dating in your 20s

When Your Date Should Meet Your Friends

Your friends are able to give you an unbiased opinion about your potential significant other since the romantic feelings aren’t skewing their perspective. Friends know you well and know you deserve to be treated well. And it’s always great to have validation of your judgment in life partners by your friends support of the relationship. But when is the right time to introduce a potential partner to your friend group?

Not too Soon

It was important to me when meeting someone to establish a bond between us and make sure we are strong in our feelings for each other before he would meet any friends or family. I didn’t want to constantly bring a parade of new guys around and have my friends start thinking it was just another flavor of the week that would burn out in no time. For me it was serious and the next step in our relationship before becoming official. Having the support of those close to me was important. Since you’re wondering if it’s too early for them to meet, I’ll assume you don’t bring just any girl around your circle of friends.

Not too Late

The upside in letting your friends meet the person you’ve been seeing early on is that they can help you steer clear before it’s too late and you become too attached. You might be blinded by infatuation but your friends could pull you out of a disastrous relationship before you’ve invested too much time and effort. Has she mentioned wanting to meet your friends soon? If so, waiting much longer could start to make her feel unsure about your feelings for her. She may wonder if you’re keeping her a secret or that she’s the only one with strong feelings in this relationship.

Mixed Signals  

As I mentioned, meeting friends and family means a lot to me because it shows me they want to bring me into their world and have me form bonds with those close to them. If you’re planning on keeping the relationship casual it might be confusing to both your partner and friends to have them hanging out together regularly. For me personally, it would have me believing things were heading in a more serious direction and moving onto a different page then they are. You also might want to think about the fact that one of your friends might be start to like her and continue to bring her around even after your casual thing is over.

New Experience

It’s a good experience to see your potential SO in a social setting to see if they act different than when just alone with you. You can see if they’re making the effort to get to know your friends, if they’re outgoing or a sloppy drunk. Your friends can also see the two of you interact together and see if you pair up well as a team. 

There are many benefits to having your friends and love interest meet. Before doing so you need to decide what kind of future you think this relationship has, think about if you want to intertwine the two parts of your life, and also talk to her about how she would feel about meeting your friends. Once you know the answer to these three questions you’ll know what to do!

First Date Conversation Topics

You want to keep a first date light and although talking about tv show and movies may seem silly you can learn a lot about a person’s immaturity level and sense of humor by what they put on their screens. You can also find common ground by talking about shows, actors, and current events in entertainment. 

Family is usually a common topic as mentioned in the question, but friends are also important to talk about. You want to know the type of people your date surrounds themselves with. You can also learn the role they play in a friend group such as jokester, planner, or the one everyone goes to for advice; its good to see how other people view and value your date and you might appreciate them more by learning so. 

When you start talking about friends you also learn what your date does with their free time. Do they go to bars every weekend, trips to a nearby city or concert, or a laidback game night at a friend’s house? This helps you figure out if you like to do the same things and also gives you ideas for future dates if you do.

A common topic for early dates is talking about travels, they’re exciting and unique from day to day life. There seems to be a trend for millenials to be travel bugs so daters can usually find common ground there. 

Topics to stay away from:

Past Relationships. Don’t be the idiot who talks about his ex and all the things he hated about her or the rude girl who talks about all the other dates she had this month. You both know you’ve dated other people but they aren’t here so stop bringing them up!

Dating Pet Peeves. If you start ranting about things you hate about dating profiles you’re going to seem picky and negative. You can also potentially insult your date. Sure, you won’t want to date someone who annoys you but you should find out the reasoning of why something might be on their profile before ruling them out. 

Dark Past and Politics. It would of course be important for your significant other to learn about past experiences that have shaped you even if they aren’t happy memories but the first date is not the time to go into details. Controversial topics like politics and religion are also conversations that should be saved for a later date once you already feel comfortable with someone. Remember, light and fun is the name of the game in the beginning! 

Online Dating Dos and Don’ts

Times have definitely changed when it comes to dating and it’s time these dating rules get an update. No more waiting three days to call nor footing every bill to the male. We’re strong, independent women who no longer need a man…still we want him.

