How to Navigate the Dating Scene in Your 20s


Last Updated: March 12, 2024

Dating Tips

Dating in your 20s can sometimes feel like the Wild West. No rules, no guarantees, and a real “every man for himself,” attitude. But if you can learn to roll with the uncertainty, keep your values clear, and have fun, this can be the best time of your life.

So, let’s talk about how to navigate the chaos and joy of dating in your 20s.

Remember that you are your own best date

Okay, it sounds cheesy as heck. But it’s true. The best thing you can do for your dating game is focus on yourself, first. Having a strong foundation will make you less vulnerable to the emotional rollercoaster of dating and actually make you more appealing as a partner. So, your main priority is to invest in yourself, first. Here’s how you can do just that:

  • Set goals for your future. These can refer to your career, dating, travel, or personal growth.
  • Focus on financial stability. It’s a lot easier to go through the trials and tribulations of dating in your 20s when you have a stable income. You know how the song goes about buying yourself flowers!
  • Find a mentor. Having a mentor in your 20s is a huge asset. This person can help you become the version of yourself that you can be proud of, regardless of what’s happening in your dating life.
  • Try all the hobbies. It can get progressively harder to build your social network as you get older, but hobbies can help. Whether you join a running club, co-ed softball team, artists collective, or whatever else interests you, this is a great way to make friends and become an independent person.
  • Find your own sense of style and beauty. Trying to fit in with the latest trends is something that becomes less important as you move through your 20s. When you learn to set your own trends and find your own sense of style, your unique beauty will be what sets you apart from everyone else in the dating pool.

Decide what you really want out of dating


One of the wonderful things about dating as a 20-year-old today is that you do not have to follow the old script—i.e. find your true love, get married, have kids, buy a house.

Today, it’s absolutely acceptable to date for fun, for now, for the experience, and even for the perks. You can, of course, also date to find a long-term partner. But, there’s a lot more freedom to choose your own dating style, such as:

  • Romantic. If you want to live the rom-com life, you certainly can! This style of dating will require emotional vulnerability and commitment.
  • Friendly and casual. You may be looking for some fun, but aren’t ready to commit to a relationship. With the right person, you can have a connection that keeps you satisfied without getting too serious.
  • Sugar dating. Sugaring is becoming more and more popular for dating in your 20s. A sugar daddy can treat you to the finer things in life, provide you with a valuable mentor, and help you get financially stable. What’s not to love?
  • Platonic dating. You may be drawn to an emotional connection with someone without a physical component. This is another popular form of sugar dating, but you can also have a platonic relationship with someone who isn’t a sugar daddy.
  • Short-term. If you consider yourself social, adventurous, and focused on the here & now, short-term dating might be right up your alley!

This is by no means a complete list of the types of relationships you can pursue. So, keep an open mind and choose what’s right for you.

Learn how to tame the beast that is online dating

Nowadays, one of the most efficient ways to date is online. Through dating apps, you’ll find hundreds of people in your area (or beyond) who are interested in dating. But that doesn’t mean that online dating is a walk in the park. Here are a few ways to make it a little easier:

  • Choose the right platform. Different apps attract different kinds of daters, which is why it’s so important to think about what kind of connections you want to make before choosing one.
  • Keep yourself safe. All online dating comes with a risk for scamming, whether that means being catfished or manipulated out of your money. So, take the necessary steps to keep yourself, your identity and your bank account safe online.
  • Don’t take it too personally. Unfortunately, one of the things that online dating has done is provide us with choice overload. This is a studied psychological response in which having too many options actually makes us less likely to be satisfied with our mate selections. In other words, it’s easier to feel dissatisfied with the person sitting across the table if you know your inbox is full of potential mates. Keep this phenomenon in mind when dating in your 20s to remind yourself that you’re a catch even if modern dating makes you feel otherwise.
  • Remember to take breaks. While you’re more likely to have success the more you put yourself out there, don’t forget to take a step away from time to time. And don’t let online dating get in the way of your other activities, such as friends, exercise, hobbies, or your studies.

Don’t forget to date IRL


Contrary to popular belief, people do still find partners in the real world! And getting to know someone face-to-face rather than in the few seconds you browse their profile picture may increase your chances of making a real connection.

So, how can you meet someone in the pre-internet way? There are a few things you can do to boost your chances:

  • Look around you. If you’re on your phone constantly or have a tendency to look down at your feet, you might miss that golden opportunity for connection: eye contact. Eye contact with someone you have chemistry with is much more powerful than a notification or DM!
  • Spend time in places where your ideal partner might be. If you’re looking for casual fun, you’ll surely find a partner at a nightclub or bar. If you’re looking for something romantic, you may find a match at your local coffee shop or at the dog park. And, if you’re interested in finding a sugar daddy, you can boost your chances by buying a day pass to the pool of your local luxury hotel or attending charity galas.
  • Don’t be afraid to make the first move. One thing that can be difficult about meeting someone in person is taking that leap of asking them on a date. Of course, no one likes to hear no, but if you’re always waiting for someone else to make the first move, you could be missing out on an amazing opportunity!

How are you feeling about dating in your 20s?

To be sure, dating as a 20-something can feel like a whirlwind, and not always in a good way. But, if you can remember to have fun, focus on yourself, and be brave, dating during this decade of your life can be so fulfilling. Are you excited about dating in your 20s?

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