Natasha Silverman, a Relationships Counsellor at Relate, gives her top tips on dating.
Firstly, wanting to be with someone is completely natural. Having the urge to be coupled up and find a significant other to share experiences with is completely natural and so is acting on those feelings. Deciding to actively date can be daunting but it can also be fun. So here are some tips to navigate the dating world safely.
Dating apps are great way to meet people but don’t dismiss meeting people you come across in real life too. People you have class with, sometimes friends and colleagues are great sources for getting introduced to new people.
You don’t always have to wait on the person you like to approach you, if you see someone you like and would like to get to know better, shoot your shot and approach them.
Going to Uni means meeting people from all walks of life which offers the perfect opportunity date people who aren’t your ‘usual type’. Sometimes dating outside of our usual type helps us to explore other sides of ourselves and can help us to discover what and who we are looking for in a partner.
Keep it simple. Day dates tend to take the pressure off for first date – going for a coffee or a walk around the park will give you a chance to really get to know each other.
For a first date, it’s always best to meet somewhere publicly. Be sure to let your housemates or a friend know that you’re going on a date and where you’ll be going and what time you’ll be expecting to be back home. Also, make sure your phone is fully charged so you can check in with them before/after your date.
The saying goes ‘Nobody is you and that’s your power’ which is very true so be yourself not who you think you date wants you to be – the person for you will appreciate you for who you truly are.
Positive body language can help you to connect with your date. Try relaxing your shoulders, this will give the impression that you’re feeling comfortable.
Making eye contact helps you to seem interested and builds trust and nothing beats a smile for helping you appear approachable.
When on your date try and ask questions that don’t require a yes or no answer, e.g question example here, this will help keep the conversation flowing and minimise any awkward silences – it will also help you get to know them better.
Dating is trial and error. You may go on a date with someone you don’t feel a ‘spark’ with or someone you’re just not interested in seeing again and that’s OK, that’s the nature of dating.
If that does happen, letting your date know that you’re not interested in pursuing it any further. You can do this by being kind but assertive and sending them a message after the date – why not try something like:
“Thank you for a lovely date. I just didn’t feel a connection, so I don’t think it’s right to go out again.”
Dating can be so much fun and give you the opportunity to meet new people and try out new activities. It can also help you to understand more about what you do and don’t want in a potential partner. Remember to enjoy yourself and if you find yourself not enjoying it anymore, taking a break from dating is fine too
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