about the “future” or thinking ahead, it never actually happens – and then we start reminiscing about the past and questioning what we did wrong. Just live in the moment, enjoy the date – if he texts you after, awesome. If he doesn’t, cool. His loss. Continue to build up your confidence in the “now” so you do not have to question your own actions by overthinking.
5). You can blame the dude, but you can’t blame the dude for everything. Listen, I am the first one to admit that guys are assholes. I mean, I have a section on here that talks about how guys are “fuckboys.” However, we have to take some responsibility, ladies. You see so many memes and stories online of females blaming dudes for EVERYTHING in the relationship. I look back on my 2 serious relationships, and in the moment, I thought I was an angel, lol. I look back now and say, “Gosh, I was not such a great girlfriend.” I look back and realize a lot of the things I said or did, and notice the lack of clarity in my judgment or communication. Look at the quote, “Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.” Just because I made mistakes, doesn’t mean I failed at being a girlfriend. I tell everyone that I learned SO much in both of my relationships, like… SO much that I think I would be an awesome girlfriend right now, lol. My last boyfriend cheated on me, but I would never say that the relationship ending was “his fault.” I made a ton of mistakes in that relationship, essentially because I was not mentally healthy for one. AM I condoning his cheating? No. But it’s not the only reason the relationship failed. Guys are assholes, ladies, but we have to take ownership of our screw-ups, too.
6). Age is just a number. I’m not gonna lie, I have my ‘dating age range’ of guys who I would consider date-able, however for me, this is more just about having a partner that is healthy and young to still want to have kids and/or able to. So being 25, my [ideal] age range is 25-35. Yet, this doesn’t mean that I will not accept a date with a 24 year old who is mature, successful, and has the same goals as I do. I hear so many people say they won’t date someone younger than them, or they won’t date someone older than 30. Why? I have met 21 year old’s more mature than 27 year olds I have dated. A lot of people say that ‘boys never grow up’ or that some don’t become a man until they become a dad. I agree with the fact that males are typically more immature than females, but just because a guy is a dad, does not mean he is necessarily more mature than a guy who does not have kids. If you are someone who is somewhat ‘ageist‘ – chill, most of the time we cannot even guess people’s ages correctly. Most people think I am 21-22. So just give everyone a chance, or maybe don’t even ask about their age in the first place.
7). Most of us are not even ready to date, yet, we do. Was I ready to date my ex-boyfriend in 2012? Nope. Did I anyway? Yes. However at the time, I had no idea how insecure and emotionally unstable I was. Like I said before, I look back now and realize how many serious mistakes I made in the past when it comes to dating. Unfortunately, a lot of people are afraid of talking about their weaknesses or insecurities. Another handful of people are living in denial, so they don’t even believe they have any flaws in their persona (the ones who blame their partner for everything). Take a look at some statistics here and here about women/girls and their levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. When we lack confidence and self-awareness, our perception is essentially distorted. We are overly sensitive and take things too personally. We lash out on others (our partners usually) because we are battling with ourselves internally. How many relationships have you heard of or seen where neither person trusts each other? Insecurity. Accused of cheating? Insecurity. Can’t be friends with the opposite sex? Insecurity. When we jump into relationships and do not have strong/stable mental and emotional health, we are bound to run into layers of obstacles and battles with our partner. Therefore, be honest with yourself: do you like the way you look in the mirror? can you rattle off 10 things you love about yourself without thinking? can you be alone for a period of time without feeling lonely? do you care about how many likes or followers you have on Instagram? If you have any hesitance about those questions, it’s probably not the best time to get into a relationship. *You have to love yourself before anyone can love you* #Cliche #IKnow #ButSoTrue
8). Fuck the movies. Whether movies are based on a true story or completely fictional, they.are.movies. Actors are “performers,” they are not giving you the 100% true reality of an occurrence. They practice how to be dramatic in order to elicit an emotion/reaction from the audience. Although some of these scenes you see in movies and on TV may appear realistic, just take it with a grain of salt. Stop comparing your love life to Hollywood’s portrayal of it, it’s no way to live your life in your twenties.
