Why is dating so hard? And why is the dating advice for men often so…vague?
Sure, there are some great ones out there — put yourself out there, mind your manners, and, for goodness sake, don’t talk about your exes. And then again, there are some misses.
When it comes to finding the “fish in the sea,” how do you go from being bumbling like Hitch’s Albert Brennaman to suave like Alex “Hitch” Hitchens?
One part (which is what many dating tips provide) is how you portray yourself. The other, more important part is how you view yourself.
Short of hiring yourself a “Date Doctor,” here are twelve dating tips for men from the experts at Mindvalley.
1. Get to Know Yourself
Many of us start listing off the kind of partner we want — beauty, brains, and whatnot. That’s a whole lot of pressure on the other person to meet our expectations, no?
Regardless if you’re casually dating, online dating, or looking for a life partner, step one towards happiness is to get to know yourself. It’s all about how to be authentic, like how Hitch’s Albert Brennaman is when he’s around Alegra Cole.
“You cannot truly be happy unless you’re at peace with yourself,” says Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani, co-founder of Mindvalley and trainer of the 10 Questions for Self-Love Quest. This doesn’t mean it’s all rainbows and butterflies, she adds. Rather, it means that happiness sits on the side of the spectrum of self-awareness.
And that is the very essence of self-love.
Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani’s dating advice for men: “Start practicing moments of awareness. If you need help with that, you can set 10 alarms on your watch or on your phone throughout the day. And every time an alarm goes off, you slow down and you tell yourself, ‘I’m practicing a moment of awareness.’”
2. Switch Off Your Emotional Autopilot
Some dates really don’t leave us with good first impressions, or second, or third… And then, there are instances of tardiness, ghosting, and DTF (down to f*ck) only.
When things don’t go our way, it becomes easy to operate emotionally on autopilot — like getting angry when a date is late or, in Albert Brennaman’s case, feeling helpless that he’s so close to the love of his life yet so far. It can lead our self-talk down the road to Negative Town.
This is where awareness can help, and Kristina recommends doing it with curiosity rather than judgment. In fact, one study found that nonjudgmental people had lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress-related symptoms.
Awareness switches off the autopilot reactions. Instead, it allows you to respond from a space of calmness and composure.
Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani’s dating advice for men: “Every time you feel an intense or unpleasant emotion, you slow down and you remind yourself, ‘Hey! You’re practicing awareness today.’ And if you can, close your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath in and out, and ask yourself the question: ‘What kind of choice am I making right now?’ And remember: do it with curiosity, not with judgment.”
3. Let Perfectionism Go
When we find our “person,” they seem to check off all the traits on our list. Have a great job, check. Come from a good family, check. Smart, funny, and kind, check, check and check.
However, as we spend more time with our partners, we may start to realize certain traits about them rub us the wrong way. As a result, we’re left with two choices, according to Kristina: 1) love them for who they truly are, or 2) we feel disappointed and “unlove” them.
The idea of perfectionism applies not only to your partner but to yourself as well. Kristina explains that the checkbox list we make for others, we also do for ourselves. She adds, “Everything we don’t like about ourselves, these are the red flags that can eventually lead us to be disappointed in ourselves.”
So let go of this idea that you or your partner have to be “perfect.” It’s one of the most important dating tips to follow.
Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani’s dating advice for men: “The further the real you are from that ‘perfect you,’ the easier it is to actually fall for that trap — to dislike the way you are right now — and to only like the version of you which is ‘perfect.’”
4. Identify Your Patterns
Dating patterns are “what actually happens in the dynamic between yourself and other people,” according to Katherine Woodward Thomas, relationship expert and trainer of Mindvalley’s Calling In The One Quest. And while these patterns can be good, like having effective communication in your relationship, it’s often associated with being toxic or destructive.
For instance, attracting or dating a specific type. Or relationships play out the same, even when they’re with different people. Or going back to the same person over and over again.
