While I largely discuss gay dating, I believe these suggestions are universal, so no matter who you're interested in, consider these 17 ideas listed below.
Recently, I've seen a lot of tips on gay dating, and why so many people believe it doesn't work. Pieces of advice range from: "Turn off your grindr before the date," to becoming comfortable being called "Daddy." "Don't chase someone, wait 'x' amount of time to text back, don't be too available."
In my opinion all this seems ridiculous. I am, by no means, an expert on dating. I have however been on many dates, fallen in love and had my heart broken. I've been a conquest, used and made to feel crazy.
I wish I could say I fell into a pattern, but the truth is, I didn't. There is no pattern. There is no way to know who someone is from pictures they post, the job they have or the status updates they write. The only way to find out who someone truly is, is to go on a date with them. To interact with them and find out for yourself, firsthand, exactly who they are.
With that said, I can tell you what I have learned from my own personal experiences.
1. Get rid of any hook-up apps, delete them.
Sure, you may be on there looking for a real connection, but after looking for the hottest guy for the past five hours and having nothing to show, lets be serious why you are on there. There's something beyond impersonal about these apps, and you aren't going to give that guy, who just isn't that cute in his picture a chance. The sad thing is, he could've been a babe in person, and you just couldn't tell by his second image. In real life, he could've given you a look that made your heartbeat a little faster, and created a sense of curiosity that brings you in. All those tiny pictures are lazy dudes, who in the end may be looking for a date, but "could be down for some fun."
2. Going one step further, don't use any of your social media as dating tools.
I was super guilty of this. I literally met my ex-boyfriend of two and half years because he poked me on Facebook. I dated someone who lived in Australia through Instagram. I have been on more-than-I-would-care to share Tinder dates. All these things that are supposed to make dating easier are actually make dating harder.
These devices are the easy way out. These applications allow for guys from all over to skim through the gay rolodex of the world. There is no confidence involved, just a simple click of a few buttons and done. A real guy would come up to you and say, "Hello," not that he just saw you in the park and thought you looked cute through a Facebook message. I get the appeal, but trust me, everyone I have ever dated for an extended period of time, except my Facebook-poking-ex-boyfriend, has been someone I've gone up to in real life, introduced myself to and chatted up. This brings me to my next "suggestion."
3. Go up to that guy who is cute, and say, "Hi."
You have nothing to lose. Best-case scenario, he's really nice, you end of chatting for hours and you exchange numbers. Worse case scenario, he's a dick and brushes you off, which saves you the trouble of wondering what could've been if you had said "Hi." You almost get a sense of relief knowing that he isn't even an option, and you can check him off your imaginary list. Furthermore, the more you go up to people, the more comfortable this becomes, and you find yourself not over thinking things so much.
4. Stop going for the "Hot Guy."
He didn't chase after you, and he is used to getting what he wants, which if you allow him, will be you. He isn't just the "Hot Guy" to you, he's that person to a lot of people, and he probably knows it. Unless he's had his heartbroken, and made real changes after, he doesn't know what it feels like to be on the rejection side. Rejection is humbling, and everyone at some point will feel it.
You'll make up excuses for him, but deep down you know he isn't right for you. You may say you just want to hook up with him, but you won't be able to tear yourself away, then he'll simply disappear and you'll be left feeling crazy. Save yourself the insanity, and if you do end up with said "Hot Guy," don't under any circumstances get naked with him for at least a month because if he disappears, you won't feel used and stupid
5. If you want something in a partner, you should possess it yourself.
This goes for everything. You want him to be sweet and handsome than you best believe you better be gorgeous and kind. You want him to live alone and make a ton of money. You better have a fat apartment and loads of coin. I don't think this is just a problem in the gay community, but dating in general. We expect someone out of our league to be perfect for us, but if you aren't someone's equal than chances are sooner or later, there will be a strain in the relationship. Finding someone on the same page allows you to grow together, understand what the other one is going through and an overall ease is created.
6. Have high expectations for yourself, but be realistic.
We all want that movie star that's a doctor and worships the ground we walk on. But lets be serious with ourselves, this guy is a rare-rare-rare being, and chances are he probably isn't right for you anyways, so get over the fact that you are not meeting him, and start talking to the people around you. I've found that someone's personality can take them from a 7 to a 9. I say 9 because no one, and I mean NO ONE is perfect.
7. If you're looking for someone serious, open up to him in a real genuine way.
Someone who's actually looking to date you, and not just sleep with you will appreciate this more than you know. It opens up dialogue for the other person to share, which can be scary for someone to initiate. It helps weed out the guys, who just want to sleep around real quick because they see your seriousness, which isn't a bad thing. It means you've grown up, made a mature decision that you want to share your life with someone and are looking for love. Open communication is vital in any relationship.
