The other day, my friend sent me one of those Instagram tv things (not a post, but also not a story. You aspiring Instagram influencers probably know the ‘technical’ term) that was a spoof video of a group of guys talking about online dating. One guy was telling his friends how he matched with a girl on Tinder and all the various other apps they talked on. However, when she decided to take control suggested they meet in person, all the guys freaked out. Comedic gold? Very much so to my friend and I, but also highly relatable. We’ve all had those matches that talk and talk for ages and you wonder if you’ll ever meet them in person. As much as it’s 2019 and many a man says they’re open to being asked out first, the reality can be very different.
So, you enter the waiting game. In our fast paced, instant gratification world, I think we can all agree that waiting is overrated. Also, just boring! On an average day, I’m not even that interested in my own day to day activities, let alone having to be invested in a bunch of random guy’s days, no matter how cute their pictures suggest they are. So, without further ado, here are 6 ways you shouldn’t be afraid to take control on your dates.
Asking Them Out
One of the many varied and deep topics my friends and I discuss is how long should you talk to someone before meeting up. The answer changes depending on who you ask. Compiling all that data (re: having the same conversation in A LOT of group chats) the range has been anything from a few days to a week. Any longer than a week or two seems to be getting into pen pal territory. No one wants that.
So, novel idea. When you feel comfortable enough and they’ve sparked your interest for more than a few messages, if you want to meet them, just ask. Can’t hurt. Also, their response will let you know if they’re wasting your time or not. Nothing more irritating than talking to someone pretty much daily for an extended period of time, meeting them and realising you could’ve spent all that time doing literally anything else. A little tip? Just ask outright. If you’re waiting for people to pick up hints, you may be waiting till we finally leave the EU (boo!) to meet in person.
Suggesting the Venue
A male friend of mine recently complained that he feels he always has to pick the venue. Even when he asks his dates where they’d like to go, he’s met with an unimpressed “oh, so I have to pick the place?!” Personally, I don’t mind being asked where I want to go. It shows that they want me to be comfortable and I can’t fault that kind of approach. Also, suggesting the venue is a good test of if your potential date has been paying attention to your profile and what you’ve been saying. Win-win-win.
If you already have an idea of a spot that you think will be good for both of you, take control. That doesn’t mean you have to go all dictator and state “THIS is where we’re going.” Look, suggestions show interest and everyone wants to be sure that their potential date is interested in them. Also, you want to make sure you’re in a space where you feel safe and it’s easy for both of you to get to. The date involves both of you, so you can both suggest where it takes place.
Leaving Whenever or Extending the Date
This goes for everyone. Yes, life is long, but it’s also short (I’m sure there’s a more philosophical way to phrase that…) so if you’re not having a good time, then leave. You are under no obligation to stay. If you’re not feeling it, use ya words! As long as you’re not in any immediate danger, there’s no reason to not just tell your date that you’ll be cutting things short. At some point, we’re all conditioned into thinking that being honest is impolite. So, we swallow it down and choke on the knowledge of knowing we’d rather be somewhere else, doing anything else. There’s no need for that!
On the flip side, extending the date. Honestly, until recently, it never occurred to me that I could be the one to suggest extending the date. I’d always been of the (backwards) notion that the guy had to suggest extending the date, so I’d be able to mentally note that as a sign of interest. However, why wait for that? As I said earlier, a date is about both of you. If you’re having fun and you want to hang out longer, say so. Just like suggesting a venue, it shows interest, as well as their answer being very telling.
Not Apologising About Your Feelings or Thoughts
Are you even British if you aren’t constantly saying sorry, even when bumping into inanimate objects? It’s our default to apologise. Even more so if you’re a woman. Sorry for you walking into my path. I apologise for you almost spilling my tea. Sorry for even existing in the same space as you. Enough is enough. What you feel is valid. No longer should any of us apologise for how we feel or think. We won’t always be on the same wavelength as everyone we meet. That’s life. Finding people who have different perspectives is to be expected. It’s also educational.
If you don’t agree with someone’s thoughts, that’s ok. Respectfully disagree. If you find you’re not looking for the same thing, that’s ok too. It’s better to know now, than further down the line. Being open and honest is all we can really ask for from each other, so don’t apologise for that honesty. Just try and be tactful when delivering it.
Texting After the Date
You had a good time. You want to see them again. Maybe you always wait for them to text you but, let’s be honest, there are many reasons people don’t text first after the date. Maybe they’re unsure that you were into them. Entirely possible they’re just shy. It could be that they want to test if you’re as keen as they are. Could also just be the classic ‘not interested’ silence. Anyway, if you want to know where you stand, all you’ve got to do is ask. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from rom-coms, it’s that they’d be at least 90% shorter if everyone just communicated better. Take that lesson into your everyday life, people!
The silence is a lot worse than asking and getting an answer you may not have wanted. You’ll at least know where you stand, which is a way better position to be in. If you do get the answer you were looking for, then two people’s days have been made 😉 Everyone likes to be romanced, remember that.
Last, but by no means least. Double texting. Long ago (I don’t remember when this particualr seed was sown) it became the belief that texting more than once was one of the ultimate, cardinal sins of dating. Whether the conversation had reached a natural end, it didn’t matter. If you sent the last message, you could not, cannot send the next! Your dating life will feel the curse of eagerness. The smell of desperation will permeate your existence. They’ll know (dear God) they’ll know you like them. Gasp! Shock! Horror! Except… you wouldn’t be chatting to them or going on dates with them if you didn’t like them… would you?
The same person doesn’t always have to message first. You can, amazingly, message them whenever. Just like you would anyone you enjoy talking to and hanging with. If they haven’t responded to your message in a bit, you can send a follow up and the world won’t implode. If they don’t answer the double text, you have your answer. Truthfully, people forget and get distracted when they’re messaging all the time. I regularly start replying to messages and then my attention gets diverted. I forget that I haven’t finished my response or even sent one. A double text is a helpful reminder. It’s not stalking. Neither is it obsessive to send two texts in a row. It’s just another way of knowing where you stand. It’s a way of being sure and in the everchanging, ever evolving world of dating, we need all the certainty we can get.
So, there you have it. 6 ways you shouldn’t be afraid to take control on your dates. You don’t have to wait for someone else to run the show. Taking control once in a while is empowering and what’s more attractive than a confident, empowered person? It’s ok, I’ll wait…