Millennial Dating: It Doesn't Have to Be as Hard as You Think

It’s easy to see that the last twenty-something years have caused some radical shifts in dating culture, and many people think that it’s changed for the worse! If you’ve ever wondered why something that sounds so simple - finding and cultivating a connection - has ended up feeling so complicated, you’re not alone.

There are dozens of articles and countless more social media posts bemoaning the frustration of millennial dating. But that’s not the whole story! If you’re looking for ways to demystify millennial dating and make it fun again, you’re in the right place.

What’s So Wrong with Millennial Dating?

Ambiguity. Confusion. Overthinking. Ghosting. Most of the complaints about millennial dating actually stem from one core root; People are protecting themselves from rejection. This isn’t some kind of new phenomenon that’s sprung up in people born after 1980 - far from it! People have feared rejection and tried to avoid it for most of history.

A couple dressed up in colorful gear pose for the camera

The thing is, humans have never had so many tools to shield themselves against it as we do now. The advent of digital communication, as well as the increasingly casual attitude society takes towards dating, means that