An ex-boyfriend once told me that when it comes to love, Sagittarius are always looking for someone better, and he felt like that was definitely true of me. At the time, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that was only the case because I was dating his dumb ass. But I will admit that casually dating and going out with many people is appealing to me because it lets me weigh my options and get to know someone better before I commit.
I am not a serial dater. I guess that’s all comparative, but I have probably been on less than 20 dates with guys I have met on an app. However, I have multiple friends who are now married to men they met that way, and I think it can honestly be a great way to widen the dating pool, especially once you get out of college. Yes, there are horror stories, and it can be a little awkward especially at first, but it can also be really fun and who knows? You could meet the love of your life. At the least, you will have some great stories. To help you out in your dating app quest, I’ve compiled some tips and advice. And don’t worry, if dating five guys at once sounds exhausting (and it can be) you can totally just take it slow and these tips will still be super helpful.
Which App You Use Does Make a Difference:
I’ve tried Tinder, Bumble and Hinge. In my experience, Tinder was a sea of Catfish and ex-cons (seriously-one guy I talked to had just gotten out of prison for Meth after two years At least he was honest). Bumble seemed to be kind of on the f*ckboy side but decent, and I liked Hinge best. Every guy I met on Hinge was interesting, kind, and seemed to want a real relationship with someone. So if you’re looking for a boyfriend, I’d say try Hinge. Hot arm candy for your friend’s wedding? Bumble. And if you’re seeking your very own stalker, Tinder’s got you girl.
There Is No Shame in the Casual Dating Game
Don’t lie to anyone, but you also don’t need to share your dating details. It’s kind of an unspoken “don’t ask/don’t tell” rule, and until you have that conversation with someone, you should assume they’re dating around as well. I will say that I personally think you should stick to just one slumber party partner, but as long as you’re being safe and honest, that’s your decision. To keep things from being tricky or awkward, remember you are CASUALLY dating. You are not having four simultaneous boyfriends. Keep texting between dates minimal. Don’t ask someone to do your boyfriend-type tasks (helping you move, walking your dog), and if you think he’s going too fast, don’t be scared to pump the breaks a bit. The sooner you set that precedent, the better. It’s much harder to move backwards in a relationship, so if you move slowly in the first place, you shouldn’t have to.
Let Him Ask You Out
I’ll keep the conversation going for a few days in the App, but if he still hasn’t asked me out, I won’t be making the first moves anymore. Maybe I’m jaded, but if a guy’s already being lazy about meeting me, I just know we probably won’t work out. If you really want to meet up with him, and you’re thinking maybe he’s just shy, then go for it. But don’t be the only one putting in effort. If he’s not putting in effort, don’t take it personal and just move on. He could be busy, or he could be married. You don’t know and it doesn’t really matter.
Treat It Like an Audition Process & Be Efficient
You’re a catch and because you’re a catch, you’ve got a million other things to do other than pine over men who just want to Netflix and chill. Be efficient with your dating. Line up three dates the first week (any more than that is exhausting. Trust me). If the guy wants you to pick the spot, pick a place that’s easy for you. That way if it goes bad, you can get into your pajamas and on your couch ASAP. Pick out your date outfit (here's some of our favorites) and wear it to every single first date (Febreeze it in between). Hey! Don’t Judge! Do you really want to have to pick out three DIFFERENT I-didn’t-even-try-to-look-this-cute-I-just-naturally-am outfits? Ain’t nobody got time for that. The second week have your call-backs with whoever made it to a second round. Just don’t forget to pick a new outfit this week. Confession: I also keep notes in my phone and review them before our dates so that I don’t get things confused. I know I am not the only one who does this, even if no one else will admit it. I have a terrible memory and I don’t want to ask Shane again about his sister in New York when he only has a brother who lives in Ohio.
Set Up Your Escape Plan Even Before the Date Starts
Drinks or coffee are always a great first meet up because you won’t get stuck there for too long if you don’t want to be. Scheduling all these dates gets a bit tricky. If he suggests a night that you’re already booked, just leave it at “I can’t.” Then, follow up with a few dates and times that DO work for you. Maybe casually bring up another commitment you have early the next morning or later in the evening, but be enthusiastic about wanting to meet him. He could be great and he put himself out there enough to ask you out, so that’s already more than lots of guys. For example “I can’t meet up Wednesday, but I’d love to meet up for drink Friday night before I have to go to a friend’s Birthday thing” or “I have to get up early Monday morning, but are you free to grab a coffee Sunday evening?” Then if the date isn’t going well, you can dip out early to prepare for your Monday morning meeting etc.
