At the beginning of this year, as I’ve mentioned a time or two in these columns, I made the conscious decision to actually date. Not just casually hang out with someone, but to actually meet people, get on dates, get to know them and see where things lead.
So 2016 became the year of me actually dating. And while I know you’re all hoping that while on my journey I found love at last…I didn’t. I’m still as single as ever. But I’ve met some great people along the way. I’ve had some great times along the way. And I’ve learned a few things along the way.
Lesson 1: Dating really does suck
This is one lesson I kind of already knew. The actual act of dating is pretty annoying. From using these new-fangled dating apps that everyone is meeting on these days, to going out to meet someone new only to be somehow disappointed, to having to sit through the date with the aforementioned disappointing person, I found dating to be a total time suck a lot of the time. I had too many dates where, thanks to the magic of Bumble/Tinder/Happn/insert new app name here, text/phone chemistry did not at all translate into real life chemistry. Sometimes that worked out in my favor, and I left the date with a new friend, or at least having had a good. But sometimes not so much. So while for the most part, this lesson has had me shying away from app dating, I did learn that a bad date isn’t the end of the world. And if you’re lucky you get an awkward but hilarious story to share with your friends after.
Lesson 2: Dating doesn’t have to suck
I also learned that dating doesn’t always have to suck. When you’re lucky enough to meet someone, whether it’s from an app or an organic, in person meeting or something in between, that you actually like, going on dates can be super fun. I was lucky enough this year to connect with a couple of cool guys, who actually showed me how fun dates can actually be. I had a great time discovering new bars and restaurants, going to music festivals, even just wandering around different parts of the city. I learned that bringing a cute date to all the media parties I get invited to actually made said parties even more fun (it’s always great to have arm candy!). More than anything, I really enjoyed finding fun, creative ways to get to know someone better while spending more time with him as well.
Lesson 3: Honesty really is the best policy
When I started dipping my toe back into the dating pool, I realized that no matter the objective at the onset of a dating situation, whether it’s to be casual or more serious, people still seem to pull the same bullshit moves on each other. Whether it’s being insincere about one’s intentions, leading people on or the popular act of “ghosting” (where you cease all contact and hope the other party gets the idea), I found early on that dishonesty is rampant in modern dating. After being burned a few times, I made a promise to myself that no matter what, I would do my best, to be honest. And so far I’ve managed to stick to that promise. I’ve sent my fair share of “I think we’d be better off as friends” texts and I’ve tried to navigate the murky waters of dating without hurting anyone else’s feelings while also sparing my own. So far my actions have yielded generally positive results, the most common sentiment being gratitude for being honest and up front, rather than taking the coward’s way out. I just hope that next year I find more guys out there doing the same!
Actually liking someone is fun/awesome/scary!
The best/scariest part about my adventures in dating is that over the course of 2016, I found myself actually connecting with people on a deeper level, and even * gasp * liking them! I’ve always loved a good crush, but sometimes with crushes, you can get crushed, emotionally that is. It was that fear of getting hurt that kept me from actively connecting with anyone for so long. Whether it’s maturity, old age, or laziness (casual dating and hooking up takes up a LOT of energy guys), I’ve realized that opening myself up, while scary, is a necessary part of life. As a result, I’ve had some great times with a select few great guys over the course of the year. I got to enjoy the feeling of that secret smile when I got a text or call from that boy I liked. I felt the flutter of anticipation and excitement of seeing him again. And best of all, I got to enjoy the feeling having a great time together, doing literally anything, as long as we were together. And that’s pretty great.
If at first, you don’t succeed, try again!
Probably the most important thing I learned about myself and dating this year is that an ending doesn’t have to be the end. While it’s scary to think that opening up to being with someone may lead to that something ending, and me getting hurt, I learned that it’s not the end of the world. Of course, being sad and feeling hurt sucks, but I can, and have, bounced back, and gone on to develop new feelings for new people. And that’s really what it’s about in the end; learning about yourself, and remembering that there can be someone out there for you. But you won’t find that person sitting on the couch wallowing in Netflix and sadness. There are tons of amazing people in this world, some of whom you, or I can form a meaningful connection with. 2016 taught me not to give up even when boys are at their most annoying. So let’s see what’s out there 2017!
Do you have any romance resolutions for 2017? Tweet them to us at @weraddicted and @thenadiae!