In a previous post, I briefly mentioned this guy who would talk about his other dates on our dates. That’s rule number 1, when using dating apps we all know you’re in different stages of talking and dating multiple people. You’re doing it, I’m doing it, he’s doing it, the trick is to not be the jerk who talks about it. You don’t impress me by telling me about the obsessive girl texting you during our date and I definitely don’t care about the girl you saw last night when I was busy. Instead, I’ll think you’re more interested in those girls or maybe just a guy who’s so starved for attention he needs it from multiple girls.

But with everyone going on multiple dates, you need to make an impression and establish a connection quicker. In the past you might keep the conversation light so you don’t rock the boat too early, but now we tend to dive into important topics within the first couple of dates. There are so many profiles and options with online dating, you need to know if this person is a good match for you ASAP so you don’t waste your time and miss out on a better fish.

Before the age of texting, suitors used to wait three days to call, I guess in order to not seem too desperate? Now you can text the same night the date ends or the next day, saying how you enjoyed yourself, thanking them for a fun evening, and hoping to see them again. It’s no longer seen as desperate, in fact if you wait longer than the next day they’re more likely to think you’re not interested and probably move on.

I wrote about when the right time for a first kiss is but with the way modern dating is going now, people are doing a lot more than just kissing on the first date. Some people are just looking for something casual and there are plenty of long-term couples that say they started out just hooking up so there’s really no rule now on how soon is too soon. As long as you’re both being honest about what you’re looking for, then go all the way on the first day and have fun!

The etiquette of a man always paying for dates started long ago when it made much more sense in society. Society has been changing though with more women in the workforce and the wage gap closing in. The bill doesn’t always have to fall on the man now, plenty of couples go dutchor figure out other ways to share equal weight of the finances.

Let me know of some more modern dating rules you follow in the comments!

Q&A on Dating Apps

Q&A of all things people who have never been on a dating app might ask! Thanks so much to all those who participated and for reading!!!!

How long do you talk before meeting up?

Of course, all answers will vary here depending on the type of person you ask and the type of relationship they are seeking via these apps. I, personally, never liked to meet the same week that I started talking to someone so the sweet spot for me was around 10 days. This way I could find out what they did during the week (such as school or work) and also what type of weekender they were (from homebody to passed out at the bars). If conversation was flowing and we had similar interests then I would feel more confident that I wasn’t wasting my Saturday evening. Those seeking a more casual relationship would most likely meet up within a few days.

Do you prefer apps or websites?

I prefer websites because they’re easier to browse by offering different search options. On apps you can only swipe, it’s usually based on location (which like how often does the guy of your dreams live across the street from you? And if he does, why did you need an app to find him?), and app profiles usually have less information on them. I’m going to do a dating app review post eventually but my favorite has always been OKCupid.

Have you ever tried speed dating?

Surprisingly, I have not. It’s funny because people who usually don’t like dating apps will say how meeting by chance in real life is much better. If you’re single and looking to date then speed dating is actually a great idea because you’ll find a decent amount of people who are open to relationships all at the same place. Ironically, I’d imagine speed dating to possibly be more awkward/embarrassing than online dating. But hey, different things work for different people.

What is your go to excuse to run out on a date that’s not going well?

Does anyone actually know someone in real life who had a friend fake an emergency phone call to get out of a horrible date? I’ve only heard of such dramatics in the movies but I do know a true story of a guy who said he was going to the bathroom mid date and then JUST LEFT ! The last excuse I used was saying I had a phone interview and had to get back home for that. (Oh and if you want to hear of the craziest excuse a guy used to dump me then you can head over in this direction.)

How do you keep your sanity while online dating and not get overly excited when there’s a small connection?   

You definitely have to delete the apps and accounts from time to time to keep your sanity. It helps you decompress from all the dating nerves/stress, makes you feel in control of your happiness again, and lifts your spirits out of the hopeless dating pool slump. Also, make sure to have a clear idea of what type of relationship you’re looking for and don’t waste your time on profiles you know aren’t a good match for you.

A weird thing that has happened to me a couple of times is the first date going well and then the second date just being terrible. So I think expectations really make or break a date and it’s definitely tough to get excited for dates only for them to let you down. Most app users keep their excitement in check by talking to multiple people to avoid putting their eggs all in one basket. That’s not a fool proof plan though so other ideas are welcomed.

