Jan 3, 2017 Relationships

The Single, Key Ingredient That Will Dramatically Improve Your Dating Life

by Gabrielle Savoie

Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Anyone who's been on dating apps since their inception knows this vicious cycle all too well: You swipe right on a few promising potentials, waste precious off-time on pretending to be a witty texter, finally set up a date, and cross your fingers that it's going to be a good one. Maybe they'll hypnotize you with their deep brown eyes or charm you with their love for Frank Sinatra. If all goes according to plan, they'll make you burst out laughing on several occasions, impress you with their knowledge of weird food trends, kiss you goodnight, and follow up for a second date. But most often, dates are less than dazzling—or dare we say: basic—and you find yourself back on Bumble looking for the next string of dates. 

Even when we're ready for a relationship, the overwhelming options turn into doubts and insecurities: What if there's someone better out there? What if I don't want to open up or share my life with another human being? What if I'm unlovable (as famously coined by The Bachelor Ben Higgins)? If you're serious about finding love this year, it's time to put those doubts aside and commit to committing. To give you a little push, we tapped Three Day Rule matchmaker Nora Dekeyser to share with us the top dating mistakes people make on dates and how to fix them. Date better in 2017 with these pro matchmaking tips.

While a good back-and-forth banter may be fun when you're swiping away on Bumble, this matchmaker suggests it may not be such a good idea: "I encourage my clients to take the conversation offline as soon as possible," Dekeyser says. "There's so much that can be misconstrued via text and your impression of one another is probably going to be different in person. It's better to meet in real life soon before you fall for someone or write someone off before you've even met."

Don't dive into a date with your political flag flying high. "This year's election has been particularly brutal and emotions are still running high," says the matchmaker. "Take time to enjoy the date and conversation before wading into potentially troubled waters. If you're clicking with this person and having a great time, think about whether their political views—if different from yours—is a deal-breaker."

"There's no doubt that meeting someone for the first time, especially in a date setting, can make even the coolest customer a little nervous," Dekeyser says. "While you certainly want to put your best self forward, rattling off a list of your professional and personal accomplishments is a serious turn-off. Whether it's the one who name-drops or the other who casually throws in their grad school alma mater and the kind of car they drive, it comes off as really superficial. Bragging about who you know and where you went to school isn't what makes you interesting or attractive. Sharing conversation naturally is how you'll really get to know someone."

The opposite of the braggart is the date you can't pry a conversation out of. "Are you the one answering all the questions? Are they giving one-word answers?" asks Dekeyser. "In post-date low-downs, I've heard this a lot, 'they were so shy, I couldn't read them at all.' Dates are nerve-racking enough as it is, so don't leave your date guessing what you are thinking—be open, honest, interesting, and fun."

We know, attention span in short in this day and age, but a date is not the time or place to be looking out for other fishes in the sea. "When you take time out of your schedule to go on a date with someone, show them that you are excited to be spending that time with the person sitting across from you, not someone else," Dekeyser says. "One of the biggest turn-offs on a first date is if the guy is looking around and checking out other women. Same goes for ladies checking on the fellas!"

While it's absolutely true that part of the fun of a new relationship is the chase, this push and pull could go to the extremes and instead be interpreted as mean. "Playing a little hard to get isn't just about games, it's also a good general rule for anyone on a first date," Dekeyser says. "However, there's a definite point when what you think is mysterious comes off as just plain mean. Don't be afraid to have some fun, laugh, and tell a self-deprecating light anecdote."

"Asking someone out to dinner for the first date may feel like a smooth move, but you may want to reconsider. "Placing a table in between you and your date shuts down a lot of room for flirtation that can be done when sitting side by side at a bar," Dekeyser says. "Since you don't know each other, committing to a full dinner can be great if you hit it off, but it can also be the longest meal of your life if the conversation isn't flowing so well. Go for drinks, keep it casual, and if things go well, you can always order food at the bar."

"That comfortable neighborhood place where the bartender knows you like the Pinot Grigio, not the Chardonnay, and everybody knows your name—don't go there," warns this matchmaker. "On a first date, it's natural that you'd be most comfortable at a place where you're a regular, but chances are the other person isn't going to feel as at home as you are. Try to meet somewhere neither of you have been before, it'll add a bit of adventure to a typical date and if the relationship evolves, it'll be your special place."

What are your tips for a better dating life? Share your love wisdom with us.