Dating can be super fun. It can also be a total drain of your energy if you aren’t careful.
To give you some context, a couple of years ago, I joined the London dating scene for the first time in my life. After 10 years of back-to-back relationships, I was finally able to see how the single half lived. Excited? Yep. Naive? Very…
Since then, I have dated more than I ever have in my life and lived with three other single girls doing the exact same thing. Between us, we have wasted our energy on some right shockers. We’ve held on to “situationships” for longer than we should have. And we have been ghosted so many times that we need to get an exorcist round.
But over the months, I like to think we’ve learned a thing or two about the dating game, how to keep it fun, and how to stop it from draining you of your energy. Here are my key tips for energy-efficient dating:
1. Avoid DUIs (Dating Under the Influence)
Isn’t it weird how suddenly everyone becomes really funny and interesting after a couple of glasses of wine? This is great if you’re trying to survive a tedious work event, and Karen off of accounts won’t shut up about her cross-stitch club. But dating under the influence is dangerous territory.
I was guilty of going on dates and getting fairly tipsy. In my defence, I was nervous and it turns out wine is quite more-ish… But this kind of dating was not an efficient use of my time and energy. I wasn’t able to make a sound judgement as to whether the person sitting opposite me was a good match, or whether I just had my wine goggles on.
Then, during my month of no drinking, I forced myself to go on a couple of sober dates. I literally put an hour or two aside to go meet these guys for coffee, during which, I was able to make an informed decision about whether I wanted to see them again. After realising how time and energy efficient this way of dating was, I vowed to make every first date a sober one.
2. Set your standards early on
Do you ever end up seeing someone that you like, but their dating etiquette just doesn’t match your expectations, whatever these expectations may be? When you’re together, you have a great time, but in the interim – they just disappoint you. How do you tell if they have potential or if they are just a bit rubbish? You set your standards early on and see if they up their game.
To give you a couple of examples of what I mean, I once got the tube home alone at 1am after a pretty good date. We had a rapport, he seemed keen and given that I was a woman making my way back through the mean streets of London after dark – I expected a “Did you get home ok?” message at the very least. Instead, I was met with a two-day radio silence. I assumed I had misread the date, that he wasn’t that into me, and I got ready to archive him into the What’s App cemetery of failed dates #riphun. Then he pops up and asks to see me again. Turns out he was abiding by some bullsh*t 48-hour rule his mates had advised him to follow. I swiftly told him that was a load of bollocks and I’m not about those games.
Another guy, when arranging our second date, tried to get me to just come to his to “watch a film”. I declined. Then he tried to get me to meet him at a vomit-scented dive bar opposite his house. I said if he really wanted to meet me, he would need to make more of an effort than that. I was willing to bring my A-Game and venture further than a 1-mile radius of my house, so he should do the same. For the remainder of our dating lifespan, he made more of an effort.
The moral of the story – do not compromise your standards for anyone.
3. Don’t date through your phone
So I know that you need to put in the swiping hours to get the matches in the first place, but once you get chatting to someone – message them for long enough to ascertain that they’re not a psychopath, then for the love of god meet up in person!
You should also be wary of dating somebody mainly through your phone after you have been on a couple of dates. By this, I mean letting someone keep you stringing along via message, without actually making plans to meet up again. Usually, in these situations, they’re waiting for someone else but they’re keeping you as a backup plan. They are wasting your time and energy, so get rid!
This guy I dated earlier last year kept the conversation dragging along without ever asking me on the next date because he was just “so busy.” The guy lived one stop away and had a fairly undemanding job. It took me waaaaaaay to long to come to the revelation that if he wanted to see me, he easily could have. But he didn’t, and so I deleted our dead-end conversation and moved on with my life.
4. Don’t recycle your dates
Lastly, and I know this contradicts my energy efficiency analogy that I’ve been using so far… but when it comes to dating – don’t recycle! I’ve been in scenarios where someone I’ve dated in the past has popped back into my life, we’ve given it another go and surprisingly enough – it didn’t work out.
Obviously, this isn’t true in every single situation. I know sometimes people have a genuine connection but the timing isn’t right for whatever reason.
But more often than not, one of you had a gut instinct to call things off, and this instinct was correct the first time around. All that’s happening now is either you have been recently burned by a bad dating experience, or you’re bored. This familiar person from your past feels like a safe bet and a sure-fire way of getting some attention from the opposite sex (no judgement, we’ve all been there).
But there’s no need to recycle dates when you live in a big city like London. You can have your pick of people. The bars and apps are swimming with people who are better suited to you, so spread your wings and fly!
The last thing I’ll say is that it only takes a few bad dating experiences to knock your confidence a bit, to the point where you are in danger of settling for less because you’ve forgotten your worth. At this point, you know the dating game has worn you down, and it’s time to take some time out to recharge. By this, I mean spending some time on your own self-care, self-affirmation, ultimately reminding yourself why no-one bar no-one, deserves to drain you of your energy.