OPINION:

Oh, what a year it has been dating-wise! I still remember celebrating New Year’s Eve last year and the theme of the night seemed to be sending off the sh*t-show that was 2020.

Little did we know that in 2021 we would actually be spending MORE time in lockdown and attempting to navigate our way through Skype dates and walking dates. Let’s say it all together now … SNORE! I don’t care if you are Brad Pitt – I refuse to go on any form of dating/Skype date ever again!

Thankfully I managed to have some fun times with a bubble buddy, but sheesh what a time.

One true blessing this year has been my Kinda Sorta Dating podcast. I was blessed with the most amazing guests who were so open and honest about their own love life journeys that I honestly found myself just lapping up all their wisdom.

When I look at my dating mindset at the start of the year, compared to the end of the year, I am so thankful for those podcast chats because they gave me the tools to date smarter, wiser, and also taught me to embrace being vulnerable and honest. Game changer.

I found myself having a very honest conversation with a guy who had been mucking me around for a couple of years, and I also learned to take responsibility for allowing myself to be treated like that, and if I’m honest, even actively chasing it.

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I learned how to be open to dating someone who wasn’t what I had deemed “my type”, and I learned to stop using alcohol as a tool to fix dating anxiety.

So, in the spirit of giving, I’ve collated three of my favourite pieces of dating and relationship advice from just some of my brilliant guests this year:

1. Entrepreneur Samantha Wills

On how to pick yourself up when you’ve just had your heart is broken but you’ve got to go to work, and carry on with life:

“The world doesn’t stop when we are in trauma, so we have to find a way to fall apart when we need to, but somehow keep showing up in a way.

“When you are in that moment, you think the pain is going to last forever. You think it has no end date, especially when you’re in the foetal position on the floor, but you’ve got to look back at a past time you were in that similar situation and tell yourself, ‘It’s going to be okay, I promise you it’s not going to last forever’.”

“All you can do is take it hour by hour. When it’s really bad, not even day by day, just hour by hour. Also, don’t try and hold back the tears, just excuse yourself from the workplace, go into the toilets and have a good cry. Just do what you can do.

“Also know that there are people around you who do want to help you. You think you have to keep the heartbreak inside, but you don’t. There are people around you who can help, even if it’s just an ear to listen. Know that it will pass.”

2. Behavioural scientist Logan Ury

On how to stand out from others on the dating apps:

“Be specific, and it’s the same in comedy – there’s this idea in comedy that the more specific you can make something, the funnier it is. And so sometimes people’s profiles say things that are sort of generic like, “I love cooking, travelling and hanging out with my family” and it’s like yeah dude, who doesn’t! That’s so general.

“Go into more details. What’s your dream vacation, what is the meal that you cook with your family every Sunday? Be a story teller, and that’s how you stand out, because someone is going to think, “Wow I really want to get to know that person, or I’m curious”.

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“Every photo or every caption is a prompt to spark conversation. You are much more likely to spark conversation by saying something quirky like, “My biggest goal in life is to find someone to go on The Block with”.

“Straight away you’ve got guys sliding into your DMs going – ‘I want to go on The Block too!’ Or something similar. Find photos and captions that will spark conversation.”

3. Dating coach Mel Schilling

On how to find a long-term partner:

“Get clear on your goals – what do you want from dating. Maybe you just want casual hook ups and lots of great sex. Then get on the swiping apps and do that.

“But if you’re in a position right now where you’re thinking ‘I’m actually really ready for a serious relationship and I’m going to jump in with both feet’ – then you need a different strategy.

“The key is to make sure that the tactics you are using match the goal you are working towards. So stop making yourself available to people you know are only looking for a good time. You get a dopamine hit every time you see a message from these people and it can get confusing, so remove all temptation if that’s not what you want long term.

“Be clear with what you want and say it straight up from the start. It removes the time wasters and sets you on a path to find someone who is also after a real relationship.”

Jana Hocking is a podcaster and collector of kind-of-boyfriends | @jana_hocking

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