9 Useful Mindsets That Will Keep You Happy When You Date



I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard this from people who want to find a relationship.

And that’s a shame. Because unless you’re going to wait forever for your best girl friend to set you up with “this really cute guy from work” (spoiler alert: he won’t be), you’re seriously limiting your options when you nix dating entirely. And yet, there’s truth to the complaint: dating nowadays can feel like a chore…if you do it wrong.

People are cynical about relationships, frustrated with online dating, and the antipathy between men and women seems to have grown over the last decade. 

But that’s only because we tend to hear the loudest voices. Many of which are negative, angry or frustrated.

The truth is, if you approach your love life with the right mindset, it doesn’t need to feel like work, nor should it make you feel despair.

That’s right. Going out, dating, finding a meaningful connection – this can be a rewarding part of your life, regardless of whether or not you’re currently looking for a committed relationship.  

So if you need a refresh for your brain right now, here are 9 mindsets that will make dating feel easier:

1. “I’m here to connect with a human being”

Dating isn’t an interview. If it feels like it, something has gone wrong.

Whenever I go on a first date, my mental strategy is to tell myself: “I’m here to have fun and connect.” That’s it. No expectations. No grandiose fantasies and speculation about the future.

We meet. Chat. Get some ice cream if things go well. Spend another hour hanging out if things do well after that. And so on.

When we take the pressure off, we stop seeing a date as a “pass or fail” test.

2. “It doesn’t have to lead somewhere to be worth it”

Lest I state the screamingly obvious, not every Tinder match will lead to a deep emotional connection.

Maybe it will lead to a tipsy make-out session and a fun story to tell. Or a promising conversation that fizzles out when you realise you both aren’t looking for the same thing. Maybe it (gasp) even leads to making a friend.

We can see dating as very all-or-nothing. Either it MUST go somewhere, or it’s a waste of time.

But there are in-between stages as well. Sometimes we get juice just from being in the thick of things and meeting different characters that we would never have known otherwise. And that’s worth it in and of itself.

3. “My time is precious”

Remind yourself of every day upon waking. Don’t sleepwalk into a life where you say “yes” out of politeness, or where you fritter evenings waiting for a text back. You could have been (re)watching The Godfather, learning Japanese, making tacos, laughing with your friends.

There are endless things to do, and not enough time to do them all.

So say “no” to anything that doesn’t bring you meaning or fun. Especially in dating.

And what’s more: respect other people’s time. If you feel you want something different than the person you’re texting/flirting with/seeing, let them know, talk it out, and take your leave if you feel like one of you is being lead in a direction they won’t be happy about later on. 

4. “Chemistry + Compatibility = next date”

That’s it.

Unless you see any glaring red flags, the decision to see someone for a second time should only require a “yes” to two questions:

Do I feel some unique physical chemistry with this person?

Do I feel like our personalities/values are compatible?

The rest can come later. People tend to try to think of 100 tick boxes at once and it creates too much pressure. Keep it simple at the early stages.

5. “Not being liked does not mean I’m unlikeable”

People also make rejection too complicated.

I personally don’t really care if someone flakes after a date or two. Maybe they’re still in some weird situation with their ex (this was true of someone I went on a couple of dates with a long time ago). Maybe they just can’t be bothered. Maybe they have some weird esoteric taste that you just don’t fulfill. Maybe they have toxic attraction patterns and you were “too nice” for them.

Blah blah. Who gives a shit?

It means nothing.

Ok, if it happens dozens of times, then maybe it’s time to reassess and look in the mirror. But in general: we just aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. That will always be the case for myriad reasons. It’s cool. Just stop texting them or agree to be pals and move on to someone who really gets you.

6. “Disinterest is a turn-off”

If I had to guess, somewhere between 50-100 women have approached me after seminars showing me texts on their phone from some guy who boomerangs in and out of their life. Every few weeks he chases again, throwing breadcrumb texts just to make sure he gives enough scraps to keep them fed. Then he stops. Rinse and repeat.

Then they ask: “What do I say to make him take me seriously?”

You don’t.

This behaviour should gross you out. It should make you laugh at the audacity of someone who thinks they can get another minute of your attention with such lame non-committal behaviour.

You’re the prize. Always. Period.

If someone doesn’t see that. Great. They have bad taste. That’s a turn-off: who wants to date someone with bad taste? Not me.

7. “It’s not my job to fix anyone’s else beliefs/issues/traumas/cynicism”

Everyone has their stuff.

Family problems. Difficult past relationships. Heartbreak. It all affects us.

But it doesn’t mean we get to bring that to the next person. Nor does it mean our job is to fix someone’s messed up beliefs about men/women, love, or a generally unpleasant outlook on the world.

Again, struggle is ok. Having a past is ok. But things get a LOT easier when we stop deciding it’s our role to play therapist and reform the person in front of us until they’re the person we need them to be.

 It’s ok to have bad stuff behind you, but find someone who is willing to look forward to a brighter future.

8. “I will never be ‘complete’”

Romance won’t solve your life. It won’t fit every jigsaw piece into place and leave you riding off blissfully into the sunset.

It will just be another “thing” in your life. A thing that expands your heart, makes you cry, gives you joy, and makes you tear your hair out.

