Getting back into the dating game after a very long dry spell can be pretty intimidating. Way more people than you think go through this all the time, though. It’s extremely common for people to take a year off when it comes to dating, because they’ve chosen to work on themselves for a year without the distractions of the opposite sex. However, for every person who has suddenly decided to take a break from dating, there’s another person for whom that break is over, as they have decided to start dating again. If you’ve chosen to get back into dating after a long period of dateless nights, solo pajama parties and singlehood, here are some pointers:

1. Let go of the past.
This is key. There is no point getting back into the dating game if you’re still hung up on your ex or trying to rekindle some old flame that was never meant to ignite. Take whatever necessary steps you need; even consider doing a dating “detox” if you will. Now is the time to focus on yourself, and part of that is finding the relationship you deserve and are worthy of having.

2. Be bold and put yourself out there. If you’re stuck in a rut and have no clue on how to go about dating again, well the oldest trick is in the book: Put yourself out there! Face your fears and be bold. Are you sitting on your couch watching yet another Rom-Com wondering how you can find love like these protagonists on the screen? Well first off they aren’t sitting on their couch like you are. Get together with friends more often (wing women or wing men) and get out there so that you meet people. Chat with the cutie behind you in line at Starbucks whenever you can, if for no other reason than to work on those flirting skills. When you see someone who catches your eye, don’t just smile at them. Talk to them.

3. Make the first move. When you make the first move and show that you’re interested, it shows that you know what you want and aren’t afraid to go for it. Don’t be aggressive, but be assertive. Send someone a drink, go up to them and say hi and show that you’re confident. Confidence is an extremely attractive quality, and it won’t go unnoticed. In fact, it’s what makes you stand out from your competition.

4. Ask a friend to pay it forward. If you’re one of the few single people left in your group why not turn to those who have strong and serious relationships to help you out? You might find out that your best friend’s boyfriend has a smart and sexy single coworker – and he could be your perfect match. It’s never a bad thing to reach out to people you’re close with to let them know you’re ready and looking to date. Let them know that you’re open to being set up, so that they can pay it forward and help you out. It also helps to have some single girlfriends to go out with – and help the search; because although you love your married and newly engaged friends, those aren’t the ones that are going to want to go out on a Friday night with meeting people as a primary focus.

5. Choose the right online dating apps. Dating apps are becoming the most popular method for finding a partner. That doesn’t mean you can’t find someone the old fashioned way or out and about; but if you have a crazy busy schedule, two jobs, kids, etc. dating apps might be the route you should consider. Plus, if you’re anxious and nervous that your dating and flirting skills are lacking, testing them out online can’t hurt and will give you plenty of practice before meeting up with a date. Some of the best dating apps include Bumble, Tinder and Happn. For the more serious daters, is a great one too. Be careful, though, because most people who use dating apps are dating several people at once. You’ll have to have candid conversations when you get to the point where you might want to be exclusive and you’re wanting them to stop using dating sites.

6. Keep your standards high. The only person who really knows what they want is you. What went wrong with all your past relationships? What are your deal breakers? What are some qualities you’re looking for in a significant other? Keep your standards high and don’t waver. This will help you filter out all the wrong people for you. There is nothing worse than dating someone for years who doesn’t want kids while you do, or wasting your time dating someone who doesn’t believe in monogamy while you do. Date the right kind of people from the get-go, and your dating life will go much smoother.

7. Stay optimistic and happy. Be happy. As cheesy as this sounds – it’s crucial You have to be happy with yourself before you can truly be available and open to a new relationship. Do some soul searching, extinguish any lingering feelings for your ex and know your worth. Once you are happy with yourself. all the right stuff will find you. Hopefully, if you did take a break from dating, it was to work on you so that you’re in a good and happy place before you start dating again.

You can see more of Samantha’s articles on her personal blog

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