Finding the Right Person to Date: 3 Tips From a Pro

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "How to Not Die Alone" by Logan Ury. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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How do you find the right person to date? What are some things you should keep in mind when looking for a serious partner?

Finding the right person for a serious relationship is no easy feat. People take years, sometimes decades, to find a successful long-term relationship. But it doesn’t have to take decades of your life if you know how to date effectively.

With this in mind, here are three tips for maximizing your chances of finding the right person to spend your life with from dating coach Logan Ury.

1. Manage Your Expectations

The first step to finding the right person is to set realistic, but positive, expectations. You must be realistic because too many of us expect too much from our first date. We want to feel an instant connection, but such a connection is rare—partly because we tend to like something (or someone) more the more we encounter it. So don’t discount your date just because you don’t feel an instant connection with them; remember that feelings can grow. 

That said, don’t be a downer—having a positive attitude is critical to the success of your date. Experiments have found that when we expect to be lucky, we’re better able to notice opportunities we can take advantage of. Similarly, if you expect the date to go well, you’ll be better able to notice your date’s positive qualities and will have a better time.

(Shortform note: Setting realistic but positive expectations works well for couples in arranged marriages, who may not feel an initial spark but marry anyway. These couples approach their day-to-day encounters with the positive attitude that love will grow and choose not to dwell on their spouse’s flaws. And often, love does grow. In fact, studies suggest that couples in arranged marriages are as happy or happier than couples who married for love.) 

2. Design a Great First Date

Second, Ury suggests that you design a great first date. When dating, your goal is to figure out how a person makes you feel—so it’s essential to go on dates that promote natural connections (instead of ones that encourage you to quiz each other). Try doing something creative together: You’ll have fun and might learn whether your date has the qualities you’re looking for. For example, if you take a pottery class and your date can’t follow the instructor, do they continue trying anyway (indicating a growth mindset)?

(Shortform note: In Models, Manson agrees that you should go on dates that promote connections, but he has a different method for designing them. Rather than doing something specifically creative, he urges you to schedule several “experiences,” which will ideally involve mutual participation, activity, and opportunities to touch. The more experiences you have together, the more intimate you’ll feel toward each other and the greater connection you’ll have. For example, you might start an evening bowling, then get drinks before going dancing.)  

3. Always Go on the Second Date

Third, Ury suggests that you always go on the second date. We’re primed to judge our dates harshly, partly because we’ve evolved to pay more attention to negative things, so we tend to focus on their flaws rather than their strengths. By creating a rule that you’ll always go on a second date, you allow yourself more time to see if a connection will develop and to find more positive qualities that might outweigh the flaws.

(Shortform note: Like Ury, other relationship experts agree that going on a second date—even after a mediocre first one—allows more time for a connection to develop and encourages you to find your date’s positive qualities instead of focusing on their flaws. But don’t ignore every flaw: If your date is outright rude, insulting, or triggers an instinctive bad feeling, experts recommend that you leave immediately.)

Finding the Right Person to Date: 3 Tips From a Pro

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  • A science-backed approach for finding the true love you’ve always wanted
  • How your patterns may be sabotaging your quest for true love
  • How to effectively navigate the twists and turns of a relationship

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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