6 Tips To Make Dipping Back Into The Dating Pool Easier Than Ever

People have many valid reasons for taking breaks from dating. For instance, it's a good idea to take a step back and focus on yourself after you break up with someone. Or if you have a lot going on at home or with your family, that might be a higher priority than going on dates. Additionally, if work has been super busy lately, you might not have had the time to swim in the dating pool. Or maybe you've just been hit with dating burnout after encountering too many narcissists and creeps on social media and dating apps.

"It's almost as if people date for content now ... We've fallen down this ugly hole of treating people badly because we can," Dan, an author and broadcaster, told Vice. Thus, if previous years haven't brought you any luck with dating, you're not the only one who went through that struggle. But while it's understandable to take a break for a while, you shouldn't give up on dating for good. After all, you'll never meet anyone if you never try, right? If you took a break from dating due to other priorities or bad experiences and feel ready to dip back into the dating pool, we have some tips for you.

Be happy on your own first

People of all ages must understand that real life isn't a fairytale. When we were kids, many of us watched movies that were fun but gave a very misleading message: The idea that people — specifically women — won't be happy until they find their special someone. But in reality, true love won't solve your problems. Even after you find your soulmate and have a beautiful relationship, you'll still have rough and frustrating days, as love isn't a magical solution to everything in life. So, before you start dating, you must remember that it's on you to find happiness, as you're the only person with the power to write your story, no matter who you meet in the next chapter. Therefore, you shouldn't dip into the dating pool until you are confident.

"Do what you need to do to feel good about yourself before dating ...The person will love you for all that you are, but you need to love you for all that you are in order to even meet," Jaime Bronstein, a licensed clinical social worker and author, told Today. You won't be ready for romantic love until you understand self-love, so you shouldn't go on serious dates until you love yourself.

Try to have an open mind

If you're open to dating again after being single, consider trying a more open-minded attitude this time. There's nothing wrong with being picky, but if you look back at your exes and previous dates and recognize that you've only gone out with one type of person, you might want to broaden your horizons. For example, did all of your exes have blond hair or play sports? Having a physical type is not bad, but you shouldn't instantly ignore anyone without those specific characteristics. Maybe if you pay more attention to a brunette, you'll realize they have gorgeous eyes, or you'll see that an artist can be just as fun as an athlete. Dating outside your "type" will open more doors for you, so avoid limiting your options to a specific category.

An open-minded attitude should also apply to how you meet people. Maybe you've met all your past partners and flings at coffee shops, work, or the gym and enjoy meeting people spontaneously. However, if you don't consider different methods of meeting people, you might miss out on some great individuals. So, think about downloading a dating app, reading the DMs you get on Instagram, or agreeing to finally go out on a date with that cute bartender your best friend has been trying to set you up with for months.

But don't lower your standards

While you should avoid rejecting someone because of their hair color or favorite sports, you should never settle for anyone who doesn't treat you well. It can be tempting to overlook a disrespectful comment or a flighty attitude because you haven't been on a date in what feels like forever. However, the allure of going out on a date shouldn't overpower the respect you deserve. Thus, if you don't like how someone treats you, you're better off without them, even if you get lonely sometimes.

Furthermore, you shouldn't force yourself to give someone a chance if you aren't attracted to them. Society puts an annoying amount of pressure on women to give "nice guys" a chance, even when the woman isn't attracted to him, while men often laugh at the idea of dating girls they don't find pretty. That double standard based on the assumption that women care more about personalities than looks is unfair. We commonly see gorgeous women dating or flirting with stereotypical "nice guys" on TV just because those guys are kinder than the men those women typically date. Think of Leonard and Penny on "The Big Bang Theory" or Cece and Robby from "New Girl." While there's nothing wrong with dating an individual because they have a sweet personality, don't let society pressure you into being with someone you aren't attracted to just because they seem kinder than your exes.

Don't compare yourself to others

Maybe half of your friends are engaged, one is already married, and you haven't had a date in two years. It can be frustrating when it seems like everyone else has fun dating experiences and romantic love lives when yours isn't going anywhere, but at the end of the day, you don't know everything that goes on in everyone else's lives, and comparisons lead to nothing but unhappiness and stress.

If you often compare your dating life to that of your friends or family members, "it can be helpful to remind ourselves that we often don't have all of the information when we look at other couples' relationships," Dr. Brian Doss, a psychology professor and director of the OurRelationship program, told PsychCentral. So, don't assume those relationships are enviable just because most of your friends or family members have a special someone. You also shouldn't let comparison make you do anything you aren't comfortable with. For example, if your friends go on dates with people they barely know, but you prefer to be adequately acquainted before meeting in person, trust in your instincts and do what you're comfortable with. This might mean fewer dates, but at least you'll enjoy them.

Get out of your home to meet new people

While you shouldn't do anything you aren't comfortable with regarding your approach to dating, you'll likely struggle to meet anyone if you never leave your home. Hearing this might annoy introverts, but there's no arguing with the fact that people who get out often are more likely to meet people than those who never leave home. Sure, dating apps and social media can help you meet some cuties, but you'll only meet new people in person if you get out of your house or apartment.

"Some of us feel lonely in our box, but we get so comfortable that we are afraid to leave it," Laurel House, a relationship coach, told Well + Good. There's nothing wrong with being an introvert and preferring nights in over nights out, but if you want to meet new people, you should force yourself to get out of your home, at least occasionally. Not only is a change of scenery good for mental health, but it's great for finding potential romantic interests. So, instead of eating lunch in your kitchen, consider going out to eat. Or, try working out at a gym instead of at home. You can even go to a bar and see who you'll meet.

Consider treating your love life like an investment

If you're serious about dating but haven't had the best luck, consider investing more time, effort, and money into your love life. For instance, instead of buying a new dress or an expensive drink, use that money to pay for a better version of a dating app. The popular dating app Bumble offers a Premium option where users can pay for perks such as filtering capabilities, extended messaging, and weekly "SuperSwipes." Or, think about using a matchmaker. While this method might seem a bit old-fashioned, there's nothing wrong with paying a professional to help you find someone special. It's a matchmaker's job to help you find love, so if you have the money, hiring one could be all you need to get out of your dating rut.

Moreover, speed dating events and singles mixers can help you meet other singles, leading to future dates. You might be able to find some free events for single people, but more elaborate mixers or speed-dating occasions may be worth the price, as these gatherings can help you meet people with similar interests while enjoying fun activities. On the other hand, if your struggles with dating are bringing you down or you believe there's a deeper reason preventing you from enjoying the dating scene, therapy can help.