No matter what age you are, dating isn’t an easy thing. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in a relationship already, learning how to love another person is something we spend our whole lives figuring out.
If dating is something new to you, here are a few dos and don’ts to help you get started. If you’re experienced already, take these as reminders :)
DO: focus on building strong friendships
A good friendship is a safe place to share who you are with someone. Being friends is a great way to get to know a potential partner and to start building trust with them, which is a huge foundation in romantic relationships. If you already know you share similar interests, values or passions, transitioning from a friendship to a relationship won’t be as difficult if you’re already compatible as friends.
Also, pay attention to what you look for in a good friend. Oftentimes the traits you look for will be similar to the ones you look for in a boyfriend.
DON’T: rush. Take your time!
In dating, everyone has a path to take that is unique to them. Just because the people around you have experienced certain things at their age and you haven’t doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you. Everyone is different and there’s no right or wrong time to start dating. If you are feeling left out though, that’s totally understandable! It’s alright to feel a bit lonely if you’re the only single friend when the people around you are in relationships.
However, don’t let the fear of being single influence you into dating someone you’re not actually that into. Life is short so save your energy for the people you truly enjoy being around. When that special someone does arrive, it’ll be that much more exciting and fulfilling.
DO: be honest and trust your gut
Honesty is a good policy in all areas of life but especially in relationships. If you want to share yourself with someone, be prepared to share what’s going on in your mind and heart. This starts right at the beginning when you’re getting to know someone. For example, if you enjoy hanging out with a boy and you want to see him again, tell him!
If you’re about to enter a relationship, be open with the person about your expectations and how you feel. Ask yourself a few questions as well and be honest. Do you feel comfortable opening up to this person? Are you ready to give them a portion of your time each week? Whether you’re feeling hesitant or confident, don’t ignore your feelings. And remember: no one knows what’s going on in your head except you, so make sure you let them know!
DON’T: be afraid to ask your family and friends for advice
If you’re not sure how you feel about a potential guy in your life, your family and friends are a great place to turn to because they see things that you can’t. If you’re hoping to date someone, the people around you will notice how they affect you. Ask those people: how does this person affect me? Do we make each other better? Do you have any concerns about the two of us? Their answers will go a long way in challenging or confirming how you feel.
DO: make mistakes.
As we mentioned earlier, dating isn’t easy. You may have to date a few people before you find someone right for you, or you might get it right on your first try! Either way, that’s just part of your unique journey. Making mistakes is inevitable and uncomfortable but they’re necessary to help us learn along the way. So don’t sweat and have fun!