dating

The 30-day dating challenge for people who are f**king done with dating apps.

You hate dating apps; I get it. I was you once and I remember how s**t it feels. 

But I’ve come to discover that being successful on dating apps has nothing to do with how hot your profile pics are, and everything to do with your mindset.

For this challenge, we are going to view every date as an experience. Whether it’s good, bad, godawful, as sexy as a James Spader movie, or as boring as a Marvel movie, every dating experience is worth your time and effort.

You aren’t doing this challenge to meet your soulmate

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Video via Mamamia.

You are doing it to throw yourself in the middle of life: to throw out your rules and checklists and expectations; to take risks; to feel the sting of rejection; to turn up as your wonderfully weird self; to be ghosted; to feel butterflies again (or is it nervous diarrhoea?). 

This is the spice of life. This is the 30-day dating challenge.

Step 1: Get feedback on your dating profile.

I suggest Hinge for the purposes of this challenge (I like the layout). If you haven’t already, create a profile that reflects who you are (not just what you look like):

Write prompts that feel authentic. 

Prompts are your best filtering tool. You don’t want to attract everyone; you want to attract your people. NO MORE ONE-LINERS, PEOPLE! None of this, "I go crazy for... Spicy margs."

Let’s dig a little deeper. 

Since I changed my prompts, I have been getting infinitely better matches, curated just for me. 

My prompts specifically filter out emotionally unavailable f**kboys, 5am gym junkies, workaholics and/or homebodies.

Choose photos that depict a range of interests.

I have one at the beach, one holding a box of donuts, one glam, one travelling, one hiking and one of me caught in a storm holding an inside-out umbrella.

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A guy once told me that my profile pics confused him. "Which one are you?" He needed to put me in a box. F**k that dude. 

I am all of them!!! I am a multifaceted human, and so are you.

Get feedback on your beautiful new profile. 

Show at least three people who know you well. 

Ask them, "Does this reflect who I am and what I want?" Get feedback and update accordingly.

Step 2: Commit to going on five dates.

Okay, guys, it’s time! We are going to commit to going on five dates in 30 days. 

I suggest doing one date a week for weeks one to three and ramping it up to two dates in week four. But there’s a twist:

Two dates will be your usual "type". 

You can be totally shallow here. If you’re usually like, "I only date guys over six feet," that’s fine, these dates can be above average height (which is 5 feet 9.3 inches, by the way).

Two dates won’t be your usual type.

They might be shorter or blonder or balder or nerdier or nicer than what you usually go for. But they’ll have great prompts that align with what you’re looking for. 

Let me explain why: James Spader is not my physical type, but his personality is *chef’s kiss*. 

What if I missed my chance to date a younger James Spader all because he wasn’t my "type"?

One date will be a wildcard.

They have neither photos nor prompts that excite you. Because some great people have s**t profiles. 

You will assess this person based purely on how interesting the convo is. 

Amazing experiences come from interacting with people with different perspectives to our own who can teach us something new about life.

We know we're giving you dating advice right now, but listen to this episode to find out why you probably shouldn't be dating during December... Post continues after podcast.


Step 3: Don’t be shy... Say hello!

This challenge is a numbers game, people! It’s time to rack up those matches, which means you’ll have to throw out ALL your rules.

This is like looking for a new job. You don’t just wait for recruiters to find you on LinkedIn. You actively apply to job ads.

Take action!

Comment on their prompts; like their photos; start the conversation first; ask them random questions; ASK THEM OUT!

Be yourself.

Practise texting exactly as you talk to your friends in the group chat. I use all caps, I overuse exclamation marks, I tell inappropriate jokes (when appropriate) and I certainly don’t 'wait' to respond. My style of texting isn’t for everyone, but it leads to very funny convos with my people.

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Don’t let good convos fizzle.

Here’s a line I use: "I know these things can fizzle quickly on dating apps but I feel we have a lot in common. Would you want to catch up for a coffee this week?"

Stay strong.

You will get rejected in this process, and your ego may take a beating. Keep reminding yourself: your ego’s only desire this month is to win this challenge.

Step 4: Start dating.

Now it’s time to actually go on the dates:

Focus on turning up as yourself.

For me, this means answering questions openly and honestly; not trying to be a cooler, sexier, funnier version of myself; and wearing clothes and makeup that make me feel comfy.

Don’t cancel.

Even if you can’t be bothered or you have a slight dehydration headache. DRINK MORE WATER! 

In my experience, what goes around comes around. After a period of perpetually cancelling, I ended up being flaked on seven times in a row! Not fun for the old ego.

If it goes well, plan a second date.

IT’S OKAY TO ASK THEM OUT! I’ve done it and, yes, I’ve been rejected and, no, I didn’t die. Keep the momentum going but don’t stop the challenge even if you have a big fat crush. 

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (lucky for me my eggs are actually frozen).

If it doesn’t go well, let them down kindly.

DO NOT GHOST! 

A sample text: "Hey [insert name], I had a really nice time getting to know you today, however, I didn’t feel enough of a romantic connection to pursue a second date. Wishing you all the best with [insert personalised anecdote]."

Step 5: Reflect on what worked (and what didn’t).

If you made it to the end of the challenge, how did you feel after? When I did it, I felt a slow but noticeable shift in my attitude towards dating apps. 

They weren’t the problem anymore — the way I had been using them was. I stopped being so superficial and started presenting a truer version of myself, and that energy was attracting more like-minded matches.

At the end of the challenge, think about what worked and what didn’t, and use everything you’ve learnt about yourself to keep that momentum going!

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been republished with full permission. 

For more from Hannah, you can find her on Instagram.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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