How to Date Successfully As a Woman
Dating can be a serious struggle, especially for women. That's because successful dating isn't just about being asked out on a date, it's about being comfortable, confident, and collected enough to go for what you want. That may sound intimidating, but you can set yourself up for success if you are realistic in your expectations, open to new methods, and honest about what you want. There will always be some rejection that goes along with dating, but you can also meet some great people and have some new adventures if you know what you're doing.
Help with Putting Yourself Out There
Setting Yourself up for Success
Create a list of your needs and wants.Before you start actually dating people, think about what kind of person you want to meet. Ask yourself what you absolutely need in a partner. Once you have your needs down, think about what other qualities you may want, but that aren’t dealbreakers if your partner doesn’t have them. Try to focus on character traits and avoid listing physical features.
- Someone with asthma, for example, may need a partner who is a non-smoker. If you have children from a past relationship, one of your needs may be finding someone who likes kids.
- Use your wants to list out preferences like enjoying cooking or living an active lifestyle. These are things that are important to you, but not an absolute necessity to even consider sitting down with the person.
- Try potential dates different from what you’ve put on your preferred list. Sometimes, you may not realize you want something until you see all the possibilities.
Establish why you want to date.There’s no right or wrong answer to why you want to put yourself out there, but establishing why you want to start dating will guide your overall strategy. If you’re mostly looking to meet new people and try new things, you might take a more casual approach. If you’re ready to settle down, you may take a more serious approach and only date people looking for a serious relationship.
- Be honest with yourself. It’s perfectly fine to want something casual, even if your friends are getting married and having kids. Likewise, if you’re ready to start dating seriously, don’t let a flighty friend talk you out of it. Your approach has to fit your life, not anyone else’s.
Set realistic expectations.Part of what makes dating so scary is that there’s no guaranteed outcome or route to success. That’s why it’s important to have realistic expectations going in. Check your current expectations against reality, and try to remind yourself what is plausible, what is possible, and what just isn’t going to happen.
- Looking for a partner who is tall, gainfully employed, and enjoys weekend hikes as much as you do, for example, is perfectly plausible. Limiting yourself only to a partner that is at least 6 feet (180 cm) tall, has green eyes, brown hair, owns their own bakery, speaks 5 languages, and is a master martial artist in their spare time makes dating success far less likely.
- At the same time, remember that not everyone you like will like you. This is just a fact of dating, and it in no way means you’re a bad person or partner. Expect some rejection, because it happens to everyone.
Set up an online dating profile.Dating websites are an increasingly more common way to meet people. Different websites generally tend to draw different age groups, and some are meant for more serious daters while others are more casual. Some are also free, while others require paid subscriptions. To increase your chances, pick multiple sites that fit your demographic. When you , you’ll typically have to include at least one picture of yourself, and a brief profile to tell potential matches a little bit about yourself.
- Choose photos and information that showcase your interests and best features. Curating exactly what you put out will help you get the best possible matches and leave them intrigued enough to want to meet you in person.
- Sites like eHarmony and OurTime tend to attract older individuals looking for more serious relationships. Sites like Match.com and OkCupid tend to have a younger demographic and a wider range of both casual and more serious daters.
Use a dating app.Just like websites, apps like Tinder and Bumble are growing in popularity as a way to meet new people. Apps generally have profiles similar to those you find on dating websites. On apps, though, you are generally encouraged to have more photos and will typically have a much smaller written bio section.
- Apps allow for easy scrolling through potential matches and fast mutual connections based off of an initial spark. To help that spark, post photos that clearly show who you are, and that illustrate your hobbies and interests.
- Bumble is set up so that women message first after they match with someone. That means that if you're matching with other women, either of you can make the first move. If you're matching with men, you'll need to be the one to start the conversation.
- Dating apps are more common among younger demographics and those seeking more casual relationships. They are rapidly expanding to different age groups, though. They have also led to many serious relationships.
Join singles and adventure clubs to meet others.Many major cities offer group activities like cooking classes, rock climbing, and wine tastings. Not only is it a great place to meet potential dates, it also eases the pressure of 1-on-1 dates. Check online to see if a city near you has a club you can join and events you can attend!
- On top of meeting potential dates, you’ll also make new friends and make bonds over fun activities!
Volunteer with a local organization.Volunteering can be a great way to meet someone since you already know you have at least one thing in common: you care about the same cause. Volunteer with a local organization for a cause you truly care about, and get to know other volunteers. This way you can connect over something that’s important to both of you.
- If you like animals, for example, you could volunteer to walk dogs at your local shelter on Saturday mornings.
- If you care about homelessness in your area, try volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity build near you.
Take a look at your friend’s friends and coworkers.A mutual connection can be a good way to meet a potential match. Talk to a few friends who you trust and let them know that you’re putting yourself out there. Ask them if they have any other friends or coworkers whom they think might match well with you.
- Depending on what you’re comfortable with, you could ask your friend to simply introduce you to a potential match, or you might actually have them coordinate a meetup for coffee or drinks.
