Dating advice that will change your love life

Dating these days can be like navigating a minefield! What constitutes a red flag? Is meeting people online better than meeting them in the wild? I sat down with my good friend Danni Pryse, a modern day love guru and dating expert to talk about dating tips and tricks.

I’ve spent enough time with Danni to know that she has some amazing insider knowledge up her sleeve, especially after I first heard some of her dating tips when we were on a trip together in Hong Kong. I’ve been looking forward to sharing her wisdom with all of you for some time now, so let’s dive straight in!

As an aspiring psychologist, Danni had a natural interest in human behaviour. When she first moved to Sydney she was newly single and dating scared her – it felt uncomfortable and unnatural, so she was determined to get to the point where it no longer felt like a fear. She went on a mission to go on a bunch of first dates and meet a lot of new people, in order to overcome her fear and unlearn her discomfort.

Social media and the digital era has really changed the way that we date now, to the point where research needs to be current and up-to-date if it’s going to be helpful at all. Because it’s all so new, we don’t have a lot of research or material out there that can help us. What we do have, however, is our own experiences and stories.

Danni likens dating in 2020 to being on The Bachelor (“only you don’t know the other contestants and there’s no rose ceremony to be eliminated – you just get ghosted or you ghost them!”). For every person that you are talking to you, Danni says you should assume that they are talking to 12 others. It might come off as an exaggeration, but it can sometimes be the case!

Regardless of that, so long as you are comfortable with who you are and what you want, date consciously and do everything you can to make it a positive experience, then dating can be less about the stress and more about the fun!

Danni spoke to us in-depth about her top 3 dating rules, which are all surefire ways to make the most out of first dates. “These rules are put in place to be more efficient with time, and you know, no one likes to waste their time”, she says. When you go on a first date, if things turn pear-shaped you can quickly start to feel down on yourself for all the effort you’ve put in and how much you’ve hyped yourself up. It can quickly turn from just a bad date to “why did I even bother putting makeup on?!” or “I could be in bed reading right now!”. These dating rules exist so that no matter what, if you’ve invested time and energy into going on a first date, you can make sure it’s going to be as positive an experience as possible.

1. The Prime Real Estate Rule

We work really hard, don’t have a lot of spare time and many of us struggle to fit our weekly routines in around work – let alone dating and getting to know someone! It’s so important to have “me time” before you can have dating time. This rule is all about allocating nights of the week that are most valuable to you, to you. That’s your prime real estate, girl! Think about the nights of the week that are most valuable to you, so maybe Fridays or Saturdays. They’re busy nights where you usually have a lot on, get invited out by friends, have family obligations. If not, they’re great nights to just sit at home by yourself with some sage, maybe a glass of wine and some Netflix to recharge. These important nights shouldn’t be invested in first dates that could potentially be a waste of time – no one wants to be out on Friday night thinking, “I have just wasted my entire Friday night! I found out in the first 5 minutes that I’m never going to see this person again, what a waste!”. This rule will prevent that feeling of Friday night FOMO from happening, and when you think about it there’s four or five other nights of the week where you wouldn’t usually be doing too much anyway – so, you haven’t got so much to lose. It’s an efficiency hack!

2. The Proximity Venue Rule

This one’s all about how far from your house you’ve booked the date. As sexy as it is when a guy takes control and says, “this is where we’re going and this is what time”, the first date is where you have to step in (seriously, there is nothing more unattractive than when a guy says “I don’t know, wherever you want to go…”).

If you pick a venue in close proximity to your house that you love – maybe it’s your fave local place with great ambience or lovely staff – then if your date is a dud, you’ve only gone 300 meters up the road, and you can still sit there and say you’ve spent your night well. Of course, make sure your date doesn’t know that you live nearby! Even if the person you’re sitting across from isn’t your ideal date, at least everything else about your night has been fun.

3. The One Drink, No Dinner Rule

Never agree to go on a dinner date for the first date – you usually know within the first five minutes of meeting someone whether you are interested or not in getting to know them. The last thing you want to do is think, “okay, I never want to see this person again” before the entree even arrives!

This isn’t too bad if you’re an avid conversationalist. If you find that you’re the type of person who can always find things to talk about, you won’t struggle with conversation so much and might still find common ground with whoever you’re talking to.

