"The pressures of dating stem from the need to uphold a dating mask," Julia Armet, Director of Operations at matchmaking service, Tawkify, tells Bustle. "We all fall into the game of dress-up, with social masks being one of the greatest blocks to establishing true intimacy."
Bustle was on the prowl for ways to stay empowered when dating has you down. They reached out directly and How To Stay Positive While Dating, According To Matchmakers hit the press!
That collaboration is most certainly worth a read, but the unpublished (full inside scoop) from the Tawkify team can only be found here on Heartalytics.
Professional Match Recruiter at Tawkify, Evyenia Trembois:
Dating can be a total drag. It can start to feel like a complete waste of time, the same conversations over and over, and you, sitting there across the table from a relative stranger, wishing you were at home streaming Netflix. But, you keep putting yourself out there, if only because you're hoping that one of these days, you'll meet someone who will make the #firstdatestruggles all worth it.
"There are ways to keep dating fun, magical, exciting, and yes — even empowering."
Dress like you mean it — I find the act of getting ready for a date to be one of the most enjoyable parts. Set aside some time to put on the 90's jams, have a glass of wine, perfect your cat eye, and put on that dress, or top that's been hanging in your closet for a month.
Editor side note: Guys — here are some pre-date preparation tips from Ask Jack to help you feel your best too!
I think too many of us spend too much time trying hard to look like we 'didn't try at all.' I say screw that! Go with the look you want to rock that day, instead of relying on the one that says 'I don't care, I'm super nonchalant about this whole thing.' This goes for men and women of all orientations!
Say it like it is, girl — This one is for the ladies, but if our most recent Male Mind interview rings true, men will appreciate this tip being employed. And honestly, all daters, of all orientations, should be encouraged to ditch the norms and weigh-in throughout the dating process.
So... If you really want to be empowered, speak up! This comes in the form of choosing the date location yourself, picking out a place you've been curious to try, or ending the date early after coming to the conclusion that it's not a match. You don't ever have to stay in a situation that isn't serving you. Women are conditioned to be "polite" in dating situations, even at the cost of our own fun, enjoyment and time. The bottom line is: you really don't owe anyone, anything.
"Have your own back, and do what feels right for you."
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Melissa Roy:
You've got the power — You don't need to be empowered, you already have the power! Don't fall into the trap of thinking that other people have the upper hand over your self worth. You get to choose who you spend time with and who you want to be intimate with. That's what dating is all about!
You're already whole — You are not 'half' of a person looking for someone to complete you, you're looking for someone to complement the amazing person you already are.
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Kimia Mansoor:
Flip the Script — Is dating dragging you down or are you dragging dating down?
Turn inward and reconnect with yourself. Whether that be by getting outdoors, finding ways to reconnect with your faith or spirituality, or even going to therapy — it is important to examine where the loss of motivation is coming from. If you’re losing interest in dating and it's hard to drag yourself out of the house for a date, maybe your body is signaling for more TLC.
"When we care for ourselves, it shows in the form of invigorated confidence."
Reclaim your dating life! Self-care is the name of the game. Make sure you’re taking ample time for body, mind and spirit. Now you're ready to take on the challenges of dating in the modern world!
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Melissa Rogers:
Go on a hiatus — Put your dating apps on a time-out. That's right, forbid yourself from swiping! You might find that the monotony of doing the same thing day-after-day is what's dragging you down. Mix it up and get real. After several days of ditching the screen, you'll feel lighter, brighter and more connected to the here-and-now.
"By day three, you might even discover boosted confidence and more fruitful in-real-life interactions."
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Rémy Boyd:
Channel Queen B — Listen to Beyonce's 'I'm Feelin' Myself,' it's the ultimate "I'm all that" anthem and will shift your mindset to, 'I'm in the driver's seat.' If Queen B isn't your jam, opt for your personal go-to mantra song instead. With this revitalized confidence, take some new pics, redo your dating profiles and start fresh. Be the person you'd want to date and you'll start catching the best fish in the sea. This is the one aspect of dating you can control, so own it!
Slow down — Dating should be light and fun. Relationships are tough!
"You have the rest of your life to get serious."
Exploring options means just that — exploration! Give yourself the opportunity to meet new people as often as possible and create meaningful friendships. The best relationships begin with a solid foundation of friendship. Why? Because there's no pressure in the beginning! Slow down and let love come to you.
Be Bold — If you're interested in someone, ask them out! Let nothing and no one get in your way. Unless they are married (obviously), or in a committed relationship (be sure to ask!), but if they're single — go for it. If you land a date and it goes well, ask for date #2 on the spot. The only thing you get out of not making moves when inspired, is a lost opportunity. The equation is simple — Be bold, ask for what you want = get what you want.
