Getting back into the dating game can be intimidating. Between feeling awkward, not knowing how the other person feels, and the all-around stress of the vulnerability you put yourself through by dating, it can all be enough to send someone running for the hills and wanting to give up on dating all together. If this post is already stressing you out, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief because I have some good news: dating doesn’t have to be like that. Dating can be fun and enjoyable regardless of the other less enjoyable factors. Here are a few tips that may make navigating the dating life a little bit easier for you.

Know Yourself First. This tip should be your first priority, as it will help lay the foundation you need to successfully date and feel great about it. Before you even consider going on a date with anybody, you need to take some time to figure out where you are at this point in your life and where you want to go from here. What are some of the most important aspects of your life that you want to respect while dating? This can be a number of things, such as your career, whether or not you have kids, your religion, your overall morals, or whatever other factors are in your life that help to make you who you are. Once you get a sense of who you are and where you are at this point in life, consider what you want out of the future. It is helpful to think of the future from a few different perspectives, such as where you want to be a year from now, five years from now, ten, twenty, or however far ahead best suits your situation. By knowing where you are now and where you want to be in the future, that will help you rule out potential dating partners that would simply never work, saving you the headache of going on numerous dates with someone just to find out that you two simply aren’t compatible long term due to differing values that you didn’t even realize you had. Other than thinking about your future, it is also important that you think about your values and what you want out of dating. By thinking about it beforehand, you’re eliminating the stress of being in a situation where you’re not sure if you’re staying true to who you are

Accept that it is Going to be Awkward Sometimes. Awkwardness is sometimes unavoidable, however there are some things you can do to avoid potential awkwardness while dating. As stated in the last tip, it is important to know yourself and believe it or not, that can help avoid awkwardness in some situations. By knowing who you are, what you value, and where you want to be in the future, you can rule out some of the awkwardness of feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing at all while on a date. You will have an idea of what you want and that’ll make it easier to not get caught up in the fuzziness of not knowing anything about what the future holds. That will also make you feel less as if you have to impress that person, and more so that they have to be the one to impress you enough to fit into your tentative life plan. As for direct awkward moments while on a date, keep in mind that barely anyone is in their comfort zone during a date and that it is only as awkward as you make it. Take a breath, remember who you are, and try to have some fun with dating. It doesn’t have to be forced and uncomfortable if you let it be fun and exciting!

Be Open to Try Something New (within reason). As stated in the last tip, barely anyone is in their comfort zone during a date. It can be stressful to put yourself through the confusion of dating. Because of the uniqueness of the situation while on a date, this is the perfect time to mix things up and try something new. Go to a cool place you’ve never been, try a food you’ve never tried, do something that allows you to open up and have fun. There aren’t many opportunities to do these things if you live a busy life, so why not make dating into something fun by spicing it up compared to your normal life? This will also make you more willing to open up and truly get to know this person and show them what you are like. By doing something neither of you have ever done, you can level the playing field and making it easier to feel like you don’t have to know exactly what you’re doing because the other person won’t, either. With this being said, make sure that whatever you are doing lines up with your values and is challenging you but not making you overtly uncomfortable. It’s important to stay at a happy medium between trying new things and staying true to yourself.

Bottom Line

Getting into the dating scene doesn’t have to be torturous. It can be enjoyable because you have the opportunity to do something fun with someone that you want to get to know! Relax, follow these tips, and try to enjoy the ride. Don’t stress about finding “the one” immediately, if a date is not successful just have patience and know that you’re one step closer to finding your soulmate. Enjoy these times, and let life happen as it is supposed to. Have faith in yourself and have fun!