Katherine explains that when these patterns happen constantly, it’s often interpreted that we’re unworthy of love, others don’t find us attractive, or that our love life is somehow cursed. She adds, “Inside the consciousness of these interpretations, we will then respond in ways that covertly recreate the pattern.”
This is especially great dating advice for men after divorce, who may feel victimized by patterns that show up again and again.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ dating advice for men: “When you begin to see your own part clearly and how you, yourself, are almost setting other people up to play out these painful stories, again and again, you finally access the choice to do it differently.”
5. Honor Your Needs
The need for connection is an integral part of being human. There is plenty of research that shows social interactions empower health and wellness.
In that connection are healthy needs that provide love, respect, safety, consideration, and care. These include our partners being honest, accepting responsibility for their actions, following through, listening to our feelings and opinions, and so on and so forth.
Unfortunately, many of us are hesitant to ask for them for fear of looking needy. Like Albert Brennaman (or, dare we say, even Hitch himself), we hide behind the masks of “we don’t have needs” to get the love we crave.
So it’s important to honor your healthy needs and distinguish them from your unhealthy needs.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ dating advice for men: “Until we have healthy expectations that others that we are allowing into our lives should actually care about our feelings and needs, we won’t make very good choices about which relationships to invest our hearts and souls into and which to steer clear of.”
6. Set Your Bold Intention for Love
This is common dating advice for women. However, it is also very applicable to men.
You are an active co-creator of your love life. And when you have the courage to show up for yourself, life offers you synchronicities in the most serendipitous ways.
Ask yourself this question: “If I could offer to be everything and anything to my partner, who would I be?” And from there, you can see the possibilities of the love you desire.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ dating advice for men: “Every choice you make, every action you take, you’re mindful and you’re always asking yourself, ‘Am I showing up in a way that is consistent with the future of happy, healthy love?’”
7. Use Your Charisma to Connect
If you go back and watch Hitch, pay attention to Hitch himself. There’s a certain way about him — the confidence, the suaveness, and the “melt at the knees” charm.
That’s called charisma. And contrary to popular belief, it’s a learnable trait, not just for the selected few.
There’s a science to it, according to Vanessa Van Edwards, behavioral investigator and trainer of Mindvalley’s Magnetic Charisma Quest. And it can impact, inspire, and influence the people around you, making it easier to connect with your dates.
Vanessa Van Edwards’ dating advice for men: “Treat others as they would treat themselves. This is where things get much more interesting. If we treat others the way they want to be treated, we bond quicker. We build trust more quickly. We deepen connection.”
8. Make Yourself More Memorable
The dating game used to be going to your local watering hole, going up to a girl with (or without) a pickup line, and asking her out. Now, with the swipe rights and lefts, it leaves many people finding dating hard, according to a 2020 survey by Pew Research Center.
How do you stand out from the crowd with so many options at your fingertips? How do you make yourself memorable, like Albert Brennaman standing up for Alegra Cole during the board meeting?
Vanessa advises breaking social scripts, more commonly known as small talk. It’s important to note that not only is small talk socially scripted, but answers are, too.
“When you ask questions that we’ve heard a million times before, it’s like asking the other person’s brain to stay asleep,” she says in the Quest. “[Your] brain stays asleep asking and their brain stays asleep answering.”
Vanessa Van Edwards’ dating advice for men: “The entire goal here is to wake people up, to break those social scripts.” Ask questions like “What are you most passionate about?” or “What has been the highlight of your day so far?“
9. Bring Out the Best In Your Date
Dating is a two-way street. It’s not only about your being clever, impressive, and charismatic, it’s also about helping your date be their most clever, impressive, charismatic self.
Granted, if you’re meeting them for the first time, it’s difficult to know exactly what to rave about them. But the trick, according to Vanessa, is to be mindful of the words you use.
She adds that one word has the power to change the entire interaction. So use positive and engaging words, like “wonderful” and “absolutely” — they can help you avoid being accidentally negative.
Vanessa Van Edwards’ dating advice for men: “The kinds of words you use for others are gifts. When you use positive raves, charismatic words, warm words, competent words…those are gifts to help others be their best and most charismatic self.”