Show Up Early
Not because this is like a job interview, but because you’re trying to avoid that terrible do we shake hands/hug/awkward wave kind of dance that happens when you meet these people and you’re both standing up. It’s seriously the worst part in my opinion. Get there early and get seated so you can say hi like a normal human being and avoid all of that other mess. This doesn’t work in reverse always. If you’re late, there’s a chance he will be a gentleman and stand up when you come to sit down, or, God forbid, be waiting at the front of the restaurant for you, so you have to do this awkward dance while the hostess stares at you pityingly.
Be Smart and Safe
Bottom line, you probably don’t know these guys. You may have mutual friends, but still…drive yourself to the date or Uber. Don’t meet him at his house. Don’t go the bathroom and leave your drink unattended (tip: go to the bathroom in-between drinks if it’s weird to take yours with you). Tell a friend where you’ll be. From personal experience, maybe don’t even tell him where you live exactly until date three. Sometimes a guy’s crazy doesn’t emerge until the end of date two and no one wants to come home to Romeo on the doorstep after you already told him you weren't feeling it.
Don’t Offer to Pay if the Date is Going Badly
I always feel bad when I know I’m not going to see a guy again, and so I used to offer to split the bill until one guy called me out and said “I’ll let you split the bill with me if you promise to go on a second date with me.” It was incredibly awkward, but like bro set himself up for a lose/lose situation. No, I won’t go on a second date, and so I guess I also won’t be splitting the bill...
Give It a Second Date
First dates are always weird, unless they’re not, and that can be a red flag too. Every “too good to be true” guy I’ve ever met was exactly that. So, your date talked too much about himself, or he didn’t talk much at all, or you aren’t sure if there was chemistry? He may have been nervous. If you’re unsure give it a second try, but not a third. Sometimes the best kind of chemistry takes a little while to build.
Don’t Overthink the Sex Thing
If you want to have sex with him after the second date, do it. If you don’t, don’t. There are no rules (other than please for the love of Teen Mom wrap it up!) and nothing you do really will change the outcome. You can’t convince a f*ckboy to become boyfriend material by withholding sex, but he also won’t like you more if you do sleep with him. If that’s what he is, that’s what he is. If sleeping with a guy will upset you if there’s not an emotional attachment, then don’t do it unless you’re really sure there is. If on the other hand, a guy is really into you, sleeping with him pretty early won’t make him think you aren’t “girlfriend material” and waiting awhile won’t scare him off. If a guy’s into you, he’s into you not just your great boobs, and he’ll respect whatever you want. If he doesn’t, you’re really much better off without him. You don’t owe anyone anything. Just remember that.
If you just weren’t into the guy, don’t ignore him ‘til the end of time. It’s disrespectful and it’s terrible karma. No one deserves that: not even the guy who spent all of dinner bragging about the cost of his dress shirts and mansplaining how a motorcycle works even when you told him you grew up riding one. Be honest and don’t lead them on, but don’t be mean. The next time he asks you out, say “I’m sorry. I enjoyed meeting you, but I just didn’t feel a spark, and I don’t want to waste your time.” Now, I once had a guy say, “When I’m camping, I don’t normally get a spark the first time I hit two rocks together” and this is why I say GO ON A SECOND DATE, so no guy can ever use this witty masterful response on you. Sometimes they get mean “Well, I wasn’t that into you either, I was just looking for a quick lay.” Don’t respond. Silence is the best way to let their petty bullshit scream its truth.
Have Fun with It
Like I said, if nothing else, you’ll have some free dinners and funny stories to tell your kids one day. Best case, you’ll find your life partner in crime. Some of the dates I went out on were with really interesting fun guys who I might not have ever met in real life, and I got to do some really fun stuff I normally never would have done. Get out of your comfort zone lady, and you may discover some things or people you’re actually really into.