We Should Take a Break

It’s most likely a sentence you never want to hear come out of your partner’s mouth. But you’ve probably felt the disconnect in the relationship and that’s partly what the break is trying to fix.

Time apart helps you realize what you really want in a relationship and what you’re truly able to give to your partner at this time. Some times you need to think things over: Are you both moving towards the same future? Did she break your trust? Unless both people can commit to improving the relationship together then this break usually leads to a break up.

In Modern dating, going on breaks seems to be much more common. I’m not sure why and I don’t exactly think it’s healthy. When couples fight, instead of working through things they just try to end it. But then they can’t so they get back together weeks or just days later. But that’s another post topic itself.

If the relationship norm for you does not include repeatedly breaking up and getting back together than a call for a break could definitely set warning bells off. If you need a break then something is missing. All relationships go through ebbs and flows, you’re not going to be happy with each other 24/7. The difference is that most couples still want to work through it and would rather be upset with you than without you.

Going on a break is like a practice throw so that you’re prepared later to really throw in the towel. But half the time you don’t end up getting back together and what you thought was practice was actually the real deal. If you’re willing to take a break then you’re already willing to take the risk to live without them again.

If you take a break and it leads to a break up then at least you’re not with someone who didn’t really fit with you. If you guys end up getting back together then you both come back with a new found appreciation for each other. It’s a win win situation once you stop crying because you miss your ex.

He’s Just Not That Into You

…then he’s honestly just not into you.

I know every girl wants to believe they can change a man or that they will defy all odds because their love is so strong but that’s a one in a million shot.

If a guy can’t or doesn’t want to make the time to see you, then he just doesn’t actually care enough to make that effort. Sure maybe he’s scared, going through a hard time, or entering a new point in his life that makes him super busy but all that means is that he’s unavailable.

Then there’s the guy that can never take things to the next level. Maybe he says he’s fine being exclusive but then he won’t put a label on it or introduce you as his girlfriend, or at all. This can happen anywhere down the line, together for 3 months or 9 years, you never know where your guy’s invisible intimacy line is. You’ve been together for so long, why can’t he pop the question?

It’s hard to tell what’s worse though, the guy who can’t say those important words or the one who keeps you strung along by promising a non existent future together. I know we’ll be together one day and that’s why you should forgive me for not putting you first now. For me going out with the boys and ignoring you. For me talking to those girls while I’m still young and dumb.

You begin to put up with a lot of crap because you think it will eventually pay off. All you want is to be loved and after you’re with someone for so long you worry you may never find someone willing to stick with you through all the tough times. You’re scared to start over, afraid this is the best it’s going to get, so you settle.

You settle for the guy who’s just not that into you and he settles for you too. He doesn’t see you because he’s wondering if he’ll see someone else. He talks to other girls because he’s unsure if you’re the best he’s going to do. He doesn’t commit to you because he’s worried as soon as he does that the real girl of his dreams will come walking through the door.

That’s why you should be the one walking out that door so that you both don’t settle. Let’s be honest, maybe you’re just not that into him.

((This article also works when changing pronouns around, feel free to read it how you identify))

February Throwback -Dating Curse

The Dating Curse

I think most daters consider themselves cursed in someway, whether it’s the fact they have so many first dates and rarely make it to the second or they say the conversation of moving in together always ends in breaking things off.

I, myself, am cursed.

Every time I start liking a guy and decide it’s time to delete my dating apps because I’m barely even on them anymore is about the same time that we stop talking. It usually happens within the same week, as if they sense it! With Different it happened just hours later! Am I really bad at reading people’s emotions or is this just bad coincidence?

Maybe they notice a shift, like I’m closing the distance, like this could be turning into something real. If that’s the case then I don’t plan on changing my curse, just the guy.

The issue with curses is that sometimes you fear them coming so much that you wish them into reality. You could get that second date if you stop worrying about what’s wrong with each guy on the first date. And of course having a curse is a good way to place blame. Why does dating keep not working out? It’s the curses fault, if I wasn’t cursed this wouldn’t happen!

If something you don’t like keeps happening, its unfortunately not a curse, but a bad habit. Behavior has to change in order to lift ‘the curse’. There’s no Prince Charming that slayed dragons and saved you from your curse. It was you, your self awareness, and your effort to improve.

