How To Know You’re Ready To Date?

May 18, 2020
▪ 6 mins read

Take These 5 Steps

If you’re reading this, I'm guessing you're somewhat interested in starting to date and wondering if you are ready to date. However, a HUGE problem that I hear time and time again is that dating can feel like a chore. 

Modern dating can feel confusing and challenging at the best of times.  

So, when is the right time to dip your toe back into the water? And how can you set yourself up to date in a way that is motivating and empowering?  

Because you know what happens when you find dating unmotivating and emotionally draining? 

You procrastinate.  

You approach dating with the same level of zeal as a pile of dirty dishes and a broken dishwasher. 

My goal is, of course, to `get you back out there’ in a way that feels good to you.  

Because if dating isn’t enjoyable, you won’t stick in the process long enough to meet that guy you’ve been waiting for. 

5 steps you can take to get ready to date: 

Step 1 - Leave The Past In The Past 

We have all had crappy relationships that left us feeling disappointed 

(maybe even betrayed?) about the whole idea of love. However, dragging this situation into the present is only going to make you unhappy and stop you seeing good new opportunities that are around you. 

Do the work you need to do to get past that relationship. Cry about it, make peace with it, head to therapy... then drop it. 

If someone asks you about it work towards getting into the place where you can just say, `it just wasn’t the right relationship for me...’ without needing to go into details about what a d*ck they were...

(...though I have no doubt, they really were a d*ck.)

This hear no evil/ speak no evil/ see no evil approach may mean muting them on social media, hiding old photos or being mindful to not put them down to others. Whilst a good vent can make you feel better short term: it is way more empowering long term to let this one go!  

Step 2 - You Don’t Need To Have Your Whole Life Sorted, Just Some Of It 

Here is what I think is the ideal way you should feel when you embark on dating: optimistic, open-minded and relaxed. A nice idea, but potentially not all that realistic: modern life is stressful. So how do we work around this? 

It can be tempting to put off even getting started at dating until you’ve changed another variable in your life that you feel is holding you back. Whether that's a career, dress size or location. However, it is better to realise that you have everything you need now to start making headway. 

A good life hack to get you started is to make a stress list. As the name suggests this is a list of things that stresses you out, then ways you can start to tackle them. 

Stress list examples

Hate waking up to a bad email? Put your phone on aeroplane mode overnight and don’t check your inbox until after you’ve properly woken up and had breakfast. 

Wound up every time you see that person’s face on social media? Unfollow or hide their account: then take some time to think what is it about their accounts that rankles you so much? Then let it go. 

Exhausted by the end of the week? Can you drop a social commitment and save energy to have that date? 

We don’t need perfection just enough energy and time that when you have the opportunity to go on a date, or to go somewhere where you could meet someone. 

A bit of time, space and opportunity are what you need here! 

Step 3 - You Have Neutral Expectations 

I've said it once but I'll say it again: the purpose of a first date is to learn something about the other person and have fun. Managing our expectations and not getting drawn into major levels of over-analysis is one of the big challenges of dating. If you find yourself going between being totally disinterested in the men you meet, and getting carried away with someone prematurely, you need to bring yourself back into balance. 

Some good mindsets to help with this can be:

He seems nice so I’m just going to see how things go

I’m not sure whether he could be boyfriend potential just yet: we only met recently 

I don’t know yet! But I’m going to go with it for a bit 

It is about pacing yourself and reminding yourself to stay in the present moment to take things day by day. 

Step 4 - Cherish Your Alone Time 

Spending time with yourself should always feel better than a last-minute, low-quality date. This sounds straightforward enough, but if you’ve had a rocky week, your plans have cancelled, that other guy let you down, then going out for a last-minute ego boost can feel tempting. Instead, we have to make your me-time so good that you save your energy for `real dates’ only. 

If you haven’t already mastered the art of a date with yourself: why not try it out? Whether it’s a nice brunch, a trip to the cinema, or a spa day, there are few things in life that need a plus one to be enjoyable (there are many equivalents you can do while safe at home). 

I used to love going on solo holidays, and proudly perching myself in a room of romantic couples, and ordering a glass of champagne for one! But it took practice to get there... to begin with spending time solo just felt a bit, empty? But your feelings around this will change.

And if you're not already - enjoy the luxury of sleeping in the middle of your bed, before you have the annoyance of someone else hogging the duvet. 

(And if you enjoy your solo time too much already and need to start going out instead skip to the next pointer!) 

Step 5 - You Find Dating Motivating 

When you drop the expectations, focus on going on dates that you enjoy (regardless of how attractive you find your date to be) feel energised by supportive friendships and experience the excitement of meeting men in real life... then dating can be motivating.

It can even be FUN!! Really. 

A major part of experiencing this fun is having the right people around you to lift you up and go on that journey with you. 

There are many reasons why you may not have these supportive friendships around you right now:

  • Life circumstances change, people get coupled up, and sometimes are a bit rubbish at committing to anything beyond a coffee with their single friends. 
  • What’s important to us changes: and some friendships drift apart.
  • Some friendships are also plain unsupportive, and won’t leave you feeling like this is someone you can really be open with. 

Because of this a key part of building up your dating life: Starts with nurturing new friendships. 

This could start as simply as when you walk into a dating/ networking event and it is ALL single women, instead of seeing it as a wasted evening, set your intention to make new friends! Remember all these women will have their own social circles full of people you've never met before and could be a new value add to your life. 

Nurturing new friendships

I also spend a lot of time nurturing the friendships in our HQ Community: we are all about creating a supportive, fun, environment where you can learn about dating.  

You can join our club from wherever you are in the world and not only get coached remotely by the team & I but also meet new wing women. If this is you click on the link below to find out about how to get started: 

Yes I’m ready to start dating!! 

Remember our club also includes:

  • My ultimate Kickstarter 30 Days of Dating Challenge 
  • Over 50+ hours of online learning video tutorials
  • VIP members events
  • A community of awesome wing women to connect with 

If you are ready to date or want to get there, join my Hayley Quinn Women Club or read some of my other blog posts!

Lots of love 

Hayley x

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About the author

Hayley Quinn is a leading dating and relationship coach, with 3 million views of her TEDx talk and 18 million YouTube views. She is spokesperson for Match, a columnist for Cosmopolitan, a regular contributor to international media, and has been published by Harper Collins (“The Last First Date”, 2022) and Simon & Schuster (“Do This, Not That: Dating”, 2023).

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