I reached a point in my mid-20s where I was burned out from going on boring, unsatisfying dates.
I promised myself never to go on dates again and to just focus on work.
It’s a promise I’m glad I broke.
11 reasons why dating is so important
Dating can be a real headache. But like so many things in life, it can also offer a lot of opportunities.
The following lists 11 ways to get the most out of dating and have it be a worthwhile experience, even if it rarely leads to long-term relationships.
1) Dating lets you discover who you are
Dating is so important because it lets you discover who you are.
In fact, even when it’s unsatisfying, dating is clarifying, because it shows you so much more about yourself.
It reveals what you want…
How much discipline you have…
How fake you’re willing to be…
And how committed you are in staying true to yourself.
Dating is a blank canvas in many ways. These days most go about it by downloading apps, signing up for websites and flipping through available people.
But you have no obligation to do this. You can also ask out your coworker at work or see if the sparks fly between you and your friend.
2) Dating is what you make of it
Like so much else in life, dating is what you make of it.
When you’re met with unsatisfying experiences and a lack of chemistry, it can make you want to give up, as I did for a while.
Eventually, however, it caused me to simply be a bit more selective about what I was looking for and become more skilled at avoiding making dates and seeing women I wasn’t very interested in.
Remember that you have no obligation to go out with anyone you don’t want to.
It’s always better to break a date or turn one down than to lead someone on.
And although disappointment in dating is inevitable, it can also offer you all sorts of valuable and sometimes fun experiences that help you find a serious partner.
3) Dating shows you the value of quality over quantity
The main reason I got sick and tired of dating in my 20s is that I approached it like an all-you-can-eat buffet.
That was probably somewhat due to my immature mindset and focus on physical attraction.
I’d look at a few photos, ignore anything a girl had written, and then message or delete her purely based on physical appearance.
The result was extreme boredom and frustration.
Even when somebody did live up to her photos (or looked even better) there would almost always be a major drawback.
She would be extremely beautiful but immediately noticeable as psychotic and mentally ill.
She would be hot but incredibly negative and judgmental, making me want to jump out of my own skin after 20 minutes out for coffee.
So I switched to focusing on personality. Then I’d end up in fascinating discussions about history or philosophy with someone I wouldn’t kiss in a million years.
The truth is that dating teaches you to be a lot more selective and be patient.
4) Dating gives you a way to work on communication
Going out on dates is a way to become a better communicator.
In my case, it taught me to express myself more clearly and learn to be a better listener.
I was used to growing up in an environment where I would sort of unload everything I wanted to say all at once, or in school where it was more about writing all my knowledge down.
Dating taught me to slow down a bit, listen and be a little more patient.
I also learned a lot about being more patient of things I strongly disagreed with, found boring or thought were in poor taste or stupid.
It’s not that I pretended to agree or anything, but rather that I became more skilled at not immediately reacting positively or negatively to what someone is saying.
This is a very good skill to have in many areas of life, especially business and your love life.
5) It provides an opportunity to become a more romantic person
Dating is supposed to be romantic. For those of us who tend to be more platonic or clinical, it can be a great chance to warm up our more romantic side.
Even if you have to Google “most romantic date ideas” or “how to create a super sexy date night,” what counts is the effort you make.
Dating is your chance to become a more romantic person who pays attention to the atmosphere you create with your decor, words, actions and choices.
Even just the simple act of choosing out a restaurant to meet at, for example, or what to wear, is all helping you learn about what’s a turn on and what’s not.
Becoming a more romantic person is something your future husband or wife will thank you for.
And even if you stay single or playing the field your future dates are definitely going to appreciate it!
6) Dating brings out your best and worst
I haven’t always been at my best on dates and I’ve made some embarrassing foibles.
For one thing, I don’t respond well to rejection.
I remember once angrily throwing away a gift I was given by a date who later told me she liked me more as a friend but didn’t feel the chemistry.
That coffee cup took the brunt of my immature rage.
As for my best?
Well, I don’t want to toot my own horn (what people generally say before tooting their own horn), but I believe dating has made me a better listener and more patient.
I also think I’ve become more confident about showing how I feel, speaking the truth about what I feel and believe and being more decisive.
7) Dating gets you offline for a while
I don’t know about you, but spending too much time online is one of my cardinal sins.
Dating at least helps insofar as it gets you offline for a little while.
During the pandemic many people started going out on virtual dates. In fact, a friend of mine met her boyfriend that way.
All the power to her!
But I do think that there’s something to be gained from in-person dating that’s hard to find on virtual and remote dates.
Now that many countries are opening up again, dating once again provides the possibility to meet up in person.
You can go for the classics like having coffee, playing mini golf, going out to dinner or watching a movie.
I’d recommend keeping it simple. Many also point out that activities like watching a movie are pretty passive and don’t give you much chance to actually get to know this new person or build up any spark with them.
8) Dating teaches you how to respect yourself
Going on a lot of unsatisfying dates showed me how to be more selective and also how to respect myself.
I developed more patience and became a better listener, but I also learned to respect my own limits.
In some cases that meant ceasing contact with someone who’d stood me up for a date.
In other situations it just involved being honest that I wasn’t that into a girl.
Dating teaches you to be more honest and respectful of yourself and your boundaries, especially when you try to overstep them and end up getting burnt.
9) Dating is sometimes a lot of fun
In this article, I’ve talked a fair bit about some frustrations with dating and feeling bored.
But I also have memories of dates and girls I went out with that were a lot of fun.
Whether it’s playing board games or sharing a kiss in the great outdoors, dating can be an enjoyable experience.
Helping you to get over your fears and become more confident is one of the best things about dating.
But another great part is that you get to meet people you might otherwise not and to have conversations, interactions and experiences that otherwise could pass you by.
10) Dating gets you more comfortable with conflict
Another often overlooked reason why dating is so important is that it gets you more comfortable with conflict.
What I mean is that I’ve had many dates where they didn’t go that well and I didn’t want to meet again.
I got a lot better at just saying “all the best” and moving on instead of letting myself dwell on disagreements, being stood up or so on.
True, I didn’t always respond to rejection well, and still don’t.
But I stopped being so shy about letting someone down or feeling like I had to show interest.
Disagreeing is also OK. Dating shows you that you can still respect someone despite thinking they’re wrong and not being romantically interested in them.
And that’s a valuable lesson to learn.
11) Dating makes you more sociable
Dating gets you out into the big wide world and talking to other people.
That in itself is a very good thing, especially with so many temptations to just wrap ourselves up in an internet echo chamber or on social media and avoid meeting somebody new.
Getting out there and taking a chance is a brave act, especially these days.
You’re putting yourself out there, testing the waters and being a genuine person.
That deserves recognition! And it’s worth it.
To date or not to date, that is the question…
Dating can be really frustrating, but it can also be rewarding.
In deciding your approach to dating, remember that it’s all what you make of it.
Be selective, absolutely, but also try to retain an open mind about the experiences that come your way.
Dating can be a way for you to meet many new interesting people and eventually, potentially, a person you would like to form a long-term connection with.
“A person can use dating as a process of filtering out or narrowing the field of eligible partners down to a specific few and eventually to one person who will be his mate for a lifetime.”