Man and woman standing holding hands on the street as a symbol of how to start dating
start free today
I am I am looking for

You can add more detail about your gender in your profile

For your security, use the following password format:

  • At least 8 characters
  • Letters AND numbers/special characters
  • Must not be the same as your email address

How to Start Dating: A Guide for Beginners and Starting Again

by eharmony Editorial Team - November 22, 2023

Many say getting back into dating is like riding a bike. We prefer to refer to how to start dating as relearning a language or becoming conversant in a new one.

Some aspects are familiar, some never change, some esoteric ones you’d forgotten about and the fact the culture has moved on. For those learning how to start dating for the first time, it can often feel overwhelming.

But it’s really not when you stop getting in your own way, which we hope to help you with this guide.

9 helpful hints to getting out there and starting dating

With over 20 years of industry experience, you could say eharmony’s become experts on those looking for a meaningful connection online and fostering their potential. Here are some simple tips on how to start the dating journey.

1. Self-Reflection and getting yourself ready

The first thing you need to ask yourself is, are you dating for the right reasons and are you emotionally ready for the demands of a relationship? Dating isn’t a cure for other life problems. Assess your goals, values and what type of partner you’re seeking.

2. Boosting your self-confidence

Self-esteem can have a profound effect on your dating life and sorting it can feel like a Gordian knot of psychological hangups. Here are some quick methods for those starting dating.

  • Reduce negative self-talk.
  • Take stock of your positive traits.
  • Build more healthy relationships in general.
  • Regularly challenge yourself.

3. Set dating goals to help guide you along how to start dating again

This is about self-awareness. Are you looking to explore and keep it casual, companionship or are you looking for something more serious? This will not only affect your approach but also your expectations.

4. Pick the right approach

There’s a time and a place to look for dating opportunities – which is particularly pertinent for those looking at how to start dating for the first time. So look out for cues from people at social events and random encounters and explore online platforms.

5. Follow proper dating etiquette

We’ve done an updated article on modern dating etiquette. But the three main considerations of modern etiquette revolve around who pays for dates (the answer isn’t as simple anymore), properly following up and managing both of your expectations.

6. Try taking things online

This can be a bit jarring for those exploring how to start dating again. Interactions tend to have their own etiquette online that can feel brusque. The key though is building your profile properly and picking the right service for your dating style and goals, not the most popular one, while still being safe online.

7. Cultivate conversation and communication skills

For more introverted people looking at how to start dating, the initial approach and one-on-one aspect can be intimidating. But remember dating is about the journey, not just the destination. Cultivate more engaging conversational and active listening skills by practicing with friends and acquaintances.  

8. Focus on making the first date memorable

First dates are a make-or-break moment in a budding connection. Here are some key areas:

  • Picking the right venue.
  • Preparing some conversation topics as a backup.
  • Keep modern dating etiquette in mind.

Read our full article on making first dates special.

9. How to start dating again by building a connection

It’s important to build rapport as the date progresses. Don’t be afraid to go deep and share openly with each other, within proper boundaries. Chemistry can’t be faked but you can build on what’s already there by being authentic and attentive.

How to start dating: Unpacking various scenarios

Dating can be a very different practice depending on the context. What is dating today exactly? So beyond general tips, let’s take a quick look at some tips for dating in various scenarios.

How to start dating again and also for the first time:

  • At different stages in your life – Dating in your 30’s and 40’s works a little differently from your 50’s and senior years.
  • When you have cultural differences – Different backgrounds and cultures can sometimes prove an obstacle for some relationships, depending on value commonalities. But there can be quite a practical dearth between Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Black, Latin, Arab values in a relationship, especially when particularly culturally disparate or insular.
  • When you have different religions – This isn’t as insurmountable as you may think and can often be overcome with effective communication and compromise. It’s just that Christians, Jewish people, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus not only have very different statutes on values and conduct but also vastly different afterlife notions, which may be disquieting for some couples that these concepts are important too.
  • When you’re LGBTQI+ – These relationships, for example, gay or lesbian dating, have become more commonly accepted and normalized in this social climate, particularly in flourishing urban areas.
  • Why you’re single – Dating can be a distinct process depending on whether you came from a divorce, were widowed, single parenting or bad break ups.  

Here’s how eharmony demystifies the process.

How to start dating with eharmony

Starting dating with us couldn’t be simpler because we do all the heavy lifting for you, connecting you directly with other authentic, relationship-minded singles with whom you already share a high degree of psychological compatibility, thanks to our sophisticated Compatibility Matching System. We also let you quickly filter based on factors such as age, education, desire for children, religion, region and so much more.

Looking for further online dating tips?

Feel like online dating doesn’t work for you? It’s probably nothing you can’t fix. Take a look at our online dating tips and how-to guide.

What is dating without a little excitement and boldness?

It sounds a bit sappy, but we’re all different and distinct and, yes we’re just going to say it even if you don’t believe it, special. So it stands to reason each dating journey would be equally as unique. Even when you can’t see it, someone out there is waiting to discover you.

When wondering how to start dating, you just need to focus on self-reflection on your values, what you want from the experience and what you think is holding you back and, most crucially, learning from experiences as you continue along this exciting pathway.

How it works

Your search for a great relationship has never been easier with groundbreaking overhaul of the eharmony you know and trust.