3 Lessons I've Learned After 13+ Dates

3 Lessons I've Learned After 13+ Dates
Photo by Felipe Callado / Unsplash

One of my 2024 yearly goals was to find a girlfriend and so far I have gone on 13+ dates.

It's been a rollercoaster, and not of the purely fun variety. Usually I'm quiet an upbeat cheerful guy. But dating these last 5 months has given me more highs and lows than a kangaroo on a trampoline in zero gravity.

In this article, I'm going to share three lessons I have learned from going on 13+ dates. I hope my experiences can inform or at least entertain both men and women before or while they venture into dating.

You Have To Find A Way To Have Fun

To put it simply, dating can be soul sucking.

If your not careful, you can become depressed over telling the same stories and the same facts about yourself. It can feel like your heart is being bashed by a hammer over and over.

You need to finds ways to spice things up.

My favorite dates have been the ones where I've gone on an adventure. Bouldering, jumping across Lady Bug bulbs for fun, or taking random turns in the suburbs of Cornell. These dates are so so much better than forced job interviews colloquially called "coffee dates."

Emotional connection is one of the most important factors for developing a relationship with someone.

Warning, psych nerd coming out. In romantic contexts, we can misattribute fear, curiosity, or awe, as liking for our partner. In one study, men rated a woman as more attractive if they got their number on a rickety bridge than if they got it on a secure cobblestone one.

Another thing I learned to do is try and go down new conversation topics.

In every date I went on, I tried to find an interest of theirs and connect it to an interest of mine in a unique way. On one date I talked about the connection between music and writing. On another, neuroscience and psychology. And on one more anime and language learning.

Any date can be made into an adventure if you have the right mindset.

Go In Solely Looking For A Human Connection

In my early dates, I went in with the mindset I was looking for a girlfriend.

I would screen my dates looking for signs of girlfriend material like a Terminator. Ironically, this made it impossible to actually connect with them in the moment.

Than I talked with another friend in the dating scene who told me something that changed everything: go in solely looking for a human connection.

That's what you want anyways right?

A girlfriend would be great, but at the end of the day, a great convo would just mean connecting deeply with someone. Share the moment with them; it might be the last time you ever do. Isn't that beautiful? Two souls meeting for an interaction with the possibility of spending the rest of your lives together.

This notion rests on treating the other person like a human being.

You would be surprised how many people don't. It's not necessarily their fault. As I've written before, online dating dehumanizes people into Pokemon cards. Over my years of online dating, I've been ghosted probably 100+ times at this point (you might say maybe you're a serial killer, but it's not just me. Trust me, I've talked to others). I had what I thought was a wonderful three-hour date with a girl going to dinner, walking under the stars, and laughing, only to receive a one-sentence text message the following day that went, "I don't think it's going to work, goodbye."

Being their for someone just wanting to connect, is one of the best things you can do for them.

Be Open Minded To Who You Meet

When you first start dating, you don't know what you want.

I thought I did. I had all these lists for what I was looking for in a partner. I wanted a American girl, into physical activities like running and tennis. My first girlfriend was a Singaporean girl who loved music, not physical activities. And it was a great relationship.

Yes, as I have gone on more dates I have become more confident in what I'm looking for, but it took dates and girlfriends to discover that. Here's three things I'm quiet confident I want now:
Dates I have been on:

  1. I NEED someone who is curious and open minded. If I'm going to talk with someone for as long as I am, they can't talk about nothing.
  2. I NEED someone who's outdoorsy and physically active.
  3. I NEED someone who's just kind. You would be surprised how hard that is. Not kindness on the outside. Kindness on the inside, shown even outside the date.

Notice, most of the characteristics dating apps ask you have nothing to do with what I put up above. They don't give any prediction on the quality and longevity of a relationship. All the things that matter a ton like shared emotional connection, kindness, 90+ minutes of quality time spent together, and more aren't possible to be assessed through online means.

So, that's what I've learned after 13+ dates.

Cross my fingers I can find a girlfriend in the next few. Because I don't know how many more I can go on before taking a rest. But even if it doesn't work out, I've learned so much about the importance of fun, human connection, and what I want.