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The top five worst single dating habits and how to fix them

Shot of an affectionate young couple bonding together outdoors. Portrait of an adorable african-american young couple walking outdoor in the city.
It's time to reframe how we think about dating in order to increase our chances at success. (Getty Images)

Whether you’re just starting to dip your toes into the dating pool, or you’ve been swimming in it for some time now, it can be tricky to navigate the choppy waters of romance.

But for many single people, it can get frustrating if you’re going on date after date after date, but each new date seems to lead to nowhere.

There are many reasons why dates might be unsuccessful or unsuitable. Maybe you just don’t click with the other person, or you’re better off as just friends. Other times, it just wasn’t meant to be.

However, there are times when we need to examine ourselves and ask if we have any bad habits that follow us into the dating world, and whether they hinder us from reaching the next level with a potential flame.

We turned to Tinder’s global relationships insight expert, Paul C Brunson, for advice and he tells us that one generation in particular is getting it right when it comes to "driving better dating habits forward" - Gen Z.

Reflecting on his work with Tinder for the dating app’s Future of Dating report, Brunson tells Yahoo UK exclusively that 69% of Gen Z respondents believe they are "overhauling dating standards for the better".

Watch: "We matched on Tinder then moved in together two weeks after meeting - now we're married"

He adds that this generation of singles are "now taking great strides to do better", and has detailed how others can follow their lead.

Top five bad dating habits among single people

1. Not finding time to date

"Rather than being trapped in the mindset that a separate period of time has to be set aside and dedicated to dating, in 2024, it’s all about being smart with your time and dating in alternative ways.

"From stack dating, to errand dating, 51% of Gen Z agreed that they’re open to new ways of fitting dating around their daily schedules."

2. Putting others before yourself

"While previous generations of singles haven’t always prioritised themselves, now we’re seeing 80% of 18-25 year olds say that their own self-care is their top priority when dating and 79% want prospective partners to do the same.

"It’s so important to be happy in yourself, before you look to find happiness with someone else."

3. Thinking it’s a quick fix

"Dating is a journey and so don’t expect to find someone straight away. It’s all about experiencing dating different people and going out on different types of dates to really determine what you are really wanting when it comes to a potential relationship and what form that relationship takes. And more often than not, a connection that’s really special is worth the wait."

4. Assuming a date is dinner and drinks

"Long gone are the days of thinking a sit-down meal is the only option for a first date. We’ve seen singles increasingly opt for non-traditional dates.

Happy girlfriends are make fun together in fun fair
Try going on a date that isn't the traditional dinner and drinks. (Getty Images)

"For me a great first date is a walk with a coffee, it’s relaxed, you’re not having the pressure of staring at one another, waiting for the other to speak - and you’re getting some steps in!"

5. Asking too many or too few questions

"While a date most certainly should not be an interview, it’s important to show you’re interested in a potential partner by asking questions that will help you to get to know them before.

"Talk positively when you’re on dates, slip in some compliments, ask open-ended questions to gain more insights into your date's personality and most of all, actively listen to them."

How to ditch bad dating habits

If you recognise any of the habits above (eek!) in your own dating style and are keen to make a change, Brunson has four key pieces of advice:

1. Start with you

"Make sure you’re 100% ready to put real yourself out there, emotionally and mentally. Dating is a self-discovery process and can be a transformative journey of personal growth. Knowing your self-worth and building up your confidence to meet new people will enable you to put your most authentic self forward."

2. Get your Tinder profile on point

"Your profile provides a great opportunity to show off your flair and personality. A well written bio, 4-5 profile pictures, selection of interests and a Spotify Anthem (a tune that best reflects you) will set you up for success."

3. Explore your type

"Gen Z is challenging long standing views of sexuality, gender and also ethnicity, culture and geographical restrictions. Polyamory, monogamy and the emergence of the ‘situationship’ have all attracted attention for good reason. Now’s the time to embrace your truest self and find the individual, or relationship type that makes you happiest."

Taking time to explore your type can open up your dating prospects. (Getty Images)
Taking time to explore your type can open up your dating prospects. (Getty Images)

4. Get comfortable with rejection

"Don’t get discouraged by rejection, it’s perfectly normal. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE, gets rejected at least once. One of the most important things is that you go with the flow and keep things fun and easy, whether the end result is a relationship, friendship or just a good night out. And it’s a win-win as you’ll learn something about yourself."

Healthy dating habits to practice instead

Now that we know what bad dating habits to look out for - both in ourselves and in the people we go out with - what habits can we adopt instead that would be improve our dating lives?

Brunson notes that there is increasing importance placed on authenticity, which means that people really value when we put our "most real selves" forward rather than try to curate an image.

Smiling couple sharing piece of chocolate while on date
Forming habits that help you put your real self forward can show people you are authentic. (Getty Images)

"Think about how you can show a match you take your values seriously," he says. "Gen Z is prioritsing value-based qualities such as loyalty (79%), respect (78%) and open-mindedness (61%) over looks (56%). So I recommend you focus on being your most genuine self, to allow your amazing value-based qualities to really shine through.

"Something else I’ve taken note of many young singles adopt is a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. Ultimately this means they are fine to leave any situation if that means being true to themselves."

He adds that this is something he recommends everyone takes on board. "For example if the match you’re speaking to doesn’t have the qualities you are looking for, or their values don’t align with your own, it’s so much better to call it quits then and invest your time and energy into finding someone who does tick your boxes."

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