First time dating is intimidating. Learn from your seniors. In a country like India where couples cannot even hug without getting squint eyes, dating is a subject that is still finding its place in society. Now, the biggest problem with information getting around through Chinese whispers is that nobody gets any questions answered. So, when to start dating is still a huge question that is lingering in our minds.
If you didn’t already know this, there is no actual legal age to date, which means technically even a 10-year-old can date someone. So, it is important to address the question ‘when is the right time to start dating?’ Because dating is subjective and you cannot truly tell whether someone is of the right age to start dating, there are some questions that help us decide if you are ready to go on your first date.
Whether or not you have been on a date, you must be familiar with the typical questions that people ask on first dates to the person you are on a date with. However, no genius has made a list of questions that you need to ask yourself first. That is because nobody thinks it is important to take your own opinion into consideration, which should be the foremost thing anyone should do. Well, bless heavens! You have come to a place that actually cares about YOU. And that is why here are the 18 questions that every first time dater should ask themselves.
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18. What is my end goal of this date?
Deny it all you want but you always think of an end goal every time you set out for a date. In your case, this would be the first of your many dates in future. But even then, you have an end goal in place. You could either be looking to see what actually happens on a real date or you simply want to meet the person and see if you guys have a spark. And most of the times, the real end goal of any date is to kickstart a love life.
Now, you might think that it does not matter what your end goal of seeing someone is. A date is just a date. But knowing your end goal helps to know where you stand in life. If you are hesitant to go on your first date because you have no particular reason in mind, it may be because you are not mentally ready to have someone else invade your life. What if it works out? Then you would not have a chance to escape from it. And that can be scary!
17. Am I in line with my plans in life?
Ideally, you should only start dating when you know you are not running behind in life. Not that you should put dating at the bottom on your to-do list. But you should have your basic plans in place. For example, we can all agree that the dating age in India, if not legally then at least otherwise, is much lower. Perhaps around 13 or 14. (And before some of you take offence, remember that you can date someone strictly platonically). When you date at that young of an age, you tend to sidetrack your other plans such as studying or pursuing a hobby, which is very important while growing up.
So, if you have no plans other than getting married to the first person you meet, start making some. And if you do have plans, make sure that your life is working accordingly. This is important because you would never truly be satisfied or happy with your love life if it hinders yours already made plans.
16. How is my emotional state?
Generally, very few people are truly aware of their mental and emotional state. But this ability goes for a toss for more than half of those few people the moment they find a potential partner. The reason is that they feel this new person can solve their problems for them or at least be the missing piece of their lives. Well, safe to say, it does not work that way.
Before you even think about setting yourself on a date, ask yourself how good you are emotionally. And this does not mean how in control of your emotions you are. That is a given. But you need to score high on your emotional quotient, too. Your ability to deal with emotional situations should be good enough for you to handle any issues that may arise in your future relationship.
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15. What do I do while I am not dating?
This is a very important question that everyone ought to ask themselves before they begin to date. You should never start dating just because you have nothing else to do in life, even if that is what Bollywood films tell us. You know when the lead character goes “Kuch khaali khaali sa lagta hai life mein. Shayad maine apne liye pyaar dhundhna chahiye.” Again, it does not work that way. You should not be looking for a relationship out of idleness.
What do you do when you are not working or running errands? Do you have a hobby to pursue? If you do, you are probably ready to look into the dating aspect of your life , ut if you don’t, it is better to delay it a little. This is because your relationship should be all about being with someone you actually like or love. If you get into a relationship with a view to kill your boredom, you are playing by the wrong rules, honey.
14. Am I stable in life before meeting a partner?
Stable does not only mean financially and mentally. You need to be at a point in life where things are not falling apart. This could be anything. For some, it is a messed up family that makes it difficult for people to find their ground so that they can have a stable foundation. For others, it could be a trauma that has changed the course of their lives forever and it is tough to go back to living normally again.
