5 Crucial Dating Tips & Hacks For The Feminist Dater From Strong, Grown-Ass Women

by Erika Abdelatif

Full disclosure: I'm a huge online dating advocate. For years, I journeyed the waters of dating apps and ultimately wound up meeting my partner of nearly two years on Tinder. Can you even believe it? It really does work, folks! In a few weeks, we'll move in together, and I'm over-the-moon happy.

Beyond the massive perk of meeting the love of my life, the online dating world taught me plenty of lessons — from self-acceptance to listening skills to the art of graceful rejection and beyond. In many ways, I feel like my experiences with dating have amplified my feminist values and my confidence in being a strong woman. (To be honest, I often ask myself if I would have been ready to meet my current boyfriend, had I not opened myself up to grow through my many dating experiences prior.)

On Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, Tinder and Elite Daily came together, in honor of International Women's Day (March 8), for the #TinderSparked dinner series, bringing together a group of grown-ass, strong, feminist women to chat about our shared experiences with modern dating. Fortunately, each of these women have shared their best tips, hacks, and advice for the feminist dater navigating the dating world — so take note!

Be Unapologetically You
Kat Goduco Photography

ThinkTank host Hannah Cranston couldn't stress enough the true importance of embracing who you are fully when you enter the dating world. "I think when you’re unapologetically you from the get go, you end up finding good and quality men," she tells Elite Daily. "But before that, you get to know yourself. And that’s what is most important."

Too true. People can sniff out disingenuous behavior a mile away. Not to mention, what's even the point of dating someone who doesn't fully embrace you when you let your freak flag fly? Ain't nobody got time for that.

Take The Pressure Off
Kat Goduco Photography

"Take the pressure off of whatever the event is, so you can not have emotion attached to it," says host and producer Vivian Nweze, emphasizing the importance of lowering the stakes before a date. She suggests going into a date and reminding yourself that it's just dinner, or it's just coffee.

This is totally valid advice. Getting caught up in your nerves can fog your ability to enjoy your time — and you SHOULD give yourself permission to enjoy your the date. I always like to remind myself that, even if a date went haywire, it'd at least be a good story. Nothing is a wasted experience!

Flip The Script
Kat Goduco Photography

Screenwriter Anna Klassen strongly advocates for women making the first move. "For whatever reason, I like approaching men and making the first move," she says to Elite Daily. "It makes me feel like I’m beginning a potential relationship on my own terms. I’ll even pay for a first meal or drinks if I did the asking out — it’s only fair!"

YAS, QUEEN, YAS! Even if making the first move isn't your thing, it's essential to feel empowered to maneuver the dating scene in a way that makes you feel strong and safe.

Get In The Right Headspace
Kat Goduco Photography

Listen up, ladies and gents: Don't go into a date unprepared.

"I use lots of breathing techniques," says Complex host Natasha Alexis Martinez. "I always try to breathe deeply, exhale, take a moment to take care of myself before a date."

Beyond that, Nweze also recommends turning off the noise — which is one tip I literally never considered. "If I talked to my girlfriends or listen to music [before a date], I start to feel the hype — but then that hype just turns into anxiety," she says.

Umm... why didn't I ever realize that? Sure. Big, loud music can sometimes make you feel amped, but take stock of your emotions and make sure that energy isn't actually fueling your anxiety. Instead, take a few moments to be silent and collect your thoughts, maybe do some power poses, and still your nerves.

Think of it this way: Dates are just an opportunity to meet someone different from you, ask a couple questions, and maybe learn something. I found that the dates where I went in looking to wholeheartedly find what was interesting about my date's perspective were some of the moments that developed me as a person the most.

Be Open
Kat Goduco Photography

"Try to be open." says Nweze. "A lot of people have such a set idea of what they want, that the right person might pop up right in front of them, but because they don’t fit some set of specifications, you shut yourself off."

This hits the nail on the head. Sometimes, you think you know what you want, but until you open yourself up to a variety of experiences, you might be completely closing yourself off to certain qualities that you actually need qualities that make you a stronger, more well-rounded individual.

Having a hard time getting out of your head? Try to start small. Go somewhere unusual on a date. Visit a museum instead of grabbing drinks. Try a new food.

And, hey, it never hurts to try something new! It can only add to your worldview.

Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!