four hands pointing in different directions - mixed signals

‘Lately I’ve been having some doubts about where to meet men because I’m tired of clubs. All the guys there just want a “one night stand”, and most of the time they’re kind of drunk so that’s not cool … I want more maybe not a serious relationship but a guy you can date a couple times and have a good time with… I’m not really old enough to turn to a dating website and I don’t feel lonely cause I don’t have a guy right now..’

NML says: The trouble is that you’re in conflict. You say you want to meet guys that aren’t just trying to get into your knickers but you don’t want a serious relationship, and ideally you want someone you can go and have a couple of dates with. On top of this you want him to behave like a man who is having fun but not too much fun. This is why you are struggling because you want too much out of something that you profess to want little more than two dates out of.

Dating is difficult but it’s made harder by the fact that there are lots of people out there dating who don’t know what they want and are conflicted. This sends out mixed messages and further adds to a lot of people walking around like headless chickens in the dating world.

Dating is really about spending time around someone with a view to possibly taking things further.

It gives you the opportunity to get to know someone and decide whether it’s something you want to take to the next level. There is no rule that says that you can’t date if you don’t want something serious, however, this does alter what type of dating experience you will have. On top of this, you will inadvertently lead some guys up the garden path if you are unclear about what you want. Next thing you know he’s thinking you really like him and that you could be something special whereas you’re done after two dates.

Men are quite literal. If you turn around and say you want to be taken out, to have a couple of dates, and fun, they’ll treat you accordingly. Around a half decent guy, he’ll do just that but around the average guy that hears a woman say she just wants fun, he’ll hear that as ‘she’s up for a shag’ and chance his arm.

Part of me feels that even though it is annoying when guys do seem to want to find out the colour of your knickers more than they want to know you, if all you want is some fun and a couple of dates, these are actually probably your ideal candidates.

The amount of legwork you put into finding men should be proportionate to the type of dating experience you want.

If all you genuinely want is to have some fun on a couple of dates, I wouldn’t go turning the town upside down looking for potential suitors. I’d take your chances with the guys you meet out socially.

But you need to decide what you want. If you don’t want something serious, that’s fine. Go out, enjoy yourself, and just be mindful of going from single girl about town enjoying herself and avoiding something serious, to single girl about town who is avoiding commitment. It happens all the time and you can fall into some really bad love habits unless you pay close attention to how you manage your single life and how much you let yourself get drawn in or affected by the guys you meet.

The place is not always a reflection of the type of guy you will meet, but as a rule of thumb, if you don’t like the type of men you’re meeting in the places where you go, change places.

Avoid trying to meet men at work because I have enough experience of myself and other readers to know that you really shouldn’t pee on your own doorstep.

Speed dating and singles functions are fun and can give you a quick fix of male attention. Be careful though of getting into a rut with these as they can make you overtly picky and/or get you hooked on collecting attention.

Meeting people through hobbies and interests is always a good one as you will already share common ground, however this is more important when you’re looking for a potential partner.

Art galleries, scavenger hunts, wine tasting, an evening course, the gym (although remember it might be awkward afterwards), DIY stores (look helpless with a chainsaw or something in an aisle where there are lots of men walking around), borrow a dog if you don’t have one and go for a walk in the park, or sports.

I am not a big fan of online dating irrespective of age simply for the fact that it has more liars and men pretending they’re single when they really have a girlfriend or a wife so you won’t find me steering you in that direction!

The ideal for you is doing those dinner date things – good food, wine, and a group of people who are likely to gel with your personality. Eightateight (US) or Whosfordinner(UK).

My advice to you though is to figure out what you want. You need to manage your expectations accordingly because if what you want is fun, then worrying about what these guys want from you is a waste of energy. Just because a guy wants a one night stand, doesn’t mean he gets one. Go out and have fun and be careful of expecting men to behave like potential boyfriends when they’re unlikely to be around beyond a third date….

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