8. Own your feelings, don't suppress them.
If you're worried about scaring this one off, it's probably because somewhere deep down you know he's too good to be true, and he's just not right for you. Accept this, take it in and move on. You're doing yourself a big favor here.
9. Don't look for someone to save you. Save yourself.
When you're in control of your life, it's extremely attractive, especially to someone else who's in control of his or hers. This idea of taking responsibility for yourself is one I've found many gay men do not want to do. They want to be taken care of, which is fine, but you have to remember to have your own life and be able to take care of yourself because, regardless of who you are, there will come a day when you may be on your own.
This may also trick you into staying with someone, who clearly isn't right for you. You paint this picture of someone as amazing because they're "supporting" you, but are actually creating your life how they see fit. You must be the painter of your own masterpiece or else it's just some knock off of someone else's original.
10. Remember lust dies.
Yes, there is nothing more fun than being in that first stage when you just want to rip each other's clothes off, but eventually that dies. It's not sad, it's just a fact. Make sure that you don't confuse this lust with love. It is a tricky thing to do in the beginning, but implementing the next rule makes all the difference.
11. Wait to have sex.
This is one is hard, real hard. This is advice that many older people give, and to be honest, I've found it to be completely true. If you can check your dick at the door, you are able to see whom someone is beyond our primal instinct to get naked and rowdy. You can tell that you may really like someone, and not just their muscles and eyes. You have to talk more, which literally says a lot more than fucking the night away.
12. If he wants to see you, he will.
There're only so many excuses one guy can make. If he wants to see you, he will make it work and if he can't, he will make definite plans for the future that include a date and time. I used to fly to my exboyfriend 18 hours, L.A. to Norway, and he did the same. We loved each other, and when there's a will, there's a way. If he has a bag of excuses, it probably means he has a bag of guys, and just isn't that into you.
13. Be cautious of long distance dating.
I've done long distance twice, and it's harder than you can ever imagine. You have someone you love, but not having them physically around leaves a hole. You're both left with many unknowns. There's an extra expense of money due to travel. One or both of you are going to get frustrated at some point for not knowing what the other one is doing regardless of how faithful he may be. Ultimately, you aren't living in real life.
You have honeymoonesque periods when you're together because it's so exciting and you want to make the best of being together, but this also leads to not addressing real issues. You sweep things under the rug just to maintain this good time that you're supposed to have because you are finally in the same place. If there is no definitive end date to the distance, something to keep your eye on, than I would say this isn't a good idea.
14. If he's in the closet, he isn't ready for a real relationship.
This may sound harsh, but he still has so much figuring out to do, and this isn't your job. You may find this hot, or be some twisted turn on, but if you're seriously looking for a relationship, the dude in the closet is not your dude.
15. Stop nitpicking.
If he's kind, treats you right, has a place to live, has a proper job and you like him then just go with it. Don't set yourself up for disaster because he isn't hot enough, tall enough, lives in a certain zip code or whatever else. If he thinks you are the cat's meow, let him, because all that nitpicking will only make you the mess that is fifty, single and still partying like it's your heyday. No one thinks that's cute except the other messes partying with you.
16. There's no next best thing.
We all constantly question that there may be someone "better" out there for us, but the truth is this will just lead you to end after end, because the person you thought was going to be the next best thing, probably isn't. He may be hotter, but he probably charmed his way into your brain, or pants, when you actually had something really amazing right there in front of you. Stop! If you're lucky enough to find someone who's on the same page as you, this's amazing and should be made sacred.
17. Love yourself.
You are going to feel crazy one day and then amazing the next. Be gentle with yourself as you meet mister wrong, and ultimately one day mister right. Take your experiences and learn from them. Throughout it all remember that you are your greatest love, so take care of yourself, honor yourself and love yourself.
Ultimately, you have to figure out your own way through this rough world of dating. I can sit here and list millions of suggestions, rules and "dos and do nots," but for everything I suggest there are plenty of stories that challenge my ideas. That's why dating is so hard. There's no formula, there's no set guideline. You just have to continue to put yourself out there, be open and aware and remember to keep your morals and principals.
It's a big blue ocean full of all different types of fish out there. You have sharks and piranhas, clown fish and angelfish, sea snakes and bottom feeders. Fish that look beautiful, but have an attention span of three seconds, and dolphins that will captivate you with their beauty and brains. It's a vast, limitless pool of blue; so in the end, all you can do, is just keep swimming. Just. Keep. Swimming.
Yes, I am quoting Dori from Finding Nemo. She was wise beyond her years, and the bitch spoke fluent whale, so she was smarter than she appeared.
Good luck! Keep your head held up high, and remember some of these pieces of advice I share. You never know, by simply applying just one of these rules to your life, you may meet the man or woman of your dreams.