Tinder, CMB, Blume, Bumble, Hinge, Happn…we’re flooded with a deluge of dating apps (side note: have you even heard of half of these?!). My last bout with Tinder left me feeling overwhelmed and slightly dizzy. When I hastily accepted a coffee invite (Yes! You see? I am Dating!), the result was the opposite: my date was rather bland and well, really not dizzying.
As a single lady living and working in Toronto, I’m the target market for the Tinders of the world. Perhaps you are too. And maybe you, like me, have done it: agonized over that incoming text or call, moved from self-affirmation to self-doubt in 2.2 seconds, and, in the face of rejection, let an entire afternoon float away in a cloud of Bad Mood.
Though I wasn’t into my Tinder date, I still did not want to go through the motions of feeling that I wasn’t wanted (more on that later). Which got me thinking. Ahem, seriously thinking, in the form of a litany of questions:
How can I date and still preserve my personal integrity and sense of self-worth?
What does it mean to date in healthy ways?
What would a guidebook of self-affirming and wholesome dating strategies look like?
So here goes: your roadmap to scoring the perfect date every time (yes, you read right- every time!).
1. Love Yourself First, So That You Know What You Deserve
“Self-Love is the greatest Revolution”
Take a moment and really think about this quote. Self-love roots all that you do. If you criticize every move you make, or don’t nurture your best qualities, or if your inner voice is negative or downright subversive, can you truly find a partner who is going to cherish you? It’s time to take step back and work on yourself before you swipe right on that app.
How can you assess your level of self-love? The first few lines of Allison Smith’s Self-Love: 16 Strategies to Live a Life Uncommon offers some clues:
“In the quiet moments of the day, when you have time to breathe and be with yourself, how do you feel? When you glide past a mirror, and get a quick glimpse of yourself, what are your first thoughts? Do you think that you’re beautiful? Do you feel strong? …”
If your answers to these questions are less than positive, pause and re-evaluate how you treat yourself. You Are Enough. Make sure that your inner dialogue is clean, good, and supportive. Be courageous and hold yourself to your highest vibration.
2. Cultivate and Preserve your Integrity
Okay, so we’ve nailed self-love. And you’re in a good place, and you’re ready to meet someone new. How does self-love play out into actionable behaviours that serve rather than undermine you?
The concept of Integrity holds the key to that question. Integrity is the act of living in accordance with your values and ethics, yet also keeping something whole. Preserving Integrity in dating and personal relationships is often complex and nuanced. Our own vulnerability and sense of self is on the line. Healthy dating requires you to be true to yourself, your date, and true to the circumstances which surround you.
Why is it so important to stay true to yourself? Quite simply because when you undermine your values, or allow someone else to, you undermine your character and your essence. You also give away your Personal Power, which you’ve worked so hard to build. You find that you are giving too much of yourself away, or that your life is dependent on someone else’s schedule. In short, you Settle.
3. How Can I Not Settle, You Ask? Set Clear Boundaries
The sure fire way to conserve your own integrity in the face of the Date is to set clear boundaries. Voicing clear boundaries means being (very) honest with yourself about what you are willing to accept, and what your non-negotiables are. My non-negotiables include text-romances, a lack of respect for my time, and interactions which move from open to closed with no clear indication. I loathe waiting on people, and I need to be able to access my partner. In person. I need to make sure I am open and accessible as well.
Do you need time each evening to decompress and return to yourself? Honour and voice your need. After a few weeks of seeing someone, do you sense that your date is just fine with little in-person interaction, yet you want something different? Act on what you seek, and walk away if you’re not getting your worth.
4. Live Your Hustle!
We’ve moved through cultivating self-love and actualizing integrity by setting clear boundaries. The last piece of the puzzle involves owning your hustle. Your dating life should not derail you from creating and sustaining a life that you truly desire. Hang out with your friends (or make new ones!), learn new things and open yourself up to new experiences. Do all of this with intention, awareness and action (or confidence, as people often refer to it), and you have the perfect recipe for keeping your head held high when you meet your Tinder or Other date.
You are Enough, you know what you want, and you have an idea of where you’re headed. Regardless of how bad a date goes, you know where you stand. You’re not going to let a few bad dates deflate you!
You’ll just keep on moving forward in the direction of your goals and dreams.
You’re ready! You can now – you guessed it- swipe right.