When warmer weather rolls around, lots of eager singles are looking to mingle with potential partners amidst all the music festivals, cookouts, and summer celebrations. Dating can be a complicated journey emotionally, however. Keep these tips in mind so you have an enjoyable experience and stay motivated to explore the dating world.

Prioritize self-care

Now that you’re single and looking to dive head first into the dating scene, it’s time to let go of anything impeding your health and happiness. One of the first steps toward letting go of the past and being ready to exude all the self-confidence in the world is to practice self-care.

Dedicate your newfound freedom to bettering your overall well-being by making small efforts toward self-care each day like meditating, journaling, or seeking advice from a medical professional. You can also speak with a doctor about improving insecurities to boost your self-confidence as a form of self-care. There are plenty of medications that can address insecurities like hair loss or acne. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help with any mental or physical issue.

When you tend to your insecurities and make self-care a part of your everyday routine, you’ll start seeing a noticeable improvement in your overall mood. Meeting new people, mingling, and going on dates will come with more fun and fewer nerves.

Give everyone a chance…

You’ve achieved self-love and you’re ready to go out and meet new people. To get the most out of the dating experience, it’s important to give the people you meet a fair chance. Avoid judging people right off the bat and take the time to get to know them.

Maybe you’ve never seen yourself ending up with someone five years older than you or two feet taller, but don’t rule anyone out upon first impression. In fact, many couples will tell you that they never expected to end up with the person they married.

Sometimes, the old saying is true: opposites attract. Someone with the furthest personality from your own could quite possibly compliment yours the best. When looking for potential dates, lower your expectations and have an open mind. Whether it’s an old friend you never saw as anything more, or a complete stranger, keep a positive mindset and give everyone an equal chance.

…But don’t settle

It’s very common throughout the dating process for us to mislead our dates or give off the wrong impression in our efforts to spare their feelings. While it’s great to give everyone a chance, it’s not beneficial for either person to waste their time after a bad date.

If you’re asking questions to get to know a person and you have two entirely different outlooks on life, values, or future goals, it will be helpful to recognize that early on to avoid wasting time for the both of you. Maybe you’re looking to start a family, but early on you find out your date is looking to jumpstart their career. In that case, there is nothing wrong with realizing any inconsistencies and cutting ties with a relationship in the early stages.

Get to know your dates as much as you possibly can, and when you come to any realizations that you two will be better off as friends, be upfront. Most of the time, your date will respect your honesty and you’ll both be able to carry on with your dating endeavors.

So: know what you want

There is a fine line between compromise and settling, and it’s up to you to decide when each is appropriate. To know when you’re settling, you have to be confident in what you want out of a relationship and what you want out of life.

Though your goals don’t have to be permanent and can change at any moment, you should be able to define for yourself what your long-term goals are and what you hope to get out of a relationship. When you clearly define your values and future plans, you’ll see whether a potential suitor will or will not be a good match for you.

Sometimes figuring out what you want can be difficult to spell out, but there are lots of strategies for setting goals. Write down what you want to accomplish and by when, your most important values, and what you didn’t like about past relationships. Even if your goals change, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and see how you’ve grown as a person.                                                        

And stay safe

One of the most important parts of dating is to have a good perception of dating safety. While it’s great to go on dates and get to know people you’ve never met before, it’s critical that you don’t dismiss suspicious or sketchy behavior.

Dating should be a fun and exhilarating experience, but not at the expense of your safety. Make sure friends or family are aware of your well-being when on dates with new people. When meeting up with someone you’ve never met before, try dates in public places that are familiar to you.

Warning signs can arise at any point in a relationship, whether in the first five minutes or after the first five months. In many cases, dating red flags like extreme jealousy, possessiveness, and verbal or emotional abuse have been noticed upon early interaction. Be aware of anything that could indicate dangerous or questionable behavior and if necessary, distance yourself from the situation.

Take these dating tips into consideration when getting to know someone this summer. Remember to be safe, pay close attention, and enjoy the best of what every person you meet has to offer.