9). You can text him first and you won’t die. What is the most popular ‘dating rule’ you have ever heard of? For me, it’s “don’t text the guy first.” For the most part, I have followed this rule. According to a favorite Millennial movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You,” if someone wants to see you, they will make it happen – right? If a guy wants to date you, then he’ll ask you out. Obviously from these statements, we are lead to believe that we should just wait to see if he texts us. While I don’t necessarily think this is terrible advice, I believe that if you really had a good vibe or feeling from the date, you can reach out to him first. Since last time I checked, most humans aren’t mind-readers. What’s the worst that can happen? He doesn’t answer? He says no? Okay, so move on with your life, lol. It’s that simple. I feel like some females think texting the guy first is like committing social suicide – as if everyone will think you are some desperate sad girl. The last guy I was dating, I met him out with my friends on a Wednesday night. We had an awesome time, he gave me his number, and after 1 week of not hearing from him, I texted him the next Wednesday and asked to meet for drinks. He said yes. When I asked him in person why he didn’t text me, he said, “I was waiting till Thursday to text you.” Lol. So honestly, don’t get worked up. Sometimes they are just as nervous or skeptical about what to say as we are (which my guy friends have admitted to me as well). Give it some time after the first date. If you really felt something, text him, and if he is busy or doesn’t text back… #OnToTheNextOne.
10). Stay off his social media unless you want to drive yourself insane. Guys do it, but girls do it better: social stalking. Guys, most of us have already [cyberly] met your 1st cousins and memorized the name of the hotel you stayed at during your vacation to Cancun last summer by the 2nd date. Why? Because we want to know MORE. We want to know your history, what girl you dated in the past, what do you do on the weekend, are you a selfie-dude? etc. However, most of the time we are looking for 1 thing: the ex-girlfriend. We find the ex-girlfriend, then read the captions he posted about her, go to her profile, judge her hair, makeup, body, & clothes, and then live in misery comparing ourselves to her. We’ve all done it, and I even know some girls who have created a fake Facebook just for stalking purposes. Not.Kidding. While it’s almost like second nature to instantly check out his social media pages, try to refrain yourself from doing it, I don’t know, less than twice a day? Less than 5 times a day? One of my favorite quotes is, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” We naturally compare ourselves without even thinking about it – it’s how we are wired [especially] in the age of social media. Since like 80-90% of females have admitted to feeling insecure, looking at his ex-girlfriend(s) will most likely just strengthen your self-doubts – leading to fights, arguments, lack of trust, loyalty, etc.
Last words… This is my personal take on Dating in 2017. Summary? It kind of sucks. With social media so prevalent and invasive, it’s easy to drive yourself completely insane before, during, and after a date. Instead of phone calls, people text you, DM you, or Snapchat you – nothing seems special anymore. There are times when I have called a guy and they picked up the phone confused, like if something was terribly wrong. I doubt these current behaviors and standards of ‘society’ will actually change, so it’s all about who you choose to spend time around and what you will and will not tolerate/accept. It’s up to you to accept or deny a “netflix and chill” hangout, it’s up to you to text him first or not, it’s up to you to work on your self-esteem before going out in the dating battlefield. Most people like to just blame “fuckboys” or blame where the met someone, or the shitty day they were having that affected their mood/vibe. You are in control of all your problems, and you are in control of what you define as a ‘problem.’ This is all subjective. You can choose to answer a 3 a.m. “wyd” text, or call him out on his shit. Standards. Standards. Standards.
In order to adopt a successful dating life (I don’t mean getting a boyfriend after the first date – I mean meeting high quality people, networking, feeling good about yourself, enjoying new experiences, etc), you have to believe in your own awesomeness and set standards. Don’t let the fuckboy get the best of you 😉