• Dating can feel like a minefield, perhaps especially today with the prevalence of dating apps

  • Life coach Michelle Elman offers her five dating tips to help you avoid dating fatigue

1. How you meet doesn’t matter

We place too much emphasis on how we meet each other. I know romcoms promote this idea of the meet-cute and we all want that head-over-heels story that sounds really romantic. I would know, my parents met on an airplane when my mum was the stewardess and my dad was the passenger. A gift from duty free later and they are still together 30 years later! 

Unfortunately now, more often than not, your dating origin story will start on a dating app and I might be biased because I met my boyfriend on an app, but I truly believe they can be just as funny or just as cute… even if they aren’t as unique or original!

2. First dates are low stakes

You are meeting a stranger after all! Stop trying to impress them and start looking at your own requirements and seeing if they fit what you are looking for. 

If you are dating enough, you’ll stop placing so much pressure on the first date. This is why it’s important to keep first dates short and sweet and low investment. If you decide to go for dinner and you have decided you aren’t interested but you have two more courses to come, that’s when we start becoming resentful of first dates wasting our time. Stick to a quick drink or coffee and you can thank them for meeting and be on your way!

3. Be direct about your needs

Gone are the days of trying to fulfil that ‘cool girl’ stereotype. You aren’t needy just because you have needs. Stand firm behind what you expect and if that puts them off, let them be turned off. Better you know sooner than later. 

When you are clear and direct, you set a precedent for holding your boundaries and trust me, that’s a lot easier than trying to rewrite a dynamic after it’s been established. If you pretend to be more easy going or low maintenance than you are, that is an act you won’t be able to keep up forever so you might as well be honest from the get-go and when you are honest, you give them permission to be as well!

4. Ghosting is a reflection of them

If you date enough, you will be ghosted. Unfortunately it is a consequence of a culture that hides behind technology and we weren't given the tools to have the hard conversations when we need to. It is cowardly and cruel and it has nothing to do with you. If they have ghosted you, they’ve done it before and without self-awareness, they will do it again. 

Make it a dealbreaker of yours. You don’t want to give someone the chance to ghost you twice. Now, it is the most off-putting thing that someone I am dating can do. It is such an instant turn off that I would never entertain anything with that person again. Even if they reappear – which they often do! 

5. Just because it ends doesn’t mean it’s a failure

Whether it lasted one date or twenty, it is always painful when something ends. Every experience should be taken for all it’s worth though and there is always an opportunity for growth and learning. Let it hurt, feel the pain and stop invalidating your feelings because ‘it was only one date’. If it hurts, let it hurt and give yourself permission to take as much time as you need to heal and then sit down with a pen and paper and milk the whole experience for every lesson that you got out of your time together.

Michelle Elman is a life coach and the author of The Selfish Romantic

Further reading

Watch our interview with Michelle on boundaries

Why do I push away the people I love?

Relationships and love: are they really hard to find?

What's at the root of love addiction?

Toxic relationship warning signs to look out for