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Marpessa Sanchez-Dominique:
Date Yourself — If and when the dating scene is dragging you down, take time out to 'date' yourself.
"This is the time to reflect, refocus, and revamp!"
Engage in hobbies that you enjoy. Pick up new hobbies like yoga with goats (yes that's a real thing). Hang out with friends and have fun again. (But do not have a bashing fest, boo!).
Strengthen Your Sense of Self Worth — Remember to always stay true to yourself and understand that by dating, you are looking for a potential partner that will be a happy and healthy addition to your life. Reminder: true happiness starts from within.
Anything worth having likely didn't come easy — Be patient. Don't be too hard on yourself if it doesn't pan out. That may just be a blessing in disguise. Instead, stay positive and open-minded as much as possible for the next chance.
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Dorothy Stover:
Turn it up — Music feeds the soul. Always have a solid pump-you-up dance mix at the ready.
Dress it up — I agree with Evyenia on this point. Looking your best can turn anything around! Dress for yourself.
"Dress in clothes that are tailor-made for you, literally."
Consider a custom suit and/or bring your favorite pieces to the local seamstress for little nips and tucks that make all the difference. Give yourself that awesome gift and watch the blues melt away.
Flirt it up — Make eye contact and smile at people on the street, coffeeshops and anywhere you go. You'll see the energy around you change for the better. Eye contact and a genuine smile doesn't only make you feel good, it also makes you more approachable. You never know whose eye you might catch! I've suggested this to many clients and friends — I often hear back that it led to unexpected (but pleasing) introductions.
You'll stand out in the crowd with this approach, especially in a big city where people don't typically make eye-contact with their neighbors (much less that random coffeeshop cutie, wink wink!).
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Linda Curtin:
Get real — Two words to end dating dreariness: openness and realism. There are countless ways to learn, grow and move toward the type of relationship you seek. You can't control the outcomes and perceptions of every new person you meet. You only have control over how (and if) you portray your genuine self. "Rejection is protection!" You don't need a dozen partners, you only need one! Stay positive, learn, persevere and embrace the dating experience.
"Your dating journey is as unique as you are, so set some goals, define a few boundaries, and then accept where those take you."
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Sophy Singer:
Stop the clock — Take control of your time. Shut down the endless texting sagas that lead nowhere. Create rules and stick to them. Shut down app conversations by saying: "Hey, I'm really busy during the day at work and unable to text. Also, I prefer to connect over the phone or in-person with someone new. Here's my number if you'd like to connect." After that, go old school. The ball is in his/her court. By doing this you set a great precedent — you're not looking for a texting pen pal, but for real-life connections.
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Melody Kiersz:
Dating is a numbers game — just because you haven't met someone yet or things didn't work out, it doesn't mean that's not right around the corner. Another useful reminder: if someone didn't work out, it's not because you weren't good enough or pretty enough or thin enough or smart enough. It just wasn't the right person for you, and it doesn't make you any less worthy of love.
Life is calling — Cultivating a life outside of dating is essential. Obviously dating should be a priority for people who want a relationship, but it shouldn't take over our whole lives! Is every conversation you have with friends about men or women? Do you think about 'forever after' more than you think about your career, your goals, your family? If you've answered yes to these questions, of course you're drained!
"Not only do you want to be a well-rounded human being and have a full life, but organizing your entire life around the securement of a relationship prevents you from realizing that life is wonderful!"
Go out with friends, have some fun, recharge and be ready for more dating when you've completed a full dating detox.
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Caitlin D'Aprano, agrees with Melody:
Do things that make you feel happy. Create goals you want to work towards — self-esteem is built by the things we achieve not the number of boyfriends we've secured! Focus on the positive things that you can bring to a relationship and the positives of being single. Make an effort to meet one new person a week, a friend, a flame, an anybody!
"Don't be attached to a specific outcome, be in-the-moment with people you meet — you will attract quality people who are naturally drawn to you."
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, Kate O'Connor:
I went on a horrible date recently that turned my world upside down. He was wrong on every level possible and I didn't understand how I missed the mark so badly. I questioned myself for the first time in a long time... what am I doing? I was upset that I had spent so much time and energy on someone who was so off. Since I'm a matchmaker, this is naturally something I give myself an ever harder time on.
The best thing I did after that date was give myself a week to recover, which reinforces both Sophy's and Melissa's tips. I didn't use online dating apps for one week and it saved me. I reflected on what I wanted to learn about a person before meeting them for the first date. I set "comfort expectations" with myself so I don't need to worry about missing the marks in major ways again — I think this speaks to my colleague Lily's new article about Swiping With Intention.
I also treated myself for a day — I agree that self-care truly is the name of the game, Kimia! Lastly, I talked to my girlfriends about my dating life and asked them for advice.