Life Advice



Navigating modern dating: Tips and realities

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

As a dating coach, I’ve seen the landscape of modern dating evolve at a dizzying pace. From swiping right on Tinder to sending a Super Like on Bumble, the way we meet and connect with potential partners has dramatically changed. But while the methods may be new, the fundamentals of finding a meaningful connection remain important as ever.

Here’s a deep dive into the world of modern dating and how to navigate it successfully.

The Paradox of Choice

One of the most significant changes in modern dating is the sheer volume of choices available. With countless dating sites, you can meet people from all walks of life with a few taps on your phone. However, this abundance of choice often leads to the paradox of choice—where having too many options makes it harder to make a decision and leaves people less satisfied with the decisions they ultimately make. (The concept was popularized by psychologist Barry Schwartz, if you want to read more on it.)

Many people find themselves endlessly swiping, always wondering if the next person might be a better match. My advice? Set some parameters for yourself. Decide on the qualities that are truly important to you and focus on those. Remember, no one is perfect, and sometimes, the pursuit of perfection can be the enemy of the good.

Authenticity is Key

In the era of curated Instagram feeds and filtered selfies, authenticity can sometimes feel like a rare commodity. However, being genuine is more important than ever. When crafting your dating profile, be honest about who you are and what you’re looking for. Avoid clichés like “I love to travel” or “I’m looking for my partner in crime.” Instead, share specific details that make you unique.

For example, instead of saying you love to travel, mention your favorite travel destination and why you loved it. If you’re passionate about cooking, talk about your signature dish. These details not only make your profile stand out but also give potential matches something to connect with.

Communication is Everything

Good communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, and this starts from your very first interaction. When you match with someone, take the time to send a thoughtful message. I know it might seem overly time-consuming, but it’ll be worth it. Mention something from their profile that caught your eye or ask a question that invites a meaningful response.

Once you’re in a conversation, be present and engaged. Listen (well, through your screen) actively and respond thoughtfully. And ask questions back. (This is the bane of many online daters’ existence… people who reply but don’t engage.) Avoid falling into the trap of texting endlessly without ever meeting in person. While texting is convenient, it can’t replace the connection that comes from face-to-face interaction.


Navigating the First Date

The first date is your chance to see if the online connection translates into real-life chemistry. Choose a location that’s conducive to conversation, like a coffee shop or a casual restaurant. Keep the date relatively short—an hour or two is perfect for a first meeting. This way, if you don’t click, it’s not a significant time commitment. And if you do click, you’ll have something to look forward to next time.

Remember to approach the first date with an open mind and a positive attitude. It’s normal to feel nervous, but try to focus on getting to know the person rather than impressing them. Authenticity and genuine curiosity go a long way.

Handling Rejection

Rejection is an inevitable part of dating, but it doesn’t have to be devastating. If someone isn’t interested, it’s not a reflection of your worth. It simply means they’re not the right match for you. Take it in stride and keep moving forward. Every “no” brings you one step closer to the right “yes.”

The Role of Technology

Technology has undoubtedly made it easier to meet people, but it’s important not to let it replace genuine human connection. Use dating apps as a tool to facilitate meeting new people, but don’t rely on them exclusively. Attend social events, join clubs or groups that interest you, and be open to meeting people in your daily life.

Self-Care and Patience

Finally, remember that finding the right partner takes time. Don’t rush the process or settle for less than you deserve. Take care of yourself, pursue your passions and maintain a positive outlook. The right person will come along when the time is right.

Dating these days can be challenging, sure, but it’s also full of opportunities for growth and connection. By staying true to yourself, communicating effectively, and embracing the journey, you can navigate the world of modern dating with confidence and optimism.

©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC



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