Picky Daters

For me, first dates take a lot of mental effort. It requires you to carve out new time in your routine, the nervousness of meeting someone new, and as a reserved and introverted being, the social draining from constant conversation for multiple hours.

For these reasons, I don’t jump at every date. If I’ve only been talking to a guy about really trivial things for the past three days then I may want more time getting to know him before agreeing to give him my free afternoon. I’ve been coerced into first dates before and have learned to stick with my gut now. There’s always going to be a few things you have in common with a stranger, that doesn’t mean you’re meant to be.

It’s also important I ask what their intentions are before agreeing to meet up as well. I want to go on an actual date, not just chill at your house or in your car. Those can be part of the date but not the main event. I want to know that you’re making an effort to get to know me not just buying your time before you try to shove your tongue down my throat.

So I’m picky about who I agree to go on dates with. I’m not looking to waste anyone’s time, money, or gas. If I agree to go on a date with you then it’s because I think there will end up being more than one date. I don’t want to go on 50 first dates, I want to develop something deeper than that. I’m worth getting to know and I’m worth the effort of planning a date.

When is it Time to take a Break from Dating?

So you’ve just gotten home from yet another Okcupid date…Your back hurts from sitting all night, your cheeks burn from all the nervous laugh and perhaps fake upbeat smile you’ve had plastered on, and your heart aches because yet again the Dating Gods have let you down.

You were all excited earlier today, you had been text flirting for weeks, thrilled by the potential- a cute local guy with a decent career, talk about a diamond in the rough these days. But all he did was talk about his fancy job and expensive cars, or his exes, or how he gets blackout every weekend. Its been like this for months, years even and you’ve had enough.

Its time to take a break from dating if:

You’re worn out from all the hype and let down of going on these dates. Your self esteem has started to take a beating from all the disappointment. You’re beginning to think there’s something wrong with you instead of something wrong with the connection.

You’ve lost sight of the type of person you’re looking for and have noticed a slip in your standards. (Don’t settle for sexist Mark just because his teeth are whiter than unemployed Joe’s please oh please girl I beg you). Do you remember what you were looking for when you first got a dating profile? Are you looking for someone to settle down with or are you looking for someone to have adventures with?

You keep picking emotionally unstable men, or more you feel like they pick you. Honey, they’re not picking you. It’s time you did some self reflection and find some stability in yourself so you can start attracting it as well. You might be self sabotaging because you’re really not ready for a relationship, its just that all of your girlfriends are in relationships and your grandma won’t stop talking about your ovaries at the dining room table.

Dating has become your hobby. It’s not a hobby, stop trying to make it one. If you’re spending hours browsing potential matches, then flirting, texting, and preplanning multiple evening long dates, then we need to reevaluate how you spend your time. It was always a bummer seeing some of the same profiles as months and months go by, and then realizing they might be thinking the same thing about you, its a sad look in the mirror. Delete the app and go take a walk in the park. Your profile becomes more interesting if you actually do more things, not because of all the extra time you spend editing it.

Hey you might find that cute guy with a decent career at that park. And No, its not because you finally stopped looking. Its because you finally stopped judging profiles with your unrealistic expectations and obsessing over your very move.

Coming to Terms with a Love that Was Never Meant to Be

So there was this guy I once had a crush on and it lasted many, many years. Nothing ever really happened so there isn’t much of a beginning to talk about but there is an End. We got in a fight because I felt the friendship was very one sided and I was probably also jealous of this girl he liked (and eventually dated). So the end went with him saying, “I only like you as a friend. Sorry.” And just like that it FINALLY clicked. It was over.

He was never going to like me as I wished he would. I needed that direct finality to ultimately stop living in this fantasy relationship alone (This is what I often tried to push Stubborn into saying. It’s also the reason I held on so long, because he could never say it).

Even though we weren’t exes, I feel like the best way to get over an ex is to cut off all contact for some time in order to ensure that no romantic feelings pop back up. Once I stopped putting in the effort to keep in touch with him, the friendship instantly ended. We talked a few times over the next 6 months to be polite but then it just all faded.

So it’s been years since we’ve seen each other and I liked keeping it that way. Now we’re both attending an event and it’s unavoidable. Here, I find myself wondering if he might like me now? Years have passed, I’ve changed my hair, my body has changed, and we’ve both done some growing up.

