Below, to prepare for the (figuratively) hottest day of the year, real-life single women shared some personal rules, tips, and advice they live by in order to navigate the dating hustle.
Can you hack dating? Based on these tips, you can certainly try.
Swipe in the a.m.
“Only use dating apps for 30 minutes in the morning before work. You’ll avoid the time-suck of mid-day swiping, and you’ll learn which potential suitors are up at a decent hour.” —Sarah L., 34, teacher
Have standards—but know when to relax them
“I have a note in my phone that says ‘Keep your standards in your back pocket.’ Since I’m only dating casually, I’m learning not to expect everyone I go out with to meet the criteria I’d have for an actual relationship. Maybe I wouldn’t want a boyfriend who won’t get a job because he wouldn’t have time for his indie band, but that’s no reason to turn down a one- (or three-) night stand with him. It’s not lowering your standards—just learning you don’t have to apply them in every situation.” —Alex F., 28, programmer
Say "hey" (back)
“Don’t ignore guys on Tinder just because they messaged you ‘Hey’ or ‘What’s up?’ When I first joined, I turned down anyone who didn’t have anything more creative or specific to say. Now that I’ve been on the app for awhile, I’m level-headed enough to know that someone should not be expected to create an individualized message for every avatar on a dating site. I actually feel like I missed out on a lot of good dates, in retrospect.” —Asmaan, 29, video editor
Schedule your weekends mindfully
“Save weekends for those who’ve earned them. There’s too much to cram into Saturday and Sunday to spend it with some rando. If I do end up spending a weekend afternoon with someone new, I’ll ask them if they want to run some errands with me. That’s what couples do on weekends anyway, so it’s kind of a test-run for what a relationship might be like with the person. (Plus, I get the errands done.)” —Beth R., 29, union organizer
Recruit some pawsome backup
“After I spend the night with someone for the first time (assuming it goes well), I usually suggest a walk in the park near my apartment that has off-leash dog hours in the morning. It’s a fun way to avoid an uncomfortable morning-after routine, and you learn a lot about someone by seeing how they interact with dogs.” —Christina W., 33, nurse
Screen your dates
“If [prospective dates] try starting a conversation over texts before we actually go out, I ask them to give me a call. I’m the CEO of a company—why waste my time and blow-dry my hair and go out with someone I can’t talk to? Obviously I’ve had conversations with people on the phone that are great, then met them and wanted jump out the window. But still, if you can hold a five-minute phone conversation, that’s a good start.” —Alissa B., 32, CEO of Phat Buddha
Stick to a uniform
“This is my first-date uniform as a thirty-something: Nice hair, nice minimal makeup, a clean face. A V-neck or a crewneck, long-sleeve, that only shows off a little bit of cleavage. Or a skinny lace tank with a leather or jean jacket. Even if that’s not your style, it’s really important to remember that this person doesn’t know who you are yet. You’re showing them who you are.” —Alissa B.
“Anyone who thinks they have a dating hack is fooling themselves.” —Anne O., 28, graphic designer
Originally published on June 30, 2018; updated on August 18, 2018.
Need more intel to navigate the Wild West of dating? Here are the new rules of courtship, according to relationship experts. And here's how to make sure you're sending the right vibes with your body language.
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