Labor Day is officially behind us, kiddies, which means the sweat-drenched glory of Summer 2014 has washed away with the shoreline. It’s once again time to shelve our favorite white outfits, work full day Fridays and ready our palettes for an abundance of Pumpkin Spice flavored everything. Total bummer. That being said, the changing of the seasons is a fantastic opportunity to shift your dating habits, too. So this Fall, why not welcome winter’s opening act with these ten tips to help refresh and revamp some of your most dated dating patterns.
1) Try booze-free dates
Booze is so synonymous with first dates that any neighborhood bar likely makes a quarter of its profits from unsure newbie couples making awkward conversation sipping Stella. So why not try planning a few booze-free dates. Completely crazy, I know, but it might be easier to gauge your affections minus those rosy nightcap goggles.
2) Single out that one dark spot in your dating history and let it go
We’ve all got at least one. Pinpoint a particularly vile experience in your past that’s getting in the way of your future and let it go. Go ahead and get dramatic, set aside an hour or two to exorcise it out of your system. Bonus points for creativity!
3) Take a look at your list of Dealbreakers and redefine
Are you being too picky? Not picky enough? How important is it really that he live in that hip neighborhood you can’t afford? Or that she know all the lyrics to Radiohead’s biggest hits? Give that internal list you’re too embarrassed to say out loud a once over and reevaluate.
4) Go jump in the leaves
Fall is full of cutesy-wutesy, couple-ish things to do. Haunted houses, a walk through the park in full foliage, pumpkin patch exploring and farmer’s market adventures. You might be too cool to do these things with your friends, so go ahead and plan a wholesome fall themed date and give off the impression that you’re into good, clean fun.
5) Take a break from stereotypes
We’ve all got ‘em. Go ahead and try to convince yourself you don’t, but next time you’re online browsing for dates take note of what makes you say “nah.” If you find these are normally superficial or triggered by some sort of instinctual split decision based on …well… you don’t really remember anymore, then challenge yourself and give that person a shot.
6) Make a new “No B.S.” rule
One old cliché that rings true: To find a great love, you must love yourself first. So it’s a good idea to brainstorm a rule made to protect yourself from those who hurt or bother you. Does this chick get off on criticizing you? Does Mr. Comedy over there make you the butt of his jokes? Why does it always take him 8 hours to reply to texts? Notice what irks you, stop rationalizing it away, and move on.
7) Make a new post-date ritual
If you normally exit a date obsessing over how you feel about them or how they felt about you, only to wake the next morning still ruminating into ridiculousness, make a post-date date with yourself. Maybe set aside a movie you’re really looking forward to seeing or place a new magazine or book on hold. Even a slice of delicious cake in the fridge that you can’t wait to tear into works. Whatever. Just something to busy the mind a bit on your way home and the first hour or so back.
8) Sign up for a class or pick up a new hobby
Dating can get long and tedious. If you aren’t careful First Dates can become your main extracurricular and you’re so much more interesting than that. So fill your days and nights with a new hobby that’s got more lasting power than That Tall Lawyer Guy from Indiana.
9) Take the opposite approach
Do you normally wait for them to reach out? Are you prone to controlling and orchestrating every move? Get outta dodge at the first sign of trouble? Do the opposite for once and see how the results change. You might be surprised.
10) Take a break from Google
Google is not your friend in the early stages of dating. Neither is social media. While it may seem completely archaic to not browse through their Facebook photos or take a quick peek on LinkedIn, remember that many couples fell head over heels in love (for centuries!) long before Google was a part of our daily vernacular. Let’s try to preserve a little mystery.