There is nothing like a good friendship. A good friend will be there for you when you’re sad, happy, and everything in between. A good friend is the kind of person that you will look at across the room when something awkward or funny happens and only the two of you noticed it and you will both instinctively burst out into laughter. A good friend is the kind of person that gets you.
It’s important to recognize that sometimes no one friend can have all of these qualities. Finding people with these qualities can be difficult. You probably have different friends that fulfill different needs.
As you get older, you might start to feel a bit more independent from your family and closer to your friends. Some of these friendships might turn into romantic relationships, and you might want to start dating. That’s really great; dating can be fun, but it can also be hard! No matter your sexuality or your identity, dating can sometimes also be downright awkward and painful. We totally get it.
But first things first, you are the captain of your life. Only you can decide when and if you want to start dating. If your friends and peers are dating people, good for them but do not let that persuade you to start if you do not feel ready. Take your time, there’s no rush! Before your start dating, you should first ask yourself some questions including:
Below are some tips if you feel like you are ready to start dating.
A healthy romantic relationship can look like a good friendship. This means, you should not feel pressured to do anything you do not want to do, and you should feel heard, secure in yourself, and safe.
Sometimes relationships end, whether they are a friendship or a romantic partnership. They may end for many different reasons and going through a break-up can be tough and can really suck. It’s ok to feel upset when you go through a breakup.
If you do happen to go through a break-up:
With society’s increased reliance on social media and the internet, it is sometimes easier to find someone to date through dating apps than through other means. Online dating can be a wonderful way to meet like-minded people, and it can be an easy way to connect with people you would otherwise never get to meet in real life.
However, there can be unkind people in the world of online dating and so before you make your profile, or before you meet up with people you met online, you should first seriously consider your safety.
In order to create a relationship with another person, it can be tempting and also important to share personal information and details about your life. Be aware that at the beginning, you don’t know much about the person you are online dating yet! You want to be sure that you maintain your safety by sharing things that do not put you in harm’s way. Talking about your favorite music, movies, and what kind of job you have is different than what your address is, what store you work at, which school you attend or where you are going to hang out that day. Make sure you pay attention to your gut feelings!
Here are some tips!
Guard your identity – personally identifying information can be used by scammers and also can put you at risk for other personal harm. Identifying information includes your personal phone numbers, real name, date of birth, place of work, home address, or email address.
Fraud awareness – sometimes it seems like the person you are talking to is experiencing some major emergency or is in need of assistance. Don’t share your banking information or send anyone money. If you are really worried, you could offer to involve your parents or another adult to help problem-solve with the person.
Archive or remove abusive users – this could include people who are pressuring you for money, asking for donations, sending offensive or harassing emails, who make you uncomfortable with their communication, people with fake profiles or those that are trying to sell something.
Remain anonymous until you are comfortable – if someone is worth getting to know, they will probably be willing to communicate with you for a bit before you tell them a lot of personal information. Be honest and stay safe.
Guard your online information – use a strong password and lock your sessions so that others can’t get into your profile and cause problems.
Photos – use specific photos for your online dating account and only that account. Be sure that you remove identifying information (like your high school in the background or your sport team jersey). Searching photos can lead people directly to your personal information.
Do not spend too much time online dating – make sure you balance online dating with other parts of your life to maintain your health and wellness.
Only meet in person when you feel you are ready – don’t rush it! take the time you need to feel comfortable and confident in meeting someone in person.
Hooray! You’ve matched, someone has sent you a message and you’ve been chatting for long enough that you feel confident in wanting to explore this relationship further. Now it’s time to meet. Before you do, first consider:
Dating as a 2SLGBTQ+ young person comes with its own set of challenges. If you identify within the 2SLGBTQ+ spectrum and you are yet to find a person to date, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Due to a variety of reasons, many 2SLGBTQ+ people often start dating at a later stage in their life compared to their heterosexual cisgender counterparts. However, this does not mean that 2SLGBTQ+ folks cannot find love. This is far from the truth. You can find love (if that is what you want), and you are worthy of being loved! If you are interested in starting to date, try:
No matter your orientation or identity, you are free to choose what your dating life will look like. It does not have to look or follow a heteronormative pattern – you are free to choose whom and how you love and that is something worth celebrating!
“If your battery is completely drained you won’t have the juice to do what you need to support the people in your life.” – a wise person once told me.
The most important relationship you have is the relationship you have with yourself. If you haven’t heard it today, let us be the first ones to tell you: you are enough! You are worthy of love, affection, and respect. In fact, your worth and value are not tied to your productivity or your outputs. Before you give people your time, energy, and resources you should first invest in yourself and carve out some time, energy, and resources for you.
A lot of us often think that by taking care of ourselves we are being selfish. However, there is a difference between being selfish and being “self-full”. If you do not take care of yourself by making sure that your cup is full, you will not be able to be of assistance to others. As flight crews often tell passengers: first put on your own oxygen mask and then help those around you put on theirs.
Below are some self-care tips to get you started!
Read our webpage on self-care to learn more about how to build a good self-care routine! Check out our Groups and Workshops for more real life & relationship help! We also have private, free virtual appointments available with our Mental Health Therapists, Peer Support Worker, and Employment Support Worker.
Online Dating: The Virtues and Downsides | Pew Research Center
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All information on this site is intended to provide assistance and guidance but cannot replace the care of a medical professional.