*If you’ve ever had a date like any of the following, you’re one of the many singles questioning why you even bother.
- He talked about his ex all night.
- She wrote out a list of her favorite jewelers and handed it to you, “just in case.”
- He said you reminded him of his mother, whom he still lives with.
- She said she has daddy issues but doesn’t take issue with it.
Bad date stories abound (just flip through the pages of Cosmopolitan). One after another, you set up the dates just to watch them crumble. It’s these days when it seems impossible to find a decent, sane person. Forget about finding a soulmate.
There have to be other ways to get to know someone that don’t end in disappointment, right? If you’ve had enough of failing to find love again and again, here is a guide to alternative, fun and insightful dating approaches that circumvent traditional notions about how dating should work.
Be Charitable, Together
When you do something kind for someone who cannot pay you back, you get a goodness buzz that’s hard to ignore. If you want to see the best in someone you are going to date, recommend that you meet at a homeless shelter to help serve food or at a local pet rescue to help with the animals. Not only will you be able to gauge how your date feels about giving for the sake of goodness, but completing charity acts together is said to strengthen your relationship.
Get Out of the Bar
Trying to get to know someone in a crowded bar, or in a creepy dive can be a waste of time. The environment is either too loud for decent conversation, or too seedy to get a proper drink. Either way, you’re likely to leave the date a little disappointed and possibly, a lot drunk.
For a change, try getting to know a potential partner by attending an event together related to a common interest — an art expo, an R&B band, a wine-tasting event. An activity you are both intrigued by will create a buffer between you, allowing you to learn about each other through your responses to the activity you enjoy. He likes the artwork of Banksy? She digs Pharrell Williams? You both love pinot noir? The pressure of a one-on-one date is somewhat alleviated when the focus is not solely on the two of you. There’s a common interest to discuss.
Take the Five Love Languages Quiz
This isn’t a first date conversation, but it’s certainly something to discuss a few dates in. The Five Love Languages is a theory developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, known for his many years in service of marital counselling. Chapman asserts that we each have a primary language of love. The goal is to understand and anticipate your partner’s language before taking the relationship into more serious territory.
The five languages are: acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, and quality time. Chances are, you and your date will not speak the same love language. Men and women very different concerning what is important to them in relationships, but what’s important is that you learn to speak each other’s languages.
For example, men who discover that their partner interprets gift giving as an act of love would deepen the relationship by giving her surprise flowers tailored to her preferences. A woman who understands that her man needs acts of service to feel validated can rolls up her sleeves and get to digging in the garden with her man.
You don’t have to give up on love just because you’ve had a run of bad luck recently. Your Denzel could still be out there, but Denzel probably will want to do something more interesting than bar hopping. Keep an open and creative mind, and don’t let yourself get boxed in to the same dating disasters over and over again.