You need to be stable to have the responsibility of a partner in your life. You should be aware of what is going on around you. Also, you should not have the ability to zone out or have an attention span of a squirrel. The latter is something that destroys too many relationships these days (Thank you, social media!)
Besides, ask yourself if you have achieved what you wanted. For instance, you might have planned to buy a house by the time you are 23 years old, but that has not happened yet, which may be bothersome to you. In that case, you cannot afford to have a relationship because according to you, you are not stable yet.
13. Can I deal with a partner at this point?
This question is in continuation with the previous question. A relationship changes everything. Even something as small as a good date can leave an impression on your life. Let us consider that you had a good date with this person you had been talking to for quite some time. You would feel happy. But that is not the problem. The problem is if you are an average human being, you are bound to be out of focus. That is just one scenario.
Another is where you actually have a good date, you get into a relationship, but you realise that you still have a lot to figure out about your solo life. In fact, many people resent getting into relationships because they lose their freedom. There is always a sense of belonging when you are in a relationship and if you one of those who love their individuality, space and knowing that you are free to try anything and everything, you would not like being in a relationship unless you have done it all.
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12. What kind of a relationship am I expecting or looking for?
Do you want a committed relationship or are you happy knowing you can see other people by being in an open relationship? First dates have a good chance of leading to relationships and that is why so many of these questions are about relationships and not dates. It is because most of the dates have the potential of becoming relationships. If you think you can’t be tied down because you are a free-spirited person, you might have to find someone who thinks like you. Similarly, if you are looking for a 100% commitment from your partner, you should know it beforehand so you can communicate it properly.
11. Do appearances matter to me?
This is one of the most debated over questions of all time. Some people think it is shallow to like someone on the basis of their looks but to each, his own. It is okay if appearances matter to you. But make sure you acknowledge it. For the simple reason that you tend to lose your interest in your partner if their appearance does not appeal to you anymore. It is not shallow, it is just how you function. So, again, accept it. Don’t give yourself false hopes of being attracted to someone’s behaviour or personality. These qualities may be secondary for you. And that is okay.
Alternatively, you may be sapiosexual and may be attracted to intelligence only. In which case, you should not feel the need to date someone just because you are being pressurised to do so by your peers or family. You would never be happy that way. And that is why it is so important to know if appearances matter to you.
10. What do I consider to be attractive in the person I date?
Let us say that you are attracted to appearances. What part of a person’s appearance are you attracted to? Is it their physique, hair or something completely different than the conventional characteristics? It is essential that you know this because then you know what to look for in your date. Also, it helps you to be prepared for the future. For instance, if you are attracted to your partner’s hair and they go bald due to some reason, would you still find them attractive or would you leave them? Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? But there are thousands of cases where something similar to this has happened and the consequences were really saddening.
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9. How accepting am I of other’s opinions?
You cannot be ready to start dating if you have a zero-tolerance policy against everything that does not please your opinion. People who are adamant tend to have a higher rate of unsuccessful relationships. To start dating, you should have an open mind and be a sport to learning something new. It is impossible to be with someone if you can’t respect other’s opinions. So, if you are not accepting enough, maybe you should try spending time learning acceptance first instead of looking for potential partners. You would have a high chance of finding a happy relationship once you do that.
8. What will be my relationship status?
Do you want the world to know you are in a relationship or do you want it to be a secret? You need to know this before you set foot in the dating scene. And to know that, you should know the answers to the above questions including knowing whether you are emotionally or financially stable. Without that, it would really tough to know what relationship status you are looking for.
Especially in India, dating is a huge deal. So, you need to decide if you want your parents to know about who you are seeing before you start dating. How will they react? Are you willing to introduce your relationship to your peer group? If the answer is fitting, you might be ready to start dating.
7. Do I get influenced easily?
It is human tendency to go with the flow. Unless you are really in control of your life, it is very easy to get influenced by your partner. A really simple example of this is the people who get influenced to start drinking or smoking weed because their partners do it and they don’t think they have much of a choice when they are with their partners. They know it is wrong for them but their partners are so influential that they actually begin substance abuse within a few months of the relationship. For the simple fear of feeling left out.
