Mix Up Your Dating Routine

Women's Dating

7 Easy Ways to Mix Up Your Dating Routine in 2021

Rachel Dack

Written by: Rachel Dack

Rachel Dack

Rachel Dack is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and relationship coach specializing in individual and couples psychotherapy. Rachel's areas of expertise include relationships, dating, mindfulness, anxiety, depression and self-esteem.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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If you were dating or looking for love in 2020, you were faced with lots of new barriers and situations. From social distancing, virtual dating, quarantining, anxiety about your safety, and many traditional dates being off limits, COVID-19 has dramatically changed the dating landscape.

2021 is finally here, and a new year often represents new beginnings, change, and hope. It’s an opportunity to set important goals and increase your motivation to go after what you want. Yes, the pandemic is far from over and dating in 2021 still won’t feel the same as it once did. But if you want to take control of your love life and date more successfully by mixing up your approach, this article is for you.

Here are seven easy ways to mix up your dating routine in 2021:

1. Sign up for a Dating Site or App, or Use a Platform You Haven’t Tried Yet

The pandemic is making it increasingly harder to meet other single people spontaneously and in person, so it’s a great time to take advantage of online dating. If you have been hesitant to try online dating, now is the time to push past any mental barriers and give it a chance.

For example, if you feel awkward or apprehensive starting a conversation with someone who is a complete stranger, try to push through your anxiety and be open to new experiences. You will find that online conversations get easier as you build confidence through practice and experience.

Or if you’ve had bad luck on a specific dating site, try not to rule out all online dating sites, and sign up for a different one that might be a better fit.

2. Give Yourself a Bit of a Makeover

Why not give your physical appearance a new start? Simple changes can lead to newfound confidence and help you feel more motivated to date and meet others. Plus, low-maintenance, easy-to-style looks are perfect during the pandemic when something like getting a haircut comes with risk.

For example, if you have wavy hair that you straighten or blow out every day, see what it’s like to style your wavy hair as is. Or if you are used to keeping your hair really short, play around with longer layers and lengths. You can also experiment with different makeup and clothing on virtual dates.

Photo of woman looking in mirror

Trying a new hairstyle or buying a nice blouse can boost your confidence.

For in-person outdoor dates, look for casual outfits to keep you comfortable and warm during winter weather. Invest in a sexier winter coat or hat, buy some slick winter boots, or accessorize with beautifully colored scarfs to wow your date.

3. Cultivate an Awesome Relationship With Yourself

Connecting with yourself is essential to your 2021 dating approach because it ensures you are in a healthy mindset to connect with someone new. Commit to me time to prioritize your well-being, take part in activities and hobbies that bring you meaning, joy, and relaxation, and connect with yourself and your support system.

Take care of your mind and body through consistent physical activity and a healthy sleep routine. Treat yourself well through small actions such as cooking or ordering in your favorite meal. Don’t let the pandemic stop you from pursuing meaningful relationships with friends and family (even if connecting is virtual, by phone, or distanced in person) or engaging in your hobbies.

So many online classes, educational seminars, and theatrical performances are available from the comfort of your own home, so there’s no excuse to neglect personal interests. Remember self-care helps you have a more confident, purposeful, accepting, and supportive relationship with yourself, which is key to your love life. Self-care is also especially important due to the pandemic’s challenging and lonely nature.

4. Commit to Going After What You Want and Not Settling

Many single people are reporting that the pandemic has given them a chance to reflect on what they want in a partner and relationship. The quarantine has caused a shift in perspective, changing what some people are looking for and how they are approaching new relationships.

Being alone and isolated has been eye-opening for some people and they realized how important a romantic relationship is. For others, the pandemic has been a much needed break from serial dating and hookups, allowing them to think more clearly and rationally about what they want long term.

Photo of woman thinking

Take the time to think about what you want to get out of dating, and be willing to stand up for those wants if someone isn’t meeting your standards.

Regardless of your dating history, go after your goals wholeheartedly, resist playing games, and don’t settle. For example, consider ending things with someone who is hot and cold. Don’t wait around for someone to text you back after going MIA and be more empowered to speak up about what you want.

5. Spend More Time Getting to Know Someone Virtually Before Agreeing to Meet in Person

The pandemic has completely changed the pace of dating, including people’s expectations and timing for in-person dates. This means that, in general, people are dating at a slower pace and taking more time to see if there is a connection prior to taking things offline.

In many ways, this is a really positive development for dating and relationships, even though it may feel different than what you are used to. In 2021, continue to build emotional connections prior to physical ones, take your time deciding if you’d like to meet in person, and when you meet, slow down the pace of sexual intimacy.

Once you feel ready to meet, spend time discussing COVID-19 safety protocols. Slowing down the pace and setting expectations prior to meeting will keep you and your date as safe as possible during the pandemic and aid you in only meeting high-quality matches.

6. Get Comfortable with Low-Key, Casual, and/or Outdoor Dates

You may be used to a dating approach that includes fancy dinners, indoor concerts, museum tours, and exotic vacations, but many of these types of dates are no longer options or come with significant safety risks.

Change can be hard, especially if you had a go-to date spot (like a local bar or restaurant) that is closed or only offers minimal seating. And if you are not the most outdoorsy person, going on a hike, may not be your first choice for a date.

Goldsboro, North Carolina

Even if you’re not the most outdoorsy person, taking a walk in the park is a safe way to get to know someone and get your adrenaline pumping.

Regardless of your pre-pandemic dating approach, practice getting comfortable with more low-key, simple dates that will keep you and your date as safe as possible. This may include pushing yourself to go on dates you wouldn’t normally be drawn to and changing your expectations of what first-date activities should be until the pandemic is more under control.

Remember you can still form a solid connection even if dating is different now.

7. Practice Gratitude

Looking back on 2020, it’s natural to feel loss or impatience if the pandemic interfered with your dating goals. You may also feel more sad or lonely as you live a more isolated life. You may feel anxious wondering when life will feel more normal again. All of these feelings are valid and shouldn’t be judged or ignored.

However, while letting yourself grieve, it is important to be grateful for what you do have. Consider what’s important to you, including any accomplishments from 2020 and who or what you are grateful for. This may include a job that pays the bills, a roof over your head, a support system, food on your table, a pet who gives great cuddles, your health, and learning a lot about yourself during quarantine. Bringing an attitude of gratitude into your love life will have a positive impact on your dating approach.

2021 is the Year to Take a Leap!

If you feel completely discouraged, isolated, or unsure of how to proceed with dating in 2021, try to apply the above strategies for a fresh start. As you’ve heard me say before, a few small tweaks or a new perspective can make a huge difference in your dating life. Be patient with yourself, commit to going after your goals, and stay open to love in 2021.

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