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How to take the stress out of dating

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Simplify your dating life

Dating can get exhausting. If you're going out with guy after guy who you just can't connect with, something needs to change. We're here to help you get your dating life back on track and finally meet your match!
Happy woman on date

Hilary Rushford is founder of Dean Street Society, where she does gentlemen's branding (aka helps guys with their online dating profiles and approaches to dating). As an expert in all things date-related, she shares her top dating tips for improving your dating life this year.

FacebookRepresent your brand

In today's culture, we've gone viral. Most of us have Facebook pages, Twitter handles, Tumblrs, blogs, websites, dating profiles and a variety of places online where photos and videos of us can be found. If this sounds like you, it's time to get consistent. "If you're smart, you're surveying that landscape to see how a current or potential boss would view you if they were to do a Google search. Consider the same for a potential date," Rushford says. "How does your Facebook wall make you sound? Does your online dating profile sound bitter and jaded? Are your photos on social media fun and engaging?" She advises taking into consideration the fact that there are many more places to stumble upon someone than in a bar these days, so make sure you look like the best version of yourself when someone "meets you" on the internet.

Stay frugal

Dating need not be expensive. It might seem that way, but you don't have to break the bank to find a man. "Regardless of where you're at financially, in challenging economic times, it's just cool to be aware," explains Rushford. "Lavishly spending on a date could make your date uncomfortable if they're between jobs, while picking up a high tab if you can't really afford it puts too much pressure on the date," she says. Instead, find more frugal options. For example, unless it's 30 degrees, grabbing a cup of coffee and taking a walk in the park, local neighborhood or window shopping is always a good, easy date. There's conversation, it can last an hour or five hours and you can do it for under $5.

Channel your motto

Just because a date doesn't turn out to be great, it doesn't mean all is lost. Make every moment count with a motto that helps you through the rough patches. Rushford's motto, "Life's all about good stories," helps her put dating disasters in perspective: "Even a bad date can turn out to be a win when it's story time at my next girls' night." Dating can be challenging, tiresome or disappointing, but you can be in control of your mindset going in, which allows you to make the best of every date. Whether it's a reminder to be fully present in each date, or motivation to keep putting yourself out there after a string of duds, find a motto that works for you.

ListKnow your five

If you sign onto an online dating site these days, you can check a hundred boxes of what you do and don't want: red hair, 5'10"-5'11", non-smoker, not divorced, likes baseball, vegetarian. Rushford advises being open to dating outside your type. "Have you ever dated someone who didn't fit into those categories? You met him at a party and had an awesome first date before you learned he was divorced, but were so smitten by then that you weren't sure it mattered?" Rather than get too picky, narrow your list down to just five things. "We all have non-negotiables. And should! But this social media age has also told us that we might be able to Google search the 99 characteristics of our dream partner and as a result we close off a lot of people," she explains. "Know your five and stay open to the rest."

Tell us

What are your top non-negotiables in a partner? Share in the comments below!

More dating tips

Should you start a dating service
Easy date planning with iPhone apps
Conquering the fear of online dating

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