Therefore, if you forget to reason, understand why you do what you do, justify your actions, and get influenced just because you have a big-time FOMO, you are not ready to start dating.
6. Am I financially independent?
Many people think your financial situation has got nothing to do with your dating scene. Well, there is a connection there. You need money to go out, have fun and even travel to the venue of the date. Imagine having a financial arrangement wherein you have zero rupees left in your pocket within the first 15 days of the month. Where would you find the means to provide for your dating life? You can’t rely on your dates to pay for you, irrespective of your gender. You should be independent enough to pay for your own bill after the date. So, if you can’t see yourself doing that or have a plan to get out of that mess anytime soon, you probably should not create more problems for yourself by looking out for a relationship.
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5. Does my potential partner’s financial condition matter to me?
Your partner’s financial condition would matter to you only in two situations – firstly, you have an unstable monetary pattern and you want someone who can take care of that and balance you out. Secondly, you are very capable and/or belong to a well-to-do family so you want someone who can match your background and lifestyle. While the latter reason can be termed as valid because everyone is free to choose who they want to be with, the former is not such a solid reason.
If you are struggling with your finances, don’t forget that only you can help yourself with it and nobody else. Having your money is greater security than having to rely on someone for making your ends meet. In fact, in some relationships, the earning partner tends to lose respect for the financially dependent partner. And that is not an ideal scenario that any relationship should have.
4. Am I capable of managing my time between my family, friends, work and a partner?
Dating is a bigger responsibility than we think. Generally, most of the people in India start dating at an early age these days. Therefore, we rarely get time to think about what we are getting our hands into. It is difficult to forecast what a relationship is going to turn into so, you must be prepared beforehand.
You are required to divide your time into four different things once you start dating. The schedule that you follow now calls for a change. Regardless of how busy you are, you are expected to give time to your friends, family, partner and yourself. However easy this may seem, it really is not. In fact, sometimes, it is so difficult to do it that we end up compromising the time that we set aside for ourselves. As a result, you become annoyed and start resenting being in a relationship, which is the worst phase in any relationship.
So, if you do not know how to manage your time right now, you should probably put the whole dating scene on hold till you figure it out.
3. How is my relationship with myself?
Are you happy?
Humans have a very twisted perception of relationships. And we can blame society for that. Since childhood, we are taught to behave in a way that makes us more desirable within society. We are told to impress to be accepted. So, after hitting the dating age, we begin to find people who would accept us. Subsequently, you start looking for validation. And in the process of knowing what others feel about you, you completely ignore how you feel about yourself. That is a grave mistake!
If you are happy with the relationship you have with yourself, you will be happy with anybody because you would not be looking for anyone to find your happiness in life for you.
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2. Do I prioritise things well?
Prioritising is a vital aspect of dating. In fact, it is an art. Those who can master it will definitely end up having more meaningful relationships. You should always have a schedule in place i.e., not only your daily routine but also your schedule in life. You must have your goals in order. And dating someone should not affect or disturb your goals in any way. if you are one of those who loses focus every time something new, different or exciting happens to them, dating may not be ideal for you at this stage. Instead, try improving your ability to pay attention to your goals and once you are set, you may give dating a try.
While this does not mean that you should procrastinate having a love life but you must surely make sure to serve yourself only as much as your plate can handle.
1. Am I ready to start dating?
Lastly, this question tops the list because it is the most important one. Going on a date does not mean you are simply going out to dine or hang out with a person. Surprisingly, it actually means that you are mature enough to handle another person’s responsibility. However, before you take someone else’s responsibility, you need to make sure that you are ready for a change. This means you need to have a healthy relationship with yourself.
Your commitment to yourself should be unwavering. You ought to know who you are, what you want and what makes you comfortable and happy. This is because the only thing that can make your date or the potential relationship a successful one is if you have a strong relationship with yourself.