Dating is scary enough at the best of times. But now as we slowly emerge from lockdown the thoughts of meeting new people is starting to crop up. My dating business over at Great Dates has suddenly had quite a few enquiries for events and the online members area. Perhaps romance is back on the cards?
There are currently two types of people weighing up starting dating. Those that pre-Covid had started to date, perhaps using apps or just being on the lookout. And then there’s those that have recently split and have had to wait for restrictions to be lifted to get back out there. They may have done some lockdown dating via Zoom, FaceTime etc. But let’s face it, nothing beats that face to face first meeting.
Whichever category you fall into there are a few things that you need to be clear on before you go dipping your toes in the water. Are you actually ready to do this and are your social skills still in full working order?
How Are Your Social Skills?
The past year has made many of us very anti-social. We’ve literally had nowhere to go and not much to do apart from scrolling and Netflix. I’m jealous of my wheelie bins because they’ve been out way more than me! But even though we are climbing the walls to get out and about and ready to mingle again, just hold your horses first and take a word of caution. Do not let your first post-lockdown outing be a date. Don’t let your first drinking session being a first date! Absolutely not!
Why? If you’ve spent lockdown single, then you’ve not had much flirty face to face contact time with another person. Your skills are not going to be great. You may be awkward or over-excited at actually being in close contact with another person. This could well become an embarrassing too much information situation very quickly. And you could make some rash decisions you later regret. Like agreeing to a second date with someone you should be running a mile from!
I was chatting to the lads over at Lockdown Cocktail Club about this predicament. And between us, we’ve decided that you need to practise with your friends first. Preferably with a few cocktails so you can train your brain to flirt and drink at the same time. So invite a couple of friends over, get yourself a Lockdown Cocktail Club box that contains all your favourite cocktail ingredients and get your social skills polished. Plus you can have a great cocktail filled night with your mates. Perfect excuse!
When you think you’re ready to date again there will be a few signs that you are truly ready. So, before you go ending up in a new relationship for all the wrong reasons, make sure you are checking these items off your list:
- You like the idea of having a person – after time on your own, not having to share the remote control, watch Match Of The Day, listen to farting and snoring and being able to eat a whole bag of Fruit Gums to yourself. When you decide that you’re willing to be a little bit unselfish again and perhaps offer up sharing your sweets, then you’ll be absolutely fine sharing some of your life with another person. Just remember to keep your boundaries and standards until you are 100% sure.
- You’ve got butterflies – if someone looks at you in that kind of way and you get a little flutter then you’re on the right track. Give them a second look back.
- You’re totally tuned in – if you’ve figured out what it is you want in/from another person and not just dropping your knickers for the first fella that winks at you over their mask in Tesco, then you’ve far more chance of finding someone who is right.
- Ok alone – likewise if you are totally fine with going it alone, be that just out for a coffee or to your mates wedding without a plus one, then you’ve conquered your fear of being alone. And that makes you a much more desirable prospect. Stinking of desperation is not attractive.
You’re Not Ready
Although you might think you’re ready and all your friends are telling you to download Tinder (don’t until you’ve read my warning about it), there will be signs that you just aren’t ready and need to spend some more time working on yourself. Are you ready to hear this?
- Bringing up your ex in conversation – if their name has passed your lips in any random conversation in the past 3 days, then they are still on your mind. Work on forgetting their name.
- Who does this belong to? – if they’ve still got some of their belongings in your house and you haven’t made any effort yet to dispose of them, then you’re still hanging on. Burn their shit or give it to charity. If they’ve not been to collect their stuff, then it can’t mean that much to them. Bin it and them with it!
- Socially devoted – are you still Facebook friends? Insta buds? Delete!!!!! Why are you still hate liking your ex’s photos or worse still, secretly checking their profile every hour on the hour for any clues that they’ve moved on? Worse still, do you post crap to get a reaction from them or comment on their posts for the same reason? You’re still engaged in a non-existent relationship. Move on and delete, block, whatever it takes. I don’t care if there are photos on their profile that you like or they post updates about the kids. Get your own life, photos, updates!
- Compare the market – are you comparing your life to their life? What stage of the getting over you process are they at compared to yours? Guess what; it’s none of your business anymore what they are doing, saying or what stage they are at. Focus on you and you alone!
Great Big Red Flags
You may not be ready, or quite ready, but if you can get through a date without your ex crossing your mind then you’re probably on the right track. Likewise, give my blog a read about Dating Someone That Just Got Out Of A Relationship if you meet someone that’s fresh on the market.
However, if you find yourself exhibiting any of these warning signs or find yourself dating someone that is, then take it as a great big red flag. If it’s you, then the last thing on earth you should be doing is dating.
- Using dating apps to boost your confidence – is an awful thing to do and for all the wrong reasons. You get that initial dopamine boost and confidence hit when loads of men are dropping into your DM’s or swiping right on you. But if you’re in a place of low self-esteem, trust me, these dating apps will also result in crippling and awful spells of anxiety. Dating apps are like the human version of the Argos catalogue and full of lunatics. I only used them for a brief time, but they managed to send my anxiety levels rocketing. In the end, and with the benefit of hindsight, I didn’t have one good connection or experience. Most of the men I encountered needed a therapist or professional help, not a girlfriend. It was a very fake confidence boost.
- Mr Perfect – if you find yourself diving headfirst into a new relationship and convince yourself that your new beau is absolutely perfect, then I urge you to take off the rose-tinted glasses and get real. Nobody is perfect. Nobody. This could also be a future warning sign that you are being love-bombed, manipulated and lured into heartache. Proceed with extreme caution and do not make any life-changing decisions on the spur of the moment or at least until the novelty has worn off.
- Shoutout to my ex – are you telling your ex your new life updates? Why? Why!?!? It’s none of their business. Are you doing it to make them jealous or get a reaction? Grab your dignity and keep quiet. They see through your life updates and are glad you are someone else’s problem.
So, before you head out on that first date, make sure you’re ready. Like, really ready. And then decided what to wear! I’ll cover that in a week or two. Don’t worry, you’ll be back out there mingling in no time at all. I just can’t guarantee what you might meet.