A crash course in dating For guys

The dating world is a confusing one for us all, but guys can unfortunately be subjected to particular scrutiny, and it can be easy to sometimes put a foot wrong without even realising. From knowing where to go to find a date, to being aware of the appropriate ways to approach someone, Am I Normal is here to offer a helping hand...

Discovering a date

The first step is to find a date. Here are some ideas for where to meet people.

  • Say "yes" to invites

The best way of meeting people is to go to places where people will be, such as parties and gigs. Be open minded when it comes to invites - you never know who will be there!

  • Attend clubs and events that interest you

Meet people who have the same interests as you by joining clubs and going to events where you know people with similar passions will be.

  • Chat to people in class

At school, college or Uni, you'll spend time around people your age, so why not strike up conversation with those outside of your friendship group? It doesn't have to be too forward - perhaps you could talk about the subjects you're studying together, and what you hope to do in the future. You might end up bonding with someone you really like!

Asking your date out

After meeting someone you feel you have a connection with, the next step is asking them out.

  • Take your time

We're not going to lie here - it can be really intimidating asking someone you like out, and you don't want to risk scaring them off by asking too soon or being too forward. Spend time with them - you could perhaps ask them to come out with you and your friends as a group, so that they don't feel too pressured. If you end up asking them out and they turn you down or seem at all uncomfortable, respect their feelings and don't push the situation any further. It's Okay to feel disappointed - we've all felt rejected at some point - but, remind yourself that there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

  • Plan an appropriate date

If your crush has agreed to a date, plan something that will be fun for you both - it's a first date so keep it light! Bowling, an afternoon coffee or a game of mini golf are some good ideas. If you're nervous about keeping a conversation going, you could go to the cinema or a sports game that you know you'll both enjoy.

  • Ask your date what THEY fancy doing!

Just because you asked them out, it doesn't mean it has to all come down to you deciding where to go for the date. Ask them what type of activities they're into - they'll appreciate you considering their interests.

On the date

So, you've found a date and a place to go. What happens when you're there?

  • Don't overthink it

It's easy to say, but try to stay relaxed on your date. Remember that you're in the same boat as your date, and they are probably just as nervous as you are. Smile and make eye contact - but not too much, as you could freak them out! look at them when talking, but take breaks periodically. A good trick is to try and reflect your date's body language.

  • Plan conversation beforehand

Avoid awkward silences by having some questions on hand that you can ask if conversation isn't flowing as much as you'd like it to. If you know they are interested in something in particular, you could ask them how they first became interested in it, or you could ask them about their top 5 favourite films, or songs, which is a good go-to topic and can lead onto other conversations.

  • Be honest

It's crucial to be honest and to be yourself. It can be easy to want to make yourself sound "better" to please your date, but you'll eventually be found out, and secrets are not worth the stress of keeping!

  • Be polite

Any sort of unwanted contact is a big no-no. Always ask your date if they are happy for you to make physical contact - Never assume that they are comfortable with you doing so. Speak to them with respect, as well as anyone else you interact with whilst on your date. The way you speak to people will show your date what sort of character you have and will have a big impact on whether they want to see you again or not. Don't scroll through your phone when you're on the date - it's not going to make them feel very special!

During the relationship

There are some useful things to know for a happy and successful relationship...

  • Give each other space

When you start dating someone, you'll probably want to spend all of your spare time with them, but this can become suffocating for you both. Try to balance your time out so that you are still seeing your friends and taking part in activities separate from each other.

  • Compromise

Life isn't always about getting our own way (as much as some of us would like it to be!) and healthy relationships mean being able to compromise. That means, if you want to do something and your partner wants to do something else, find a way of working it out so that you're both happy. The best way of doing that is talking it out and listening.

  • Communicate openly

If there is something that is bothering you, be honest and express your feelings. This doesn't mean verbally attacking or being rude, but calmly stating that you feel a certain way, and why. Communication is also important for the good things in your relationship - regularly tell your partner what you appreciate about them, and tell them if you feel that they are not reciprocating the sentiment.

If it doesn't work out

Sometimes, relationships end. How can you best deal with a relationship breakup?

  • Cry it out

It's absolutely fine to shed a tear, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

  • Be respectful

If they ended it, it can be tempting to deal with the upset of a breakup by getting angry or lashing out. Accept that they had their reasons to end the relationship and take personal time to "grieve" the end of it. It might feel like the end of the world while the breakup is still raw, but don't despair, there IS light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Be considerate

If you are the one to break it off, consider their feelings and try to do it verbally (face-to-face if possible), not over text. Try not to be rude or accusatory - it's better to end the relationship on positive terms.

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