After being single for a long time we tend to fear people and situations that make us uncomfortable. Going out for drinks, dinner, hikes, etc. with someone we don’t know sometimes instills anxiety in us. We have gotten comfortable being on our own, and going out with our friends and family. Getting to know somebody else in hopes to open our minds, body, and spirit in is scary, and always will be. Dating is scary because it is unpredictable.

We are either going to really like someone, have nothing in common with someone and never talk to them again, date for a while and it end badly, date for a while and it end amicably, or spend the rest of our lives with somebody. All of these options can be intimidating, but you need to start thinking about dating as an exciting opportunity to meet new people and experience new places. Here are some tips to think about when getting back into the dating game after a long relationship.

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1. Be Open-Minded

dating-game-after-long-relationshipSometimes we hop back into the dating scene due to pressure from our friends or parents. This typically starts us out with a negative mindset; we will associate dating with the negative nagging we hear from friends and family. Always be open minded when dating, think of it as an experience and not a destination. You probably won’t end up marrying the first person you go out on a date with, but you may laugh, learn something new, or gain a new friend. Dating is a great opportunity to meet new people in general. The word ‘dating’ is the only reason it becomes nerve racking, think of it as a positive opportunity.

2. Be Yourself

You have just had all this solo time, learning about who you are, what you like, what you don’t like, and how you want to be represented as a person. Just because you are back in the dating game, does not mean you let that go to waste – remember who you are and always be yourself. So many people let this go out the window when the meet somebody new, forgetting that they actually have one up on all of the people that have been in the dating game for a long time and have forgotten what they stand for. When you show who you are you will attract people that relate well with you, and you’ll have a better chance of having a long and healthy relationship.

3. Ask Questions

Although you may be nervous, and hesitant to open up on a first date – what exactly are you waiting for? Learn about this person, and figure out whether or not you like the answers they give you. If you do not ask questions, you do not get answers, and you may leave the date feeling unsure of if you vibe well with this person or not. Why go on multiple dates with someone that you know nothing about, you could be allocating this time to other things or people. Life is very short, and we are never guaranteed another day, so ask the questions you want answers to and learn new things about people you know nothing about.

Related: 5 Important Reasons Not to Fall in Love Too Quickly

4. Go On Fun Dates

There is nothing more awkward than being in a boring place, with no noise, or things to see, with a person you do not know. Choose a fun restaurant that has a live band, go rock climbing, the zoo, or go see a sporting event. Being in a fun atmosphere that engages you in activity will break the ice for you and your date. Listen to the saying ‘it is only as awkward as you make it’ if you choose a boring first date it will most likely be dull as well.