Welcome to the first installment of our series on Dating. I am always thrilled when someone Guest Posts! This week a fellow blogger Michael Noker of thenoker.com took up the challenge to explore what dating is truly like today. It is refreshing to read a man’s point of view.
How to Find a Date in 2016
Though dating was never particularly simple, over the last 10 years, it has become an entirely unrecognizable minefield. Things like ghosting, benching, and “Netflix and chill” have seemingly replaced the courting process altogether. Young adults, male, female, or otherwise, gay, straight, or somewhere in between, don’t seem interested in settling down, particularly not right now.
Are We Too Busy To Date?
And it’s not that surprising. Most of us, myself included, are focused on building successful careers in an increasingly competitive marketplace to pay back the mountains of student loans we took out to finance degrees that are, for all intents and purposes, mostly worthless. Add to that the window shopping mentality that comes with the ever-present online dating, and you’ve successfully created the divine train wreck that is 2016’s dating landscape.
But a few of us, perhaps under the influence of one too many romantic comedies, hold out hope for finding love and settling down. And this is how we’re going to do it.
Look In The Right Places
For anybody with a job and bills to pay (and a life), dating takes a backseat to other priorities. In the world of social media and chronic overworking, most of us find it hard enough to feel genuinely connected to our friends and family – let alone strangers who want to take us out.
When the fancy strikes and I decide to check out the dating pool, time is of the essence. It has to fit into my schedule. I have a business to run. Do I really want to spend several hours getting all dolled up to go out to a singles bar, only to get hit with a spilled drink or groped by the creeper who can’t take no for an answer?
Mostly, though, I’d rather just watch some Netflix on my laptop while I passively swipe on Tinder.
But let’s be honest: if I were looking for love, I wouldn’t find it on Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid, or even at the bar. If you’re truly looking to find dates, look in places with quality people who are also looking for dates. Actual dates – not convenient sex at the click of a button. While there are exceptions and you can find plenty of genuine, amazing people on dating sites, as a general rule, the internet is for cheap thrills and window shopping for your passive curiosity.[clickToTweet tweet=”when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” quote=”when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” theme=”style2″]
Talk To The Right People
As Maya Angelou said, when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. When you’re meeting somebody new, you’re relying on a limited source of information: what they tell you. Pay attention to what they say, how they talk to you, how they talk about themselves, and – perhaps most importantly – how they talk about other people. If you listen closely, most people will tell you exactly who they are, what they think, and how they see the world, whether or not they intend to.
Case in point: if you’re looking for a relationship, but the person you’re talking to only compliments your appearance, it’s time to walk away. Likewise, if he brings up an ex, this conversation isn’t leading anywhere good. Mentions of roommate drama usually mean you’re going to be hosting for a hook-up. If she talks about her excessively busy schedule or overly demanding career, it means you’re not going to be more than a last-minute booty call. It’s time to move on.
That also means people will tell you good things about themselves. If he asks you about your hobbies, he could be looking for an opportunity to connect again. When she mentions her six cats, she’s telling you about an important part of her life.
Know When to Hold ‘Em
Okay, you sassy siren. You’ve got yourself into a conversation with a swell guy or gal who seems interested in legitimately going on a date. How do you seal the deal, so to speak?
Simple – ask! Unless you’re scared. But you’re not scared, are you?
Suggest that the two of you meet again for coffee, lunch, dinner and a movie, or to hide the body, depending on your level of comfort and your general hobbies. Ask if she’d like to get together to discuss that book she recommended that you’re like totally going to read now. See if he’s up for a stroll down that bike path since you both like hiking so much. Invite her to that concert you have tickets for.
If he or she says no, then that’s okay, too. Recognize that it wasn’t meant to be and move on. That’s how healthy, well-adjusted adults handle rejection nowadays (fake it ‘til you make it, okay?).
Know when to fold ‘em
Let’s say your first few dates or hangouts go smoothly and you think it may be time to ask for exclusivity. But how do you ask for an exclusive relationship in a day and age when nobody wants to settle down? Much like getting the first date, the process is simple: you ask.
For me, I usually like to bring it up around the time they start pushing to have sex, particularly if they mention not using protection. “Sure,” I respond. “No problem. As soon as we’re in an exclusive, monogamous relationship with each other and we’ve both been tested for any STDs.”
If he gets uncomfortable, ignores me, or patronizes me, I know that he’s not the kind of guy I want to be with, so I usually end the non-starter of a relationship there. It simply wasn’t meant to be. But occasionally this starts up a legitimate conversation about commitment, what each of us is looking for long-term, and whether we can see an actual relationship forming between us.
Sometimes, it gets me a boyfriend. Other times, it gets me another cat. Either way, it works for me, because I figure I’m not wasting my time or his anymore. It clears the air. Isn’t closure what we’re obsessed with as a society, anyways?
On a final note, I do think it’s important to have the right outlook when it comes to finding a relationship. If you haven’t yet reached a place where you’re comfortable with yourself and happy being on your own, then you’re probably not ready to find a healthy, happy, mutually fulfilling relationship. Further, I get really bothered when people want “a boyfriend” or “a girlfriend” but can’t actually give me any names of love interests.
Find the person you think is worth a date first. Only then should you evaluate the possibility of a long-term relationship and decide that it’s something you want. If you don’t, you run the risk of jumping into something just to have somebody, rather than actually evaluating each person you date on an individual level.
Don’t do that. Please.
What are your best tips for finding love in 2016? Are you seeing anybody right now? What’s his name? Where’d you meet her? Is he the one? Let’s talk about love!
Michael Noker is a blissfully single relationship writer, YouTuber, and member of the LGBTQ community. He runs the Single AF Podcast and This is Why I’m Single comedy series. He likes long walks on the beach, dinners by candlelight, and cliches.