Life in a single girl’s shoes is both difficult and exhilarating (just ask Carrie Bradshaw). Whether you’re a college girl, an early twenty-something or established in your career and single girl life, dating is a big deal! I’ve found one of the most crucial components of dating actually isn’t so intuitive…you need to remember to take care of yourself. Self-Care is critical to managing a happy, fulfilling and a stress-free (or as stress-free as possible) life. If your ultimate goal is to meet new people, hook up with the your hot co-worker or find your next long term relationship, follow these guidelines to set yourself up for dating success.
1. Let yourself be Excited
When you’re single we sometimes have a tendency to feel like we have to act like we are completely uninterested in dating. It is 100% okay if you’re single and uninterested but it’s just as cool if you’re single and ready to mingle. If the guy you’ve been crushing on asks you out let yourself be totally stoked. Make your best friend spend three hours shopping for the perfect date night look with you. Send out a Snap to your girl squad debating which red lipstick you should go with and by all means wear that sparkly body shimmer you only break out on your birthday. Even if you’re unsure where the relationship is going (or even where you want it to go) it’s cool to let yourself be excited. Excitement is a natural, normal and fun part about the beginning stages of a relationship.
2. Spend time with your Girl Friends
The most annoying thing you can do while dating (or in a relationship) is to completely forget your friends exist. Dating can be emotionally exhausting, draining and sometimes a bit deflating. Searching for companionship is fun but shouldn’t overshadow the valuable relationships you’ve formed with the friends who already love you. Even if you’re the Queen of First Dates make time to have a girls’ night, grab coffee or go out dancing (without any intention of meeting guys). This crucial friend time keeps your friendships at the top of your priority list which I believe is super important for every single girl.
3. Date multiple People
It’s easy to hop from boyfriend to boyfriend (or girlfriend to girlfriend) without much wiggle room in between. After a breakup it is especially easy to “fall into” a new relationship with whoever you happen to flirt with next because we crave emotional intimacy. Unfortunately, emotional intimacy really isn’t that difficult to cultivate meaning you might be jumping into a relationship with the wrong person. By dating multiple people at once you’re able to test the waters and discover which qualities are truly important to you. You may discover all three guys you’re dating aren’t right for you whereas if you were only dating one person you’d be far more likely to turn that person into a dreamboat. Of course a time comes when it is no longer acceptable to date the whole football team (and for each person that time is different). Be honest with yourself, so you know when you’ve developed something real with someone and cut things off with other suitors before life becomes too complicated.
4. Don’t forget about your Hobbies
When you’re serial dating it’s tempting to schedule cocktails with your girlfriends one night, a few dates scattered throughout the week, professional obligations another few evenings and a family dinner to top it off. A quick glance at your Google Calendar reveals there is absoloutely zero “you time”. It’s true that each individual needs a different amount of personal time but it is without question that we all need some time alone. Even if you have Tinder dates scheduled for the next three months remember to schedule time for your hobbies too. Evening yoga (or a Netflix binge) will keep you sane both for your day to day life and your dating life too. Additionally, having your own hobbies and favorite activities make you an interesting person. You’ll be able to talk about your latest painting, favorite new bands or most recent 5k races on your next date, people with hobbies are more captivating people!
5. Pause and Reflect on what you’re Looking for
Maybe you set out looking for a few dinner dates and happy hours and suddenly want something more. Maybe you thought you wanted a long term relationship only to discover you like this whole “dating a new guy every week” thing. Whatever makes you feel satisfied in your dating life is your business and should not be held to the same standard as what your sister wants, your best friend wants or what your Mom wants for you. You be you girl! Make sure you check in with yourself frequently to evaluate what you are looking for. Writing in a journal, talking it out with your best friend (or therapist, or cool aunt) may help you understand how you are feeling about your love life. It is vitally important you are honest with yourself, and as cheesy as it sounds, listen to your heart. You can date around without being a cruel heartbreaker. You can want a serious relationship without being that crazy girl. Dating is all about knowing who you are, what you’re looking for and being as open and transparent as you can with your dates.
Though it’s often underestimated, practicing self-care while dating is the first safe guard in preventing you inner Taylor Swift a la Blank Space from coming out. You aren’t that crazy girl, so keep yourself sane (and happy) by slowing down and caring for yourself. Your heart is a valuable asset, protecting it doesn’t mean you don’t take any risks, it means taking care of yourself while dating because you value yourself as an individual.