So no dinner – but one drink! You might want to go to a bar that is ambient, somewhere with really good energy where you feel comfortable. Never order a bottle of wine, always just order a glass. When you organize the date, make sure you say “it’ll be great to catch up for a glass of wine or two” – be careful with your wording! When you get there and you’ve ordered your one glass, by the time you finish it you’ll usually know whether you want to invest more time into getting to know them (or whether you want to get the hell out of there).

If you order your glass of wine and you find that you’re not compatible or you’re not wanting to spend more time there, then it’s easy to end the date there because you’ve fulfilled your earlier comment – “a glass of wine or two”. 

While they might seem like a different approach to dating, these rules are fantastic for everyone (no matter if you’re a man or a woman), because it means you are holding yourself and your time to a high standard – a standard you DESERVE! No one should be wasting their time, and everyone’s time is valuable. The dating world can be wild and unpredictable at times – so we all deserve to make the most of it!

What happens when you sit down with someone and you don’t see it going anywhere…but they do? Should you be honest and give them your feedback, or maybe tell a white lie to save face? Let’s talk about how to handle all the nitty gritty situations on first dates, and make the best out of any dating situation!

Rejecting Someone

It’s always difficult trying to let someone down easy, especially if you can tell that they’re quite invested in seeing you again. Oftentimes the situation may call for honesty on the spot, but sometimes the whole reason it’s not working out is because there’s a disconnect in the way you communicate with them anyway. In this case, Danni recommends to consider waiting until you’re home, then communicating afterwards via text if necessary – that way, it comes across as a polite and considered rejection (even if you knew from the start it was a no-go!). That being said, some people do find rejections over text “rude” – but, if you’re not interested in pursuing things with someone, there’s a low likelihood that you can (or even want to) communicate in a more “proper” way with them anyway.

When you’re ready to leave the date you can thank them, add in a comment that reminds them you’ve fulfilled what you agreed to –“That was a lovely glass of wine” – and then go home. Use your best judgement on how to handle the rejection here. Sometimes you might feel it’s better to be upfront and say, “Hey, tonight was lovely but I just didn’t really feel a spark”.

There’s no blanket rule on how to handle rejecting someone – you have to feel it in the moment and read it in the person, and take it on a case-by-case basis.

On the flipside, if you go on dates you do need to be able to cope with someone not being interested. If you look for jobs, you won’t get every job you apply for – being turned down is a part of the process.

What else can you do for a first date other than get a drink?

You have to learn what you do and don’t like. Your boundaries are important here, and the more dates you go on the more comfortable and clear you will become with what those boundaries are for you. A very common date idea which is by and large quite safe is, “let’s meet up for a coffee”. It’s a cute, quick meet in broad daylight, and you don’t have to stay longer than just one coffee.

Staying over is an interesting one! Again, it’s all about what you’re comfortable doing. Danni advises to think about the practical and logistical implications of staying over. Keep in mind that the next morning you will wake up in someone else’s house, without your toothbrush, without your makeup, looking however you typically look in the morning – which, let’s be honest, not many of us totally love the idea of our hot new date seeing us with tangled hair and morning breath! Even if you look amazing no matter what, it’s just the feeling that it brings. If you’re at a stage where you’re totally comfortable with this, then of course go for it – that’s the main priority, to be aware of what you’re comfortable with and what you aren’t. If you don’t feel comfortable on your date it’s going to show no matter how much you try to hide it. You’ll be focused on that instead of on getting to know the other person better, so why even bother?! Always make sure you’re in an environment that’s comfortable for you or don’t do it at all, and make no apologies for that!

Tinder vs. IRL

A lot of people try to stay away from dating apps and sites because they prefer to meet people “In the wild”, but it doesn’t come without its own downsides.

When you’re out with your girlfriends, it’s so important that you want to be there for you and your friends. If you put the focus on trying to seek out a man when you’re having a night out, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment – it’s not good to be actively seeking it out. It’s good to be open-minded, but you don’t want the enjoyment of your night to be reliant on whether or not you meet a great guy.

If you still like to be “on the hunt”, hunt consciously! Make it clear to yourself when you’re on the prowl versus when you’re out to have a good time with friends, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on either.

Want more info on how to accelerate your dating life and find your soulmate? Get in touch for 1:1 coaching with me!

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