Dating for Beginners, or those Beginning Again | Lisa Steingold

Dating for Beginners, or those Beginning Again

dating for beginners
I'm going to start with the truth. Reading this blog is not going to heal your heart. But I do have some thoughts to help start the process to help you start healing

Dating for beginners, or those beginning again

I actually have no idea why I’m writing this.

From the beginning, you should know that I am no expert in this area. Quite obviously if you’ve read my book. 😂

This piece I write is based purely on personal experience and those of my friends.

I think dating should be easy so I just wanted to share a few thoughts.

First, you’re going to need a dating mindset.

What’s a dating mindset?

If you’re going to date you need to start with a dating mindset. It’s like a growth mindset but specifically for dating.

What does this mean? It means you can’t go on a date looking for a marriage partner. 

What?

Yup! The minute you go on a date to gain a certain outcome, you’re out of the game.

But then why go on a date?

You go on a date to engage with someone, to get to know them and to learn about yourself at the same time.

A dating mindset means you’re open to learning.

I quite like Matthew Hussey’s 9 mindsets which include;

“It doesn’t have to lead somewhere to be worth it”

So you have to start by being open to exploration, engagement and learning.

How to meet people?

Organic dating

There’s what I call organic dating and then there’s intentional dating.

Organic dating happens in the flow of life. You’re walking to pick up the last milk carton and the other person goes to grab it too. You look at each other and start laughing. 

Does it only happen in movies? No. 

I’ve had the good fortune of meeting people organically for much of my life mostly through sport. 

I like organic dating best of all because you tend to meet in your ‘natural habitat’ (whatever that may be for you) and not in a contrived setting.

Dating apps

Dating apps

Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Match.com and eHarmony are all essential for people who prefer to filter through digital engagement.

✅ The pro is that you can get to know someone before actually meeting.

❌ The con is that you won’t know if what they’re saying is actually true and yes, photos do lie. 

First Dates

This I feel is a blog all on its own but for those of you who don’t know, First Dates is a Television show where couples meet on a blind date over dinner. 

Given that they’re being filmed, it does add another dimension and often it’s alot more show than genuine interaction but I suggest watching an episode or two to learn how and how not to date. 

What you need to know before you start dating

The very first thing you need to know before you start dating is what kind of dating exactly are you looking for. In other words, what do you want?

A hook-up is not the same thing as looking for some company to do things which is also not the same thing as dating seriously. 

PS and FYI – Hooking up means meeting people for the purpose of having sex, generally not having any sort of relationship afterwards.

Decide what kind of dater you want to be and what kind you’re looking for. 

It’ll eliminate a lot of time and stress. 

Decide on your non-negotiables

Most people think about what they want in a date. That’s a great place to start. But really think about it. 

What is absolutely non-negotiable for you? Once you know that you’ll be able to also think about what it is you’re looking for in a person. 

Yes, you can draw up a list but don’t forget to have that dating mindset. This is about meeting someone and being genuinely curious, not saying no because they don’t meet the 25 items on your checklist.

It takes time

Dating takes time. 

You have to put in the effort getting to know someone and spending time with them. 

It’s probably not the best thing to take on dating at the same time as launching the biggest project of your career. 

Start light

If your first question to your date is how many kids do they want, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back from them post first date.

Dating should be light, it should be fun. There’ll be plenty of time to get serious later on in the game. 

How to be real on a date?

I gave being real aka being authentic a section on its own in the blog because I felt like it deserves at least that, if not a whole blog post.

Being authentic or being real is likely to be the biggest factor in dating success. 

If you pretend to love surfing (or clubs or whatever) you’re actually going to have to walk the talk. If you say you love clubbing until 6am then don’t be surprised if that’s what you get asked out to do.

I always laugh when people tell me they told their date a lie because they wanted them to like them and then later on down the line had to deal with the consequences. And don’t worry – we’ve all been there at least once!

Seriously though, Bumble has deemed “Intuitive Intimacy” one of their 2024 Global Dating Trends, after identifying that 32% of surveyed app users find emotional intimacy more important than sex.

How to put yourself out there?

Putting yourself out there can take courage. After all, you’re putting yourself out there for potential rejection.

I love how some self-help gurus say when someone rejects you, it isn’t personal. 

Well, listen there’s no one else here but me so how do I not take this personally?

It feels personal even if it isn’t. So when you put yourself out there focus first on having a great time. 

The more you do that, the less you’ll be focused on “What if this person doesn’t like me?”

Just go and have a great time. If it leads to something, great. And if not, also great. 

Accept being human and the feelings of discomfort and vulnerability that sometimes go with that so just be kind to yourself. 

This brings me to one of the most important points;

Love yourself first

If you don’t love yourself first, no one is going to be able to do it for you. 

I don’t mean arrogance. I mean love. It’s different. 

Arrogance says “I’m the best, anyone would be lucky to be with me”. Love says “I love you for who you are”. 

What does loving yourself mean?

It means;

  • Trusting your decisions but letting yourself make mistakes
  • Listening to your gut/intuition
  • Being okay with being alone
  • Knowing and accepting your own shadow side
  • Taking care of your physical and emotional needs
  • Self-care e.g. physical exercise, rest, good nutrition etc.

And more but it’s the journey of a lifetime. At times it can feel impossible to love yourself and at times it can feel impossible not to. 

Hint – the more you focus on loving yourself, the more likely you are to attract real relationships of trust and joy.

Be the change

Do you find yourself interesting? Would you want to date you?

The best way to meet the person of your dreams is to become the person of your dreams. 

Go out and make your life happen and you will find that you begin to attract just that; people who are full of life and passion.

Dating no no’s – if you’re serious about a second date

Whether you’re dating as a beginner or are beginning again on the dating scene, here are a few things to avoid; 

❌ Don’t start with sex first unless you’ve both made it mutually clear that it’s the only thing you’re both after. 

❌ Don’t wait for your date to pay. At least offer to go half.

Show me what you’re wearing does not constitute a great follow-up conversation unless you’re only interested in sex.

My ex used to…. Don’t focus on the past. If you want to create a different future, don’t start by talking about the past and certainly not about your ex! Just no! This is not therapy and no one wants to hear your stories. 

❌ Before a second date, make sure you’re attracted to the person and just the idea of having a relationship.

❌ Don’t ignore red flags. ⛔ People stop at red traffic lights for a reason. D’oh! 

❌ DON’T start dating so you don’t have to be alone. It’s not going to turn out well as you’re likely to attract codependent relationships.

I’m not even going to talk about being disrespectful towards waitresses and waiters because if you don’t know that, then you need a therapist, not this article.

Dating for beginners – The bottom line?

I didn’t plan to write this for Valentine’s Day but it turns out that this may just be in perfect timing for it! 

I hope that you find the perfect type of date and relationship you are looking for. I really do but if you don’t it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road. 

I can’t tell you how many people I know who’ve told me “I’m never going to meet someone” and then a few months or years later, they’ve met their true love. 

My own father found true love in his sixties, so you’re never too old and it’s never too late!

My last little piece of advice is that there’s a difference between hanging out and dating. After your first date, make sure you’re both on the same page before you create some fantasy that isn’t real. 

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