Be open to unconventional meetings.There are plenty of services to help you find a date, but sometimes you just can’t predict when you’ll feel a spark. Keep yourself open to the possibility that you could meet someone just about anywhere. Don’t turn down an offer or invitation just because it didn’t come from an online match or someone at a singles bar.
- Try saying hi to the person in line next to you at the coffee shop or bookstore checkout counter. Make small talk with the cutie that you see every day during your lunch break. You never know where a friendly conversation could lead.
Be honest about who you are.You’ll have the most success at dating when you’re honest with both yourself and your potential matches. Let them know early on who you are and what you want. You don’t need to give them every little detail, but it’s also not worth your time to date someone who really wants a family if you don’t want kids.
- In your online dating profile, for example, put in one or two quirky details to set you apart. You could say something like, “I hate cooking, but I’m always up to order Thai food.” These kinds of details will push away some matches who are looking for an idealized dream girl. You may get fewer messages, but the ones you do get will be more sincere.
Going on a First Date
Ask them out.Many women still get nervous about making the first move. This is especially true for women who date men. You don’t have to wait for your date to ask you, though. Both men and women can be flattered by an offer for a date. If you feel a connection and want to explore it, ask them out for yourself.
- You can always wait to be asked if that is your preference. It really comes down to what you are most comfortable with.
Dress for the occasion.You should dress to match your style in an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident. You should also dress for your date's venue. Certain restaurants may have a dress code, for example, or you may be going to a trampoline park where it's totally appropriate to wear leggings and a t-shirt. Wear something that makes you feel good and that will keep you comfortable during your date.
- If you are unsure about your venue's dress code, you can always look online or call them in advance to ask.
- Don't worry about recreating trendy looks. Your date is interested in getting to know you, including your personal style.
Choose a casual, public location to meet.A first date is a chance to get to know one another. Pick a place where you can sit down and talk for a little while. Avoid a first date where you will have to focus most of your attention on something other than your date, like a movie or cooking class.
- Try to avoid activities that commit you to a certain amount of time, like a full dinner. Instead, meet at a bar for drinks or go to a coffee shop. If the date is going well, you can keep it going. If not, you’re not required to stick around until a certain point.
- If this is your first time meeting your date, meet at a well-lit, well attended public place. This can help you feel safer when dealing with a stranger for the first time.
Have a back-and-forth conversation.You and your date are both there to get to know one another. They want to learn about you, and they want you to learn about them. When you talk, have a conversation that moves back and forth between the two of you. It’s perfectly normal to have an awkward rhythm at first, but you should both have a chance to speak and listen.
- To get started, try asking your date some personal but not too personal questions. “What was it like growing up where you’re from?” and “How did you get involved in your current job?” are easy ways to start a conversation.
Be courteous and respectful of your date.Little things like showing up on time and not checking your phone too often can go a long way on a date. Make sure you put a little effort into showing your date that you appreciate the time they took to meet with you, even if you only ever go on that one date.
- Likewise, don’t feel the need to stick around with a date that doesn't show you common courtesy. If they are half an hour late, won’t stop texting, and won’t let you get a word in, don't hesitate to excuse yourself.
- If, for any reason, your date makes you feel unsafe, don't wait for a polite window. Walk out the door as soon as possible. Designate a friend to call if you feel unsafe so that they can stay on the phone or come pick you up. If your date follows you after you excuse yourself, don't hesitate to call your local emergency services.
Moving Your Partnership Forward
Let them know you want to see them again.Rules like waiting 3 days to call are generally completely made up, so don’t bother listening to them. If you’re interested in seeing your date again, let them know and try to informally set up a time to meet again. Send them a quick, casual text the next day, or say something at the end of your date if you really felt a connection.
- Try saying something like, “I had a really great time getting to know you. If you’re up for it, we could try this again next week.”
- Don’t come on too strong. You want to seem interested, but not desperate. Keep your conversation casual. Don't call or text more than 1-2 times if they do not respond.
Avoid putting pressure on your partner to do things your way.Whether you want a relationship or a casual fling, pressuring your partner to do things your way can be a big turn-off. In the early stages, focus on taking things as they come. Enjoy your time together, and don’t worry too much if things are moving too slow or too fast.
- Remember that even someone who wants the same thing as you, such as a committed relationship, may move at a different speed than you.
- Constant pressure to take things faster than you are willing can be an early sign of abusive behaviors. If the person you're dating is pressuring you to commit to something you're not ready for, walk out immediately.
Start to show your whole self.On your first date, you put your best foot forward. As you keep dating, though, you want your partner to get to know all of you. Start introducing them to your quirks and insecurities, and let them get to know who you are as a complete person.
- For example, if you have a guilty pleasure reality TV show you watch every week, invite them over to watch it with you. If they’re an art major and you don’t know much about art, ask them to take you to a museum and teach you.
- Avoid mentioning negatives in your life or what annoys you on the first date. Partners may see that as a red flag right away. Introduce any serious topics over time once you get to know them better. Keep the first date fun!
Spend more time together.As you get more comfortable together, start increasing the amount of time you spend with one another. This can include formal activities like going out on dates, and more casual things like watching a show together or calling each other just to talk.
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