Dating Advice for Millennials
You’re young and you’re single. So you know that finding true love can be rough. From Tinder hook-ups to social media trolls, the modern dating scene is downright brutal. Who better to ask for dating advice than a fellow millennial who’s also an expert?
Eva Neuman is 32 years old She’s married, and she’s relationship counselor. Yes, you read that correctly. She’s a millennial, she’s in a long-term relationship that’s succeeding, and she’s a professional counselor. This makes her nothing short of the ideal expert!
Neuman and her husband have been together for about 10 years, and have been married for seven. She established her private practice five years ago, and her weekly client load numbers about two dozen. Those clients are mainly couples, but she counsels individuals, too. The majority of her clients are also millennials, with an age range of about 22 years old to 39 years old.
Neuman has ample practical advice to offer millennials on how to find love in the modern age. Based on her own professional experience, the biggest challenge facing single millennials today is forming deep, meaningful connections with possible love interests.
Though millennials are endlessly interconnected in relationships, Neuman said that the dating scene can be very lonely. Millennials are so accustomed to instant gratification and being readily accessible to each other that they often experience connections that appear significant and sincere, but turn out to be just shallow and false.
“Among my clients, I’ve found that both men and women are seeking quality relationships, but they don’t know how to find them,” Neuman said. “Genuine connections take time. It’s important to form an emotionally safe foundation between people. Without that, it’s difficult to be authentic and vulnerable, and then genuine connections can’t develop.”
Be Wary of Apps
On the practical end, Neuman offers a simple bit of advice: don’t put too much trust in dating platforms that offer that promise of instant gratification. It’s common to find that connections made via dating apps are not authentic. So when using those apps, Neuman advises, “Be honest about your intentions and about what it is you’re looking for.”
She suggests that you have some conversations prior to the first date—actual conversations, face-to-face or over the phone, not just via texts or emails. You may be able to find out early on if the person is really connecting with you, is present and engaging.
Also, strive to keep your intentions and expectations front and center. “This is hard to do, because people think they’re going to scare someone away,” Neuman said. “But if you can really be open and honest, you could save yourself a lot of time and heartbreak.”
There are actually some positive aspects of dating apps. Neuman said they make it easy to put yourself “out there,” and come in contact with people you may otherwise miss.
Technology and apps aside, it is still possible to meet someone “the old-fashioned way,” that is, in real life. There are certain places that it’s more likely you’ll meet someone with similar interests to yours.
For example, if you have a dog, go to dog parks with your furry friend and try to engage with the other people there. “That’s a really friendly, social environment where it’s easy to connect with other people,” Neuman said.
Another place would be gyms or other social environments that offer consistent classes or meeting times. “There’s a true sense of community in those environments,” Neuman said. “I recommend going to community centers or art centers, because they offer pottery classes, photography classes, dance classes, and so on.”
Some of those classes are set up for couples. But others are geared towards individuals, and therefore can be ideal places to meet other singles who share your interests. When you’re in those settings, Neuman advises you to be aware of how you’re projecting yourself, and to keep an open mind regarding new experiences.
“How often do you go out somewhere and you don’t smile, you don’t make eye contact, you don’t initiate conversations?” Neuman asked. “Be mindful. Go into those environments intending to be open. You could potentially meet someone and share an experience together.”
Be True to Yourself
The more authentic you can be right from the start, the better your chance of finding an authentic partner. This is helpful advice even when it comes to conflicts. If you end up in a relationship with someone and you weren’t authentic at the beginning, Neuman explains that you’ve set yourself up for failure. Expect the other person to claim, “You wanted me to do this from the beginning!”
Accessing and presenting your true self has always been difficult, but this problem is only enhanced in today’s culture that’s all about personality. Neuman advises you to know that there’s your persona, and that’s separate from your thoughts and emotions.
“Find the balance of how they all work together, and how they may not,” Neuman advised. For example, if you feel scared, but project sarcasm or defensiveness, that’s in conflict with what you’re feeling. “I think identifying your fears is huge one,” Neuman said. “We have a lot of fears, and many of them are common and shared. But we don’t like to talk about them. That means we’re avoiding talking about things that could really bond us.”
Changing Times, Changing Rules
Changes in gender roles and shifts in dating rules among millennials have changed the expectations of men and women in dating relationships. Neuman says the core of a lot of these issues goes back to being true to who you are, and not caving to the social expectation.
So if you’re an easy-going, go-with-the-flow kind of gal who prefers her mate takes charge of situations, seek a mate who is comfortable in the lead role. And if you’re the type of woman who’s open to voicing your opinions, who knows what you likes, and is not afraid to speak your mind, don’t play the gender role game.
“Either way, communicate your true self right from the start,” Neuman advised. “Ultimately, if the person is turned off by what you’re saying, then they’re not the one for you. Because that’s you. That’s your authentic personality.”
On the Move
One last aspect of dating that is impacting millennials is mobility. Millennials move around more frequently than previous generations did. It’s more common than ever before for young people to move to a new region within their own country, or to a completely different country.
Millennials may need to adapt their dating strategy based on where they live if they’ve moved somewhere new. There can be significant cultural differences from country to country, from state to state and even from city to city.
“I know if I was single and moved to a new place, I would try to embrace the new dating culture as much as I possibly could,” Neuman said. “But it also might set you apart to show your date a piece of where you’ve come from and how people dated back home.”
For example, it may not be common in some places to go out for ice cream on a date. But if that’s what you used to do back home, invite your date to join you for a scoop or a cone! “Just try to be true to yourself and your roots,” Neuman advised. “Don’t try to become someone who isn’t genuinely you.”