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By now, we are deep into Hot Girl Summer, a phrase famously coined by Megan Thee Stallion (an icon) that means feeling our most confident and having as much fun as possible during the summer months. But when it comes to dating (which includes endlessly swiping on apps, first dates that go nowhere, and the occasional ghoster here and there), it does not always feel like the fun, exciting life that Sex and the City made us believe. Sometimes, dating can feel lonely, disappointing, and even just…exhausting. But this is your reminder that dating doesn’t have to be all those things—in fact, it should be fun.
On this week’s episode of The Everygirl Podcast, I sat down with Social Media Coordinator, Andi Wynter, for a Happy Hour chat because she is living Hot Girl Summer better than anyone I know (#sliving, as Paris Hilton would say). We talk about what she looks for on dating apps (and what makes her say “thank u, next”), her worst date stories, and how to stay confident while dating so that you actually enjoy the process. Spoiler alert: Her dating tips were too good not to share. Listen to the full episode, and read on for three secrets we talked about to upgrade your dating life.
1. Make a list of red flags
Many of us know what we want. For me, it’s someone who plays guitar, is good with babies, and maybe loosely resembles Zac Efron circa 2007’s Hairspray or Michael Ealy in the Halo music video, but I don’t want to get too specific. Of course, it’s good to know what you want, like you want someone who is respectful, makes you feel good about yourself, and is not a racist/homophobic/misogynist/[insert all other -ists and -ics here]. But knowing what you don’t want—AKA your red flags—can be helpful in deciding if people are worth spending more time with and may take less time to identify than figuring out if they’re checking the boxes of what you do want.
For example, if your red flags are not taking initiative (I deserve to be wooed, TYVM), saying degrading things about other people (immediately no), or being against therapy (in 2022!?), you’ll know what questions to ask or what to look out for at the very beginning so you can avoid wasting your time (see point #3). Make your own list of red flags when going into dates and get as specific as possible so you have more clarity on what you need to feel happy, secure, and fulfilled while spending time with another person, and know how to spot it more easily.
2. Date in a way that’s best for you
There are now thousands of ways to date and meet new people, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them all—or use the same app or style of dating as your friends. If you like dating apps because you enjoy talking with new people you probably wouldn’t meet otherwise, download Bumble, Hinge, Tinder, or whatever your niche, and get swiping, totally shame-free. On the flip side, if you hate the small talk and dating apps feel stressful, don’t feel like you have to use them because it seems like everybody else is (being set up by a mutual friend or meeting someone in your class/gym/book club works too).
Maybe you love a good old-fashioned dinner date, or maybe you feel less pressure and have more fun if it’s sightseeing in your city or going for a walk. It’s OK if you want just a hookup buddy, and it’s also OK if you’re interested in just learning about someone’s personality. Bottom line: Date in a way that feels most fun and enjoyable to you–think outside of the box, do something different, and make your own “rules.”
3. Prioritize and protect yourself
We’ve all been there: The three-course date we know isn’t going anywhere, but we stay through dessert, wanting nothing more than to be at home in our pajamas, eating a tub of vegan cookie dough, and watching Real Housewives. But why do we waste our precious time with people or in situations we don’t truly want to be a part of? This only leads to dating burnout. Sure, sometimes it takes time to get to know if sparks are going to fly, but if your date ends up being rude or you just know you don’t want to spend time with this person, you can (and should) kindly and graciously bow out to protect your time and prioritize yourself first and foremost.
Lastly (and more importantly), focus on what you want, not being wanted. Stop spending your time thinking about whether or not they like you, want to see you again, think you’re attractive, or whether you’re coming off charming or awkward (I get it, it’s a fine line). Instead, think about if you like them: if you want to see them again, are attracted to them, and how you feel when you’re with them. PSA: The point of dating is finding out what you want, not becoming what other people want.