10. Mirror Your Date
Remember when you were a kid and you may have (or know of someone who may have) copied everything your parents did? If they laughed, you laughed the same way. If they wiped their nose, you’d wipe yours.
Mirroring is a similar concept (without it being an annoying behavior that undermines your authority). It’s actually been scientifically proven that it’s hardwired into the human brain and helps with communication, boosts rapport, and makes your date feel heard and valued.
We mirror other people’s body language as a way of bonding and getting accepted by them, according to Allan Pease, “Mr. Body Language” and trainer of Mindvalley’s Mastering Body Language: Truth, Lies, Love & Power Quest. He explains that to assess if a person is positive or negative, scan the other person’s body to see if they move or gesture in the same way as you.
Allan Pease’s dating advice for men: “Mirroring makes other people feel, what they describe as, ‘at ease.’ There’s something about you that says the vibes are good. And it’s such a powerful rapport-building tool that says, ‘Look at me. I’m the same as you.’”
11. Master Your Gestures
The aforementioned Pew Research Center survey reported that 75% of men aged 50 and older say it’s now harder for them to know how to behave on dates in this era of the #MeToo movement. So what can they do without fearing they’ll pull a wrong move and end up as a trending topic on social media?
One dating advice for men over 50, especially, is to know how to use gestures and read them. According to Allan, everybody uses similar body language, so it’s easier to figure out what’s happening in their minds.
- Head up. It shows authority, confidence, and maybe a little arrogance.
- Hands on hips. It makes a person more noticeable.
- The leg spread position. A seated position with the legs spread wide as a gesture to say, “‘mine’ is bigger than yours.”
There are, of course, more gestures than the ones listed. So learning how to use your gestures and read that of your date can help you whether they’re into you or not.
Allan Pease’s dating advice for men: “What you’ve got to look for with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ signals is congruence. That is, is the voice agreeing with what you’re seeing?” — when the person says “yes” and nods or says “no” and shakes their head — “But it’s when people think one thing but says another that becomes very interesting.”
12. Text With Emojis
If there are any great online dating tips for men, it’s getting the hang of texting. This form of communication is the modern version of writing letters. So it most definitely helps to know how to master the language of it.
One tricky thing about texting is that you can’t control how the other person reads it. Oftentimes, messages get lost in translation because there’s no emotion and intonation behind written words.
How do you solve this problem? Allan recommends using emojis. For example, a “Hello” can be taken in any which way. However, a “Hello” with a smiling emoji signals warmth and invites the person in for a conversation.
Allan Pease’s dating advice for men: “If you don’t put an emoji into your text, the person will interpret what they think you meant. And usually, when they interpret what they think you meant, it’s not always positive. So the lesson here is: use emojis.”
Great Love Starts With You
The bottom line is, the potential for a great dating experience starts with you. When it comes to dating, we all could do with a little help.
You can hire a “Date Doctor” if you’d like. But you can also find guidance at Mindvalley, where you can find experts in various areas of love, life, and deep, meaningful connections.
Here’s where you can start:
- 10 Questions for Self-Love Quest. Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani poses 10 questions that encourage you to re-think what it means to be you and how you can love and accept yourself the way you truly are.
- Calling In The One Quest. Katherine Woodward Thomas guides you on reshaping your thoughts and beliefs about love and relationships so you can call in “the One.”
- Magnetic Charisma Quest. Vanessa Van Edwards can help you harness your charisma and transform how you present yourself and interact with others.
- Mastering Body Language: Truth, Lies, Love & Power Quest. With Allan and Barbara Pease guiding you, you can learn how to send the right signals on dates and read them.
When you’re ready to take off the masks and step into the “you” you’re proud of, you can sign up to Mindvalley and access some quest classes for free. What’s more, the company is known for its community, so if you want to hang out with like-minded individuals, you can join the exclusive meet-ups.
It’s time to turn your “I want” into “I can.” Welcome in.