15 Dating Tips I Wish I'd Followed While I Was Single

15 Dating Tips for Singles to Learn

The best dating advice for women who are looking for long-lasting love, from a woman who wishes she’d known it herself – a real life story you should read.

She could have accomplished so much more—written novels, started a business, even hiked the Appalachian Trail—if she didn’t waste so much time and energy dating the wrong way. Reflecting on my past dating life, I realize how much I didn’t know and how those missteps shaped me. Still, I often wish I could send some advice back to my younger self.

My journey to finding my husband was filled with serendipity and timing, making me realize that luck plays a significant role in love. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I met him, and by then, I had learned many lessons the hard way. Here are three key pieces of dating advice I wish I’d followed while I was single:


1. Set Your Priorities Straight

Finding a romantic partner should be one of many life goals. There’s a big difference between prioritizing it and becoming obsessed. No one wants to be the Captain Ahab of the dating world, chasing after an elusive goal to their own detriment.

2. Be Clear About What You Want — and Don’t Compromise

If your friends share stories of your crush vomiting after too many drinks, reconsider your interest. Remember, you didn’t enjoy it when your godson threw up on you, and he’s a toddler.

3. Understand What Real Love Is

Love isn’t about proving you’re good enough for someone. It’s about finding someone you can enjoy spending an inordinate amount of time with. It’s about fitting together like puzzle pieces, like Ernie and Bert.

4. Speak Up and Be Authentic

Authenticity is key. Talk about your dreams and goals, and see if your values align. According to dating coaches Orna and Matthew Walters, this is how you create a long-lasting, fulfilling partnership.

5. Protect yourself from being taken advantage of

While everyone has quirks that can be a bit annoying, it’s crucial to recognize behaviors that show a lack of respect. If you wouldn’t tolerate your friend’s partner treating her poorly, don’t accept it for yourself.

6. Seek love in fulfilling places

If spending Saturday nights at the local bar leaves you feeling unfulfilled, it’s unlikely you’ll meet someone who will excite you there. Instead of having another drink to dull the boredom, consider exploring new activities or venues next weekend where you might genuinely enjoy yourself.

Don’t hesitate to go solo if your friends aren’t interested in joining. A bonus tip: you don’t always need to bring your friends along on your outings!

7. Recognize your own value

Stop worrying about potential partners rejecting you for superficial reasons like your weight, height, or other insecurities. You might have to turn them down for something equally trivial, like not sharing your love for a favorite movie. The key is to acknowledge that some people just aren’t the right match for you. The quicker you identify them, the happier you’ll be.

8. Be in tune with your emotions

Understanding your own feelings is essential. As Relationship Coach Tony Vear says, “Feelings are excellent servants but terrible masters.” If you can’t manage your emotions, you’ll struggle to treat others the way they want to be treated. Remember, love is about giving, not just receiving.

9. Enjoy solo adventures

Don’t shy away from going to movies, museums, parks, or concerts alone. Being single means you can follow your own whims without having to compromise. Embrace the freedom and have a great time.

10. Keep first dates in perspective

A first date is just a chance to see if there’s potential for a second one. Analyzing every detail of your first meeting won’t lead to love.

11. Trust a man’s words

If a man tells you he’s too damaged or too neurotic for you, believe him. Even if it’s his low self-esteem talking, you can’t fix him. It’s likely a way of saying he’s not interested.

12. Avoid staying out too late every weekend

Nothing good usually happens after 2 AM. Staying out too late can lead to excessive drinking, and meeting someone while intoxicated rarely leads to a fairytale ending. It often results in a walk of shame.

13. Use technology wisely

While the internet and social media have made dating easier, they also bring risks. Someone you met on a date can easily find you on social media and track your whereabouts. Dating apps are useful, but always be cautious and share your location with a trusted friend when meeting someone new in person.

14. Resist the urge to stalk dates on social media

While social media can help you learn more about someone, it can also fuel insecurities. Don’t fall into the trap of checking out his ex-girlfriends or the accounts he follows. Your mental health is more important than his past relationships.

15. Understand the stages of dating

Familiarize yourself with the stages of dating so you can recognize when things are progressing naturally.

In the first stage, there’s romance and attraction where you are starting to get to know each other. The second stage is when reality sets in where you decide if you want to be together. The third stage is disappointment where things get dicey when you try to work out your differences and find stability.

The fourth stage is stability where you got through the rough waters of stage 3. The final and fifth stage is commitment, which is when you are officially a team with a mature and sustainable love that lasts forever in an ideal world.

Following all five stages will bring you to a healthy long-term relationship. If not, you may be wasting your time.

To be successful at dating, or anything for that matter, you need to have a sense of gratitude. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, a readiness to show appreciation for — and to return — kindness. Why does this matter when it comes to dating? According to Psychology Today, “Studies show that counting our blessings improves psychological, emotional and physical well-being.”

You might think, “What do I have to be grateful for?” Try this exercise to get you in the moment and pay attention to the many things you have in your life to be thankful for. Starting from the moment you awake in the morning.


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