3 Quick Ways To Stop Wasting Your Precious Dating Time

Stephen Hussey

I say “precious dating time”.

But all time is precious really.

That’s why my current obsession is with the art of reduction. Cutting the fat. Losing the unnecessary (I had another sentence after this one but it added nothing so now it’s gone).

One great illusion in dating is somehow the idea that more is better. It’s the reassurance that if you’re going on lots of dates, something like progress must be happening.

I’ve found the opposite to be true.


When you cram your schedule with so many dates you have to keep personal cheat notes to identify who you met and where (“Bob from marketing”, “James from the gourmet cheese tasting”, “Clarence from the World of Warcraft convention”), things very quickly become empty and too much like an obligation.

Dating becomes a monster you have to feed with more and more endless (and pointless) events – some other bar or mindless activity to meet new people, some boring conversation with some guy or girl you already know is not your type.

Here are three quick rules I now have to make this whole process a lot more fun, and a lot less time-draining:

1. Meet guys in places you enjoy

Cut out activities you don’t enjoy.

Get off the singles treadmill of going to places you can’t stand (where you’ll meet people you can’t stand) simply because you think you have to.

I’m all for being “out there” and meeting people (most days at least), but that doesn’t mean you ought to spend your precious free time trudging around bars and crappy singles events just because that’s what you heard people do when they’re trying to sniff out a partner.

When it comes to actually going on a date my personal rule is to only do something you would want to do anyway.

It becomes a quick way of knowing if you have a connection with the other person. For example, if you absolutely have to go running and exercise at the weekends but the guy thinks you’re insane for leaving the house on a Saturday, you already know this doesn’t have much of a chance anyway.

The person you’re going to be truly happy with is the person who’s going to enjoy doing normal stuff: taking a walk, eating ice cream, looking at dumb videos on your laptop, wandering around a park or museum and just chatting.

The more regular pleasurable activities you incorporate into your dating life, the more effectively you’ll be using your time.

2. Stop going on dates before you’ve established a connection with the guy

Cut out guys with whom you feel no connection.

Whether you meet him online or at a friend’s birthday, try to build some connection and find out if you have rapport before actually spending precious hours hanging out in his company.

It sounds stingy, but there’s nothing worse than showing up to the date and finding out in 5 minutes that you have barely any chemistry.

At the very least, know if you are (a) physically interested, and (b) enjoy his conversation before you choose to give up perfectly good Netflix hours on Saturday night.

3. Stop investing too much time in a first date

Cut the time you invest on a first date.

People park aside way too much time for people they barely know. Dating should be a process of investing a little, making an effort, but still letting the guy earn a place in your schedule.

If you both already happen to feel irresistible chemistry and want nothing more than sit on a couch in an over-priced cocktail bar talking for 4 hours without knowing where the time went: good for you.

For everyone else: start the date by keeping it small.

Book aside an hour and see how things go. You can always move on to another venue spontaneously if you’re both having the time of your lives.

As for the long, interminable, clichéd dinner-dates…save that until you’re bored and married. You’re single for god’s sake.

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Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

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42 Replies to “3 Quick Ways To Stop Wasting Your Precious Dating Time”

  1. Stephen thanks for this article. Some great advice to use when meeting up with a guy. I think the boring dinner dates can also be saved for when you actually have a connection with them and it worth going on.

  2. Another great post I couldn’t agree more. I’m definitely going to adopt these ideas to my dating life. I really agree with creating a connection before giving up your time.

    Thanks Stephen

  3. I agree with all of this, especially that last point. All I want to do on a first date is grab a cup of coffee or meet for a drink. I meet most of my dates online and no matter how many exchanges we have by messaging, it’s still hard for me to tell if I’m attracted to them until we meet. If within the first 30 minutes, I’m not feeling it, I don’t want to be obligated to stay another 30 minutes to an hour making mindless small talk.

  4. Wonderful advice. As a newly-single-for-the-second-time woman, I find I’m approaching the whole dating scene TOTALLY differently. I love these tips, especially #1 because I’m much more attached to my own routines and alone time now, and sometimes I fear that I will have to sacrifice too much to be in a relationship. It makes total sense that the right person will fit seamlessly into my life (and I in his) rather than requiring major changes or adjustments. Thanks!

  5. Steve,

    You’re right. I do not want to waste my precious Netflix hours! Haha. Especially if the Netflix time involves Kevin Spacey, Anthony Bourdain, or Francois Arnaud! Those are hours, I know, are well spent. :D

    The balance between “have to” and “want to” can be a tough one! I am working with my group at work on this concept. It seems that people understand it, but continue to have more “have tos” in their lives. I am trying to get them to embrace the special moments eating ice cream, having a Lord of the Rings marathon (many moments), hosting a game night…

    There are endless possibilities. Most people that I have encounter stuff let with this because they think they “should” or “should not” be doing this or that. Thoughts are powerful.

    My preference would be a Netflix date with a guy I had already been on a few dates with. :)

    Happy Hump Day!


    1. Hi Arianna!

      Your list of Netflix boyfriends is very different from mine! But I have friends who share your tastes exactly ;).

      It’s funny about the “have to” and the “want to.” I think there are times when “have to” is important and necessary and times when it’s really not. Like advice…getting advice is great when you need it but not always welcome. (I’ve had a couple friends I had to learn not to talk to about problems because they feel obliged to solve them for me and get mad if I don’t take their advice!) But nice when you have the choice to take it or leave it…And of course, we’re all here!

      The thing that Matthew says about how, in online dating, you should be “online one night a week and dating the other 6 nights!” fills me with feelings of…uh, horror? inadequacy? exhaustion? every time I hear it. Even if I were able to meet 6 single straight guys my age every week (hahahahaha), 6 nights in a row of trying to impress strangers one-on-one sounds like it would take more energy than I put into ANYthing else in my life! I like using that energy (and time) for other things, like work and friends and cooking and cycling. And I would need to increase my Netflix time just to recover ;).

      1. Hi Emily!

        I completely agree that it can seem overwhelming to think about 6 nights of dating in one week… but I think Matt has the right idea in that the more you meet, the more choices you have! Even 3 dates a week sounds like a good compromise. :P It is definitely more fun when you are not trying to impress anyone. Ultimately, you want a partner who accept you for who you are anyway, right? Of course, making a first impression is important!
        I love your list of interests! :)

        Netflix for life! ;P!


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