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Darren Haber, MFT(Psychotherapist)answered(8/8/2012)Hi Yngathrt. Not sure there's a "best" way. In some ways I think people put too heavy a burden on the concept of "dating". It seems very serious, almost like some kind of test. It is a test, but I think the best way to get to know someone is to do something enjoyable and keep it light. I always advise clients to keep it very short in the beginning, coffee or a drink for a first date, 15-20 minutes, then second date where you do something which will provide conversation without much strain: museum, film, zoo, where you don't have to stare at each other for 60-90 minutes and make conversation. Keep it light and keep it fun. Try to pace yourself, even if it's going "amazing". I also think that, unless you're absolutely sure it's not a match, it's always worth a follow up. Sometimes first impressions are wrong, and some are so nervous they can't help but make a bad impression the first time. For fun date ideas, I've heard of people going dancing together (where they give a lesson at the beginning), playing air hockey, mini golf, batting cages, botanical garden, aquarium, hiking, something that provides fodder for talk and a chance to relax and enjoy. The purpose of a date, when getting started, is to see if you want to have another date. That's it. Relax as best you can. It's occasionally a tough thing, dating, make sure you have a good friend with dating experience you can talk to after; dating is difficult some of the time, no matter how you slice it. But there is no best or perfect way, you just do the best you can and that's good enough.
Ixchel Mendoza(Certified Personal Trainer)answered(8/9/2012)Dating can be very enjoyable, but it can also be stressful. If you're just getting started again, I'd suggest going to various social events so you can meet new people and get comfortable initiating conversations with strangers. These can be networking events, parties, concerts, etc. Always listen to yourself and do what feels right for you. Some people feel comfortable meeting potential dates through friends or co-workers while others try online sites to get connected.
Dating is a way to get to know someone else and see if you have a connection. You are checking this person out while they are doing the same with you. You won't like every date you go on, but if nothing else, it might make a good story later.Go in with an open mind and be yourself; it won't benefit anyone in the long run if you go in trying to be someone else. Good luck and remember to have fun.
Michelle Brock(Certified Life Coach & Hypnotist)answered(8/9/2012)It can be really powerful to take some time away from dating and work on yourself, especially if you find yourself repeating patterns you don't like (i.e. dating the same "type"). We accomplish the most growth and personal development during these alone times, as real inner work happens by yourself. But, at a certain point, it is time to commit to jumping back in and putting yourself out there again. My advice would be to first decide what you want- are you looking to have fun? To rebuild damaged self esteem? Or, to fall in love? Intentions are really important, as you will attract the people and situations you are seeking, even subconsciously. This is why it is also important to be honest with yourself about why you were out of the game for three years. What are your fears? You must be vulnerable with yourself first, and then practice putting yourself out there in small ways- flirting in line at the grocery store, online chatting, etc. will help you dip your feet in the water before you dive in head first. And, go easy on yourself! When you are relaxed and confident, you will find that your energy will be magnetic to all who encounter you. Have fun!