Any tips on breaking a dating slump?

The last time I wrote about dating slumps was about 4 years ago, and while the advice in this piece is good:

5 Tips to get out of a Dating Slump

It’s probably time for a refresh. Before I start, an observation. In my experience, straight men are more likely than their counterparts to use the term “dating slump”, and I think that speaks to how many straight men view dating. They often view dating through a lens of sport and competition. Think about people who tout their skill at picking up women. How do they showcase their self-professed skill? By showing videos of themselves successfully getting phone numbers in large volumes. I’m sure not all straight men view dating through a lens of sport, or think of dating in terms of a success rate, but I’d be lying if that wasn’t a prevailing attitude.

I think that deep down, when someone thinks they’re going through a dating slump, they’re taking on most of the blame of the bad breaks they’ve experience in dating onto themselves. In the original piece I wrote, I conflated dating slumps with hitting slumps in baseball, and looking back on that analogy I realize now how much of that thinking is ingrained in how people view dating successes and failures.

What people fail to understand is that at some point in dating, even if you’re really good at it, you’ll never be successful 100% of the time. “Failure” is built into dating because people have wants and needs that conflict with the people they meet, and chemistry is just one of those things you can never predict. A dating slump, or whatever you want to call it, is always a possibility. So if you’re looking for one tip to take away from this post it’s this: Don’t be too hard on yourself.

I’ve had dating slumps of all different styles. Slumps where I couldn’t get on a date. Slumps where I couldn’t get past a first date after dozens of first dates (I’m not exaggerating, at one point I went on something like 25 first dates with no second date in a row). Slumps where I’d date multiple people, back to back, and would go on exactly 3 dates (a stretch that lead to something like 5 different women going on exactly 3 dates each with me). The one thing that got me through all that was never being too hard on myself.

Dating is inherently tough, but if a task is just difficult, it can be overcome, right? Yes, but dating isn’t JUST tough, it also comes down to luck, timing, and circumstance. It’s sort of like sending a good first message on a dating app. If I send 100 women a good first message that is unique to them, and I tick all the boxes that would make someone respond and I only get, let’s be generous and say a 25% response rate, I wouldn’t beat myself up about it. Maybe I just wasn’t there type. Maybe they just met someone and they haven’t shut down their dating profile yet. Hell, maybe they just stopped checking their profile. If you wouldn’t beat yourself up for not having a high response rate on dating apps (no one’s response rate is 100%, mind you) then why would you beat yourself up about going through a dating slump.

Success in dating, and failures in dating can either come sporadically, or in waves. There are ways to minimize your failures, and maximize your successes, but they aren’t foolproof. The ways to push through a dating slump, as I mentioned in my previous post on the subject are…

  1. Re-evaluate your approach to dating. Make tweaks and improvements and don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board.
  2. Review how you date. Look at what made your dating life successful in the past, the ways you date that always seem to lead to failure. Review those things and make changes where you always fail.
  3. Practice. Practice small talk. Prepare interesting (and new) anecdotes. Identify where you overshare and STOP. Try new venues/date types, etc.
  4. Be confident. Even if you have to fake it. You don’t have to be confident that you’ll succeed, just be confident that you’re trying your best.
  5. Keep at it. Don’t give up on dating (but feel free to take occasional breaks).

My one revision is: Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all go through dating slumps. The only way to push through, is to push through.

Good Luck Out There.

Also published on Medium.

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