Dating: The Ultimate Guide (Best Dating Apps And What Makes A Good First Date)

by Liberty Stembridge, Relationships Columnist

Published in Relationships on 13th September, 2019

Dating is tough, whilst it's debatable whether dating is tougher now than it was in the past, it cannot be denied that finding "the one" usually isn't an easy task.

The complicated world of dating has set the stage for a variety of different movies, books, tv shows and albums. So how can we simplify the world of dating, to make it a little less scary and a little more fun for modern-day Millenials?


Dating Apps

Dating apps - either you love em or you hate em... or you love to hate them. They're an essential part of the modern dating scene, so it's worth brushing up on the various dating apps out there, and which one is best for you.

If you're struggling to meet people, dating apps might be the way to go, as you're guaranteed to find someone who's also single and looking for someone, essentially cutting out half of the hard work.


Tinder is one of the most well-known dating apps out there, with a reputation for being a "hook-up" app. Nevertheless, tinder has sprung forth many a long-term relationship, so if you're looking for more than just a one-night stand, Tinder is still an option (you may just have to be very clear about it).


The good thing about tinder is how common it is - it's one of the most popular dating apps available, and so you'll likely see a lot of different people from all different backgrounds. Plus, in order to talk to someone on tinder, you both have to "like" each other to match and then either of you can strike up a conversation, with no time limit.


Bumble has received quite a lot of attention recently for being the more heart-orientated version of tinder. Like Tinder, you must swipe left or right to like or dislike someone, and if you both like each other, the woman then has 24 hours to strike up a conversation or the match disappears.

Bumble claims to have introduced this feature in order to reduce the number of unwanted and rude messages women receive on dating apps, whilst also taking some of the pressure off of men to always be the one initiating a conversation.


Hinge claims to be the dating app designed to be deleted' aiming to foster true connection and real relationships rather than hookups or short flings. On Hinge, you fill out "prompts" that accompany your picture, which your admirers can then respond to or "like".

From there you can strike up a conversation on that topic in a more natural way. Hinge also allows you to filter who you see with features such as religiosity, political affiliation, height, whether you want to have kids and more.

In Real Life

Still dream of meeting your soulmate at a coffee shop rather than swiping right on a dating app? You're not alone. Although it may seem that millennial dating is now dominated by dating apps alone, this isn't the case.

dating in real life

Plenty of people meet in real life, connect, fall in love and so on. So without further ado - here are your best bets for meeting "the one" out in the real world.


Many relationships start in an academic setting because it makes socialising so much easier. You see the same people every day, often have similar interests if you're studying the same subjects and the trials and tribulations of being a student help you to bond with your peers.

Plus, an educational setting such as university is one of the only opportunities in your adult life that you will be completely surrounded by people your own age, or close to your own age, so you might as well make the most of it.

Social Groups

If you're struggling to meet people and don't know how to put yourself out there, why not try a social group of some sort.

Websites like meetup and facebook are rife with groups for all type of people, whether it's women's hiking, under-18's snorkelling, drinks and dancing, poker nights or fishing - there's something for everyone and if you're struggling to find your people, this could be a great opportunity to develop your own hobbies and expose yourself to similarly-minded people.


If you're interested in learning or developing a specific skill whilst also expanding your social circle, why not give a club a try? If you live close by to a university or are enrolled in one, then the likelihood is there are some university clubs you can join, even if you're a non-student.

dating in clubs

A simple google search can lead to a wealth of information on the clubs local to you.


Although joining the gym isn't always a sure-fire way to meet people and socialise, it can be an excellent opportunity to try. Plus, it gives you an incentive to work out and improve your own health.

Joining in the classes at a gym, or joining a social gym such as a climbing gym is another great way to force yourself into meeting people.


Of course, one of the most common ways to meet people within your day to day life is through work. Although this might not be a surefire way to meet the love of your life, you may well find like-minded individuals through this route.

Making an effort to form friendships or at least a friendly acquaintanceship with your work colleagues can not only make all the difference in improving your work life, but may lead to something more.

First Date Ideas

One of the hardest things to get right in the world of dating is the first date. Sometimes a first date will fall flat simply because you're not matched well with each other, but nevertheless, finding a mutually enjoyable activity will get you off on the right foot.

dating ideas

So what makes a good first date? There are a few different factors that go into making a first date the best one of your life.


Location is obviously important when it comes to the first date. If you're not sure whether you like this person already, then you might want to choose something more casual like a meetup at a bar or coffee shop.

If you know you like them already or if there's mutual interest, maybe try something a bit more lengthy and intimate such as a dinner date.

If you're not sure at all whether you'll like this person and want to try and reduce risk, pick an activity such as a show to see or class to try, which will reduce awkwardness and allow you to enjoy yourself whilst also bonding with your date.


Really, it's the person you're going on a date with that defines whether your date will be a good one. Make sure you're not just going on a date because you feel pressured into it, but that you are genuinely interested in finding out more about this person.

Good Conversation

Although good conversation is largely down to your own chemistry, there are some ways you can improve a conversation if it seems to be falling flat. Asking interesting, insightful questions for your date to answer works well, as does humour (so long as you both have a similar sense of it).

Learning from your mistakes

Not every first date will go well, but if you can look back, analyse and learn from your mistakes, you'll be a lot less likely to make them again.

Also check out "How To Make A Relationship Work, No Matter What" And "Is He Cheating On Me? (Signs He's Cheating)".

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