Dating In Your Mid-20s Is A Rollercoaster, So Hang Onto These 9 Genius Tips

Whether you're a serial dater, a swipe master, or someone who'll occasionally give "the dating thing" a shot, dating in your mid-20s will always be an interesting ride. Your potential baes/FWBs are more mature than your candidates in high school or freshman year of college (fingers crossed!). You probably have a bit more in the budget for some fun first-date ideas. You've got more autonomy and mostly answer to yourself. And yet, there's still that frustrating-but-magical human element to dating that will both delight you and keep on your toes. Dating in your mid-20s is a rollercoaster, complete with the upswings of serendipitous meet-cutes and passionate one-night stands, as well as the drops of awkward first dates and getting ghosted.

Even if you're just looking for a regular hookup with whom you can trade song recs or order takeout, there can still be a lot of factors at play. You've got to figure out what you want, whether it matches up with what the other person wants, and — if you're on the same page —whether it can all work, practically speaking. The most important thing is that you listen to your gut. Check in with yourself. Don't be afraid to speak up for what you want. And of course, that you make sure you're going out with people who make this ride called dating fun. Here's advice from nine people on how to navigate dating in your mid-20s.

Make sure you're in a good place to start

KKGas / Stocksy
The best thing you can do when dating in your 20s is to make sure you're healing on your own time. I kept getting into awful relationships because I didn't want to be single. But when I took time to heal things in therapy and work on myself, I feel like I am in such a better place to potentially get into a relationship that is healthy and lasting. I've met the most damaging people when I've been at my weakest/most vulnerable.

— Hannah, 23

Figure out your type

Lauren Naefe / Stocksy
On dating apps, my go-to in my bio is, 'Message me the last book you read.' [It] weeds out guys who aren’t as cultured, and helped me find my current boo going on a year.

— Taylyn, 24

Be choosy with your time

Guille Faingold / Stocksy
Your time is a precious asset, so don’t spend it on people who make you feel gross. No one likes to be alone and it’s easy to talk yourself into situations you’re uncomfortable for the sake of 'just being in a relationship.' Think long-term and be picky (but not too picky) about who you want to be spending your time with ‚ even if it is 'just for a good time.'
Nowadays with social media, it’s easy to talk to a bunch of people at the same time and not really commit to one over the other. But, as the saying goes: If everything is a priority then nothing is a priority. So think carefully about who you’re willing to [dance] the tango [with].
Remember, while you were feeling anxiety over one person (who you don’t want to end up with in the long term, anyway), you could have been building something with someone else (who you do actually want to call a partner).

— Raha, 28

But keep an open-mind

GIC / Stocksy
Be open-minded. Go into every interaction without pre-conceived notions. If it doesn't work out, take it as a good thing because you've learned about yourself and what you want and you aren't continuing to spend time with someone who isn't right for you. Remember you are still young — there is no rush! Try out new things, explore being single, and have fun!

— India, 27

Take note of the concrete details, too

Bonnin Studio / Stocksy
Safety first: Drop a pin. Or send your dating location, and person’s first and last name to a close friend or family member in your area — just to make sure you feel comfortable. And if someone does make you feel uncomfortable, kindly excuse yourself and bounce. Don’t go out without money for a cab or your plate.

— Sharde, 24

See it as a time for exploration

KKGas / Stocksy
I’d say, go out and have fun! Go with flow, and don’t put your eggs in one basket. Dating is supposed to be a time for you to explore, have fun, and kiss as many frogs as you need to find that Prince Charming.

— Priya, 29

Approach each date as a blank slate

Ivan Gener / Stocksy
If you've been dating for awhile, I think it can feel frustrating when every date seems like just another mediocre night out. One thing that really helped me get excited about each new first date was to remember that every new person I was meeting was basically a blank slate, a fresh start, and an opportunity for a fun, surprising night out. Once I shifted my mindset to really embrace that idea, dating felt like a cool adventure, not just another chore on my to-do list.

— Hannah, 26

When it comes down to it, you're the one going on dates, and nurturing those budding relationships or situationships. Use each date as a learning experience — both about life and about yourself and what you want. People often say that it's about journey, not the destination. If that's the case, make your dating journey a nourishing but fun one.