This is all insecure 16 year old me talking. The first guy she ever liked didn’t like her back and she wants to stop doubting that she’s not good enough.

No matter what color my hair is, I am still me. I will never be the love of his life and don’t want to be her. I’m also not who I used to be when I was 16. I have different wants and needs now; I want a different kind of relationship than I did as a teen. It wasn’t my hair color that stopped him from ever liking me and it surely won’t be the reason he would suddenly like me now.

We just weren’t a good match. That happens sometimes without it being anyone’s fault. That’s a hard reality to face. It took a very long time for me to learn that sometimes two people just aren’t meant to be together. It took me a long time to stop blaming this guy, Stubborn, and myself. Sometimes things just don’t work out. Sometimes you know the reason, other times you don’t.

You can’t make other people like you and you can’t force yourself to fall in love with someone you just don’t have chemistry with. The only person you could really do that with is yourself.

‘Getting Drinks’ is not a date

I’ve been on probably two non-date coffee dates. One time with Stubborn  in which I believe he was unsure about us and didn’t want to commit to an hour -long meal and a heftier bill. Ironically, that coffee lasted longer than nearly all of my dinner dates. The other coffee date was with some guy I didn’t want to see but he said I judged him too quickly and in order to not look like the bad guy, I agreed to coffee (he was as wrong for me as I originally thought).

When I choose that coffee date with the second guy, I wanted it to come off as noncommittal. I wanted to chug my hot cup in 25 minutes and call it a day no matter the taste bud burns. I didn’t want to be trapped waiting for the waiter to come back and take our meal order. I wanted an easy out.

I’ve also been on two “Let’s get drinks” non-date dates. Now I, personally, am not much of a drinker so the fact that these men suggested drinks means they don’t know me every well nor did they really care to. Those drinks also lasted the noncommittal hour and then they would ask, “Hey, wanna get out of here?” Yes. Yes, I did want to get out of here but sure as hell not with you!

Those were not a ‘let’s get to know each other’ drinks, they were ‘let’s see if you’re interesting enough to want to hook up with’ drinks. They didn’t want to waste time or money truly wooing me. They were lazily looking for something quick and fun. It was their way of ‘sampling the product’ without having to put in the proper amount of time and effort of a real date.

You might be wondering why I continue to call these dates ‘non-dates’ and that’s because the lack of commitment. Coffee or drinks is casual, quick, and easy. It’s kind of like if you just ‘hang out’ with a guy. You’re not really dating him if you’re never seen together in public.

If you really like someone, you probably won’t suggest coffee or drinks as the first option. You’ll be thinking “I really like this person and want to spend as much time with them as possible” and let’s face the facts, coffee just wouldn’t cut it.

A Few Rules to Keep Your Standards Up

I imagine if you’re a male and you read this article, you might feel a little bit misunderstood and let me just say I am not talking about you. This is for all the immature boys who don’t want to commit to the girl they’re stringing along.

For the past year, my standards have been the perfect height (for new men only, don’t worry I’m well aware I stuck around Stubborn too long).

So a few tips for the girls who seem to always wind up with a f*uckboy:

  • If you set up a date with me for the following weekend and then make no effort AT ALL till the night before when you say “we still on?”. Dude, No we’re NOT still on.
  • If you get frisky in the first 3 days looking for some fun then I’ll ‘casually’ drop you into the delete box.
  • Randomly leave me hanging all day with no explanation… Exit stage left please. I get it, you lead a busy life but all you had to do was say “I’m at work, talk tonight”.
  • Say any sexist, misogynistic garbage, treating women like sexual objects to conquer, or just a general lack of respect for an entire gender. You’ll be taken out like the trash that you are.
  • If a new guy does any of the nonsense Stubborn pulled then I’m chucking the deuces up on my way out the door.

I am very good at not tolerating f*ckboy behavior from new prospects. It’s very easy when they’re new and there are no emotional ties blurring my judgment. Heck, that’s how I landed Mr. Right. My past dating protocol has not worked for me, I’ve learned quite a few things, and I refuse to suffer anymore at the hands of boys too immature to handle a real relationship.

Ladies, if you relate to my frustrations I hope you’ll eventually find yourself in the arms of a man who really appreciates you. If you currently have an almost relationship with your phone then I hope you know it’s not a race, and the journey will teach you many things.