When you start dating someone you're really excited about, it's easy to start daydreaming about the amazing life you'll have together. But before you can even reach that point, you'll need to successfully navigate through fun yet sometimes awkward "getting to know you" phase. According to experts, there are some things you can do to make the most out of the
getting to know you phase so your relationship can get to the next level.
"Dating and getting to know someone should feel like an adventure,"
Marlena Cole, professional relationship expert, strategist, and life coach, tells Bustle. "However, for most people dating is a scary and overwhelming experience."
For instance, there are so many different opinions out there about the "right" and "wrong" way to get to know someone. It's
easy to overthink everything and you can lose your authentic self in the process. But if you simplify the process by setting a goal to just get to know someone new, you may find that dating can be a pretty enjoyable experience. You may also find yourself forming a bond with someone you truly connect with.
So here's what you can do to make the most out of the getting to know you phase, according to experts.
Texting may be more convenient, but
talking on the phone will give you more of an opportunity to get to know someone better. Talking to someone on the phone requires a level of focus that you don't necessarily need to have when you're just texting. "You can even take notes to help you remember small nuances about them that will help you do something special for them down the line," Cole says.
Be Curious To Learn More About Them Without Having An Agenda
Many people today date with the mindset of immediately cutting those who are a "waste of time." While that's fine in some cases, Cole says it's more important to forget the agenda and just stay curious. "Having an attitude of curiosity makes the other person feel relaxed and valued when they're with you," she says. "In turn, they'll want to spend more time with you." If a good relationship is what you want, spending
quality time with someone is the best way to get there.
Be Open About Your Passions
When you're getting to know someone, nothing beats good conversation. But you can take that to the next level by exploring each other's passions and hobbies together. For instance, if you're into volunteering or they're into hiking, Cole suggests planning dates around these things. Letting them into your "world" will give them a chance to see you in your element. Maybe they'll see something about you that they wouldn't have seen in a regular restaurant setting.
Stop Trying To "Bottom Line It" Too Soon
"Bottom lining it means trying to hurry and figure out if this person is 'the One' within the first few weeks or months of meeting each other," Cole says. But building a relationship is a process that happens over time. There's no set time to ask for exclusivity. It's important to be patient and just allow the relationship to grow at its natural pace.
Don't Assume The Person You Just Started Dating Is Like Everyone Else
"Most people have experienced disappointment and heartbreak in a relationship," Cole says. "But going into a new relationship looking for signs of things to go wrong is a sure fire way to miss an opportunity to connect with someone." Comparing their behavior to someone else is only going to make you anxious and worried. "Approach each new relationship as if you have never been hurt before," Cole says. This is a totally new person, so give them a chance to show you who they are.
Create A Balanced Dynamic Early On
If you want to make the most out of this stage, make sure you establish a balanced dynamic early on. As Jane Reardon, licensed therapist and founder of
RxBreakup, tells Bustle, mutuality is key. "Make sure you’re not doing most of the heavy lifting to keep the relationship going," she says. For instance, if you're always the first one to text or make plans, give yourself a break and see if they step up. "By staying focused on what’s really happening you keep the relationship grounded," Reardon says. "And if you like what you actually see (and not what you dream of seeing) you’re upping the possibility that this might get real and last a long time."
Keep Prioritizing Yourself
When you start dating someone new and you want it to turn into something more serious, it's easy to compromise a lot of your own needs for theirs. But that's the last thing you should be doing. "As much as your new partner wants to feel needed and admired, they likely want to be with someone who has a life, and whose whole life isn’t dependent on them," Julie Spira, relationship expert and CEO of
Cyber-Dating Expert, tells Bustle. Prioritizing yourself and doing your own thing will help you stay in check. You're less likely to overthink or worry about the future of the relationship.
The getting to know you phase should be fun. After all, it's the early stages of a potential relationship. If you make it a point to stay present and just get to know someone new, you may find that dating is a much more enjoyable process.