Love is…messy.

If it’s the right kind of love, it’s also messy in a good way.

We get happier when we expect less from things. And relationships are the same. They won’t complete us. They’ll add to our lives and magnify them in beautiful ways. But they’ll also be the beginning of a whole new challenge.

9. “There is more to life than romance”

“Love is all you need” – maybe for you John Lennon, but I also have a life.

I like art, literature, creativity, philosophy, exploring new places, making connections, challenging myself physically, and playing Zelda on my Nintendo Switch.

What can I say? I’m a multi-faceted man.

And so are the most interesting people. It’s easy when there is pressure to get married/find love/prove something to some aunt you never see/have babies blah blah to assume that this is the sole definer of your existence.

Which is why we need some damn perspective.

Dating and love and sex and romantic connection are essential to the flavour of life. But there are also other scoops in the sundae (does that metaphor work?).

Jerry Seinfeld once said a key to life is to “fall in love with moments”. The great coffee. The perfect parking spot. That meal that was exactly what you were salivating for.

It’s easy to overlook, but there’s more to life than making your heart do backflips and falling into the tranquilizing bliss of new love.

There are other parts to life. The more we remember this, the less pressure we put on ourselves to GET A DAMN PARTNER ALREADY.

Take the pressure off. Remind yourself there’s beauty in many corridors of life, and maybe one of them will one day lead to the partner of your dreams.

And if not: there’s always another Zelda on the way.

My new book “Love Life” is available for pre-order now! Order your copy today and get exclusive access to some incredible LIMITED TIME BONUSES in my Love Life Launch Group. Grab your copy here.

Free Guide

Copy & Paste These
"9 Texts No Man Can Resist"

15 Replies to “9 Useful Mindsets That Will Keep You Happy When You Date”

  • Dude. Can we just date? I met you at a conference a while back and showed you my triforce tattoos and you were well into them haha ;)

    PS have you been playing Link’s Awakening? thoughts on BotW 2?

  • Not sure why you gasp at the idea of making a friend :( A friend is so much more, definitely more than a boyfriend. After a few years, friends become part of the family. A friend is the one who’ll listen to us when we get pissed off with life. Friendship is awesome! It’ll help us evolve as a human race to the next level and use our developed brain, an escape from the reptile brain. Having said all that, I get what it means to ‘just’ becoming a friend to the average person. On the bright side, the new friend may set you up with someone more suitable from their circle. If a person is feeling comfortable with oneself, they’ll understand why they chose to stay friends. Friendship like love, is a two way street. It happens when both the people see eye to eye. Friends make one a confident person. Friendship is so underrated! Can’t emphasize anymore.
    Otherwise agree with the rest including metaphor

  • About point number 5…i feel like that, i feel unlikeable to the point i stopped dating to stop being rejected by every single person.
    I stopped, stared in the mirror, changed lots of my behaviours but still the same story: i feel like a piece of meat not cooked the right way and so has to be thrown away.
    I’m tired of everyone out there. They all seem looking only to get laid a few times or even only once and then, PUFF, the disappearing act.
    Is there anything else i could to do?

  • Hi!
    I think this mindsets are really usefull for a lot of women, because it help us to clear up some things, so i antes to say thank you, besides I’m aslo watibg for the next zelda game :))

  • Vany, I feel your pain! Reread Point 9 and really comprehend it. Develop your own life and find a way to give service. This will boost your self-esteem and attract someone of like values.

  • what you say is important, I think it is counterproductive to throw yourself down for a refusal, you must never vanish from the other, the world is full of beautiful things and life is too precious to fall, I am of the idea that life must be taken for game and only the game should be taken seriously.

  • Expressing how you feel is understandable, Tackling challenging is an experiences as a team, Relationships are built on trust and the ability to be our true selves with those we love, Taking a genuine interest in one of your partners hobbies, It’s very common if you have an ex partner you could not trust, many people go into new relationship with some kind of baggage, well opening your heart up to someone new can be really scary. But that fear of letting someone in can prevent you from attracting the right one, you have to learn to open up and don’t worry about whether you can, although I must agree life is ups and downs,also life is must special gift God has given to mankind✌️

  • I love that article! We fall in love with life and the right partner fall in with us! Stephen you are amazing!✨ yes we miss seeing you on 1greathour! We miss seeing you live in general.☺️

  • “Remind yourself there’s beauty in many corridors of life, and maybe one of them will one day lead to the partner of your dreams.” That’s it!!!

  • This is a great article! My struggle with the predominance (and now exclusive) of meeting through apps is I so rarely feel the chemistry/connection bit. I typically leave a date feeling “nope” or apathy “I *could* go out with them again” but no real desire to. So that starts to make all the swiping, texting, phone call, date, meh, repeat, feel super tedious.

    How can I change my approach or mindset so that app dating feels more like the organic fun of meeting someone in person (where you don’t really give any time investment before you act least feel some chemistry)?

  • Thanks – you just made me laugh out loud. Such refreshing advice and a morale booster. Keep an coming!

  • Great article, Stephen! I needed to hear this. Zelda: A Link to the Past is also one of my favorite games

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *