Over the past five years, I’ve experienced the many adventures and challenges of my first long-term relationship. I’m 30 now, and what I’ve realized is how little I knew about dating and relationships in my 20s (as in, I was totally clueless) and how much I would have benefited from knowing what I know now. Hence why I’ve written this article on the best dating advice for women, no matter how old you are or what your circumstances may be.
As I look back, I can’t help but regret the way I dated in my 20s. I wish I’d had a dating guru to tell me I was looking for love in all the wrong places, ignoring blatant red flags, and allowing myself to accept asshole behavior because I didn’t value myself enough.
But hindsight is a wonderful thing, right? We do the best we can based on what we know at the time. Besides, the experiences I had shaped me into who I am today and led to meeting my current partner, who I love very much and think is a great match for me.
So that’s why I’m here passing it forward to all of you who are yet to find an amazing partner you want forever with. And although every woman and relationship is unique, there is some universal dating advice that applies to all women everywhere.
Before we get started, I want to share what you should avoid when dating at all costs.
Dating advice for women: What should you not do when dating?
- Give up after a few “bad” dates or experiences
- Moan or complain
- Wait around for an amazing man to find you
- Put pressure on yourself to date or be in a relationship
- Play the comparison game
When you stop doing all of these things, you’ll see how fun being single and dating can actually be. You’ll liberate yourself from any suffocating rules or timelines and be free to enjoy every new experience on your dating journey.
Now, are you ready for my top dating advice for women?
Here’s the best dating advice the older, wiser me has to share.
1. Learn to love yourself a little more every day
Until you fully recognize your worth as a woman, you’re likely to allow someone to hurt you, mistreat you, or feel discouraged by dating in general.
How do I know?
Because this is exactly what happened to me.
Even though I managed to embody a false sense of confidence through the way I dressed and showed up day-to-day, I hadn’t done the inner work, which meant my self-worth wasn’t quite there yet.
I continued to give my time to guys who I knew were liars and cheaters. I gave the benefit of the doubt to guys who hadn’t given me any reason to believe or trust them. And I doled out second and third chances even though I should’ve been gone after the first strike.
The only reason we do this is because we don’t fully believe we deserve more.
So first up on my list of dating tips for women is to practice self-love every day. Commit to doing the inner work, and know that it won’t be an overnight fix. Learning to love yourself takes real time.
You might think that new clothes, a hotter bod, or bigger breasts will “fix” you and give you that confidence you crave. But trust me, it won’t. Real self-love requires you to show up and do the inner work that most of us aren’t prepared to do because we want instant results.
So take it one day at a time. Show yourself at least one act of self-love each day.
2. Stop thinking you’re running out of time
The reason you think you’re running out of time to find someone is because society and the people around you like to constantly tell you you’re running out of time.
Yes, fertility doesn’t last a lifetime for us women. But modern technology has meant that many women are having kids in their forties and beyond. And I don’t believe you should ever rush into a relationship because you want to have kids. Remember, there are many different ways to be a mother, and you don’t have to give birth to experience motherhood.
So let go of your timeline (if you have one) and accept that life won’t always go according to our plans. In fact, it usually doesn’t, but that’s half the beauty of it.
3. My dating advice for women: Know what you want (but be open to possibilities)
Twenty-four-year-old me thought I knew the kind of guy I wanted to be with.
I would tell all my girlfriends he had to be taller than me (at least 5’10”), with dark hair, preferably with a groomed beard, an athletic body, and possibly decorated in some interesting tattoos. I also needed him to be kind, trustworthy, funny, generous, loyal, and appreciative of my quirks. My imagination is pretty vast. I dreamed he’d be a musician or an artist of some kind, with an intoxicating accent and his own smart but sexy fashion sense.
The problem with such a specific, detailed list like this is it seriously limits your possibilities and leads to you discounting someone before you’ve even gotten to know them.
Yes, you need to be physically attracted to each other. But if he ticks all your non-negotiables, then does it really matter if he’s over 6 foot and plays the guitar? Probably not.
I would encourage you to get clear on the kind of guy you want (if you haven’t already), but only write down things you need instead of what you want.
For example, you might need him to be kind and caring, but you might want him to have blonde hair. You might need him to be a non-smoker, but you might want him to enjoy and appreciate art as much as you do.
My partner was the first guy I paid any attention to who wasn’t my physical “type” on paper, which turned out to be a great decision. Because the truth is, you can fall in love with a guy who makes questionable outfit choices, but you can’t fall in love with someone disrespectful.
4. Be more of the kind of person you want to date
I was aware of the Law of Attraction in my early twenties, but I wasn’t relating this principle to my day-to-day life. What I’ve realized over time (and continue to be reminded of) is we attract people, experiences, and opportunities into our life that match our energy.
So what is your current vibration saying and attracting?
Are you someone who’s always stuck in a negative mindset, moaning, complaining, and blaming? Or are you someone who looks for the opportunity in every challenge and sees life as one big adventure?
Once you’re clear on the kind of person you want, it’s time to become more of that person yourself.
If you want someone kind, are you being a kind and loving person?
If you want someone ambitious, are you setting goals and striving towards your own dreams every day?
One of the best pieces of dating advice I have for women is to be the kind of person you want to meet. When you start radiating that vibration, you’re likely to start attracting the people you’re looking for. Energy is real, and even the most insensitive people can feel it.
5. Dating advice for women: See every date as an adventure
One of my biggest dating regrets is I spent so much time wallowing in my singleness and not enough time enjoying myself.
My top tips for dating someone new would be to go into it with no expectations other than to enjoy learning more about someone new and have fun.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to meet the perfect guy, get married, and have kids within a ridiculous time frame that we forget being single and dating can be so thrilling.
Even if there’s no spark or shared interests, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad date. Use every date as an opportunity to improve your communication skills, practice flirting, and expand your horizons.
6. Look for love in the right places
I spent my Friday and Saturday nights getting increasingly drunk in bars and clubs. I had no trouble meeting guys I was attracted to there. We’d inevitably spend the rest of the evening together, mostly making out, totally besotted. After exchanging numbers, the texts would be firing back and forth in the first week but would inevitably fizzle out every time. No dates, no nothing.
Looking back, it’s clear they weren’t the kind of guys who were looking for a long-term relationship like I was. Let’s be real—the chances of meeting a great match when you’re both drunk in a club is pretty small.
So, my dating advice for women (and the younger me) would be to head to different places and events. Maybe an art gallery, a local sports club, a fancier restaurant, or a volunteering event. Ask your friends to join you, and even if they don’t want to, fly solo.
Who knows who you’ll meet?
7. Online dating tips for women: Use dating apps effectively
Many of my friends started using dating apps before I did and would always tell me I should try them. I continued to resist because, if I’m honest, I was scared. Plus, the old-school romantic in me wanted to meet a guy the way that guys and girls meet in movies, totally spontaneously and magically.
But that’s not real life.
Eventually, at the start of 2016, I plucked up the courage to join Tinder and Happn. I made some matches, had lots of superficial conversations with multiple guys (including some total creeps), and did find some men I was potentially interested in.
The first ever date I went on with a guy I met online actually became my now partner of almost five years—true story! I went on a few more dates after that, but he was the guy who I continued to want to date.
What I learned with dating apps is they’re great for meeting single guys who you wouldn’t normally meet and for starting conversations. The trick is to see apps as a way to connect, but no more than that. My dating advice for women is don’t talk to a guy you’re interested in for longer than a week before meeting up. Otherwise, you’re wasting your energy on someone who you might have no real connection with.
And if he’s stalling or flaking out on you, move on.
8. Be unapologetically authentic
When you meet someone new, naturally, you want to make the best first impression you possibly can. That might mean you make an extra effort with your hair, makeup, and your outfit. It might also mean making an extra effort to be open with your body language and keep the conversation flowing.
This is normal. But when I say be authentic, what I mean is don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, or hide those things that make you, you, in the hopes that it will make this person like you. Because how long can you really keep the charade going? A month? A year? Your whole life?
The biggest reason we struggle to be authentic is out of fear that we won’t be liked or accepted and that people will judge us for it. Most of us probably have past experiences where this has happened, so we’re protecting ourselves from getting burned again.
But as cliche as it sounds, the right person for you will love the real you. Anyone who rejects you early on is simply not the right fit for you, and they’re actually doing you a favor. It’s helping you take one step closer toward the right person.
9. Get out of your comfort zone
If everything you’ve been doing so far hasn’t been working for you, it’s time to do something different!
I always complained about not meeting any great single men, but all I was doing was hoping I would run into one on my way to and from work or while drunk in a bar at the weekend. That doesn’t sound like a great way to meet someone, and I can tell you it definitely wasn’t!
Over the past five years, I’ve recognized the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone in all areas of my life: relationships, friendships, work, etc. This is how we grow as people. So regardless of whether what you do brings immediate success, it all adds up in the long run to a more evolved you.
There’s a quote by Harve Eker that I love where he says, “If you’re not growing, you’re only dying.”
Make a list of some things you like the sound of but are a little afraid to do. For example, joining a dating app or website, going speed dating, taking a solo holiday, joining a local class on something that interests you. Next, make a commitment to do at least one of them each week.
10. Top dating advice for women: Pay attention to the red flags!
If there’s one piece of dating advice I think is vital for all women everywhere to embrace, it’s this: Believe what a man tells you.
If he says he’s not really a relationship kind of guy, believe him. When he says he feels damaged by the breakdown of his last relationship, believe him. And if he says he’s not looking for anything serious right now, BELIEVE HIM!
Too often, I’ve allowed my imagination to run wild after just meeting a guy. I would picture us exchanging I-love-yous, getting married, and having babies—all before we’ve even gone on a proper first date. When we do this, we end up blinding ourselves to what’s really going on in front of our eyes. We miss the blatant red flags that are actually quite simple to spot.
I went on a first date with a guy who mentioned his ex several times in the space of a few hours. But because my asshole-ometer was out, this didn’t set off warning bells in my head.
So when you meet a guy you’re attracted to, focus on being present in the moment and paying attention to what he’s saying. Forget about the future—it doesn’t exist yet. Allow your intuition to guide you, and trust yourself when it feels like something’s not quite right.
11. Limit your alcohol on the first few dates
As far as first date tips for women go, I know that having a drink can help you relax and feel more at ease, but try and limit yourself to one drink on a first date.
I’m speaking from experience here. Getting pissed on a first date will seriously cloud your judgment and lead you to make decisions that you may regret the next day. Plus, it prevents you from creating a genuine connection with each other.
If you feel like you need alcohol to have a good time and be yourself on a date, then you probably aren’t in the right headspace to be dating yet.
12. Focus on building emotional attraction
I’m one of these rare people who hate small talk, and I tend to avoid it completely if I can. While I understand that nobody wants to have deep, meaningful conversations all the time, I struggle to stay engaged when a conversation has no substance.
Who gives a fuck about the weather?
I’m the kind of woman who always talks about the big, deep stuff that others sometimes shy away from. I think it’s something to do with me being a Scorpio moon. And in my experience, guys respond really well to this. It’s refreshing to go on a date with someone and talk about something real. Plus, this is key if you want to build emotional attraction, which is essential if you’re looking for a long-term relationship.
So when you’re on a date, don’t be afraid to ask some deep questions, and be prepared to answer some too.
13. Keep your options wide open until you’ve had “the talk”
I often made the mistake of going all-in on a guy I liked before I really knew him. And when he inevitably ghosted, or things fizzled out, I’d be left feeling hurt and also without any other guys to act as a good distraction.
Don’t let yourself end up in this position.
That means unless you have specifically had “the talk”—as in, you have both agreed you are exclusively dating each other and nobody else— assume that you are not exclusive and are both seeing other people.
And make sure you are seeing other people. Keeping your options open at the start is a great way to make sure you don’t get too invested in anyone too quickly. And it will give you time to figure out who you have the best connection with and who you want to continue dating.
14. Stop thinking the grass is greener
Keeping your options open while dating is different from thinking you have unlimited options.
Dating apps have led many men and women to have a grass is greener mindset when it comes to dating. They might have met an amazing person who ticks loads of boxes, yet there’s a part of them wondering, could there be someone better waiting right around the corner?
And a mix of curiosity and greed gets the better of them. They pass on what’s right in front of them in the hopes of meeting an “upgrade.” And when they do find that person, they slip right back into that vicious cycle of thinking the grass is still greener somewhere else.
Newsflash: the grass is greener where you water it. And I hate to break it to you, but none of us have unlimited options. It’s important to understand this because otherwise, you’ll keep on looking for that “perfect” person for the rest of your life.
So my dating advice for women here would be, of course, don’t settle for less than you deserve. But if you meet someone you’re attracted to and have a good time with, pursue that. Don’t carelessly throw away something good.
15. Know your sexual boundaries
In the past, I’ve often mistaken a guy’s sexual desires as him being interested in me. Those are two very different things. Just because a guy wants to sleep with you, it doesn’t mean he’s interested in anything more.
I believe in women doing whatever they want to do when it comes to anything, as long as you’re making choices that align with your heart.
So explore your own sexual boundaries. Get to know what they are and voice them. Don’t let yourself be pressured into doing anything you don’t want to do. Equally, don’t trick yourself into thinking that having loads of casual sex means you’re sexually empowered. Sexual empowerment comes from knowing what your boundaries are and honoring them.
16. Nourish your soul between dates
Dating can be exhausting and emotionally draining, even when you’re doing everything right. My dating advice for all women is to create space for self-care to pour back into your own well between dates. Have a pamper evening at home, head to a spa, do some meditation or yoga, journal, connect with your friends, and pursue your own hobbies and interests.
Take care of yourself. Be kind. And make sure you’re giving yourself the time and space you need to relax.
And that’s my best dating advice for women
I hope this article has helped you feel more hopeful and excited when it comes to dating.
All that’s left to do is get out there and be open to meeting new people and having new experiences. Remember who you are, know your worth, trust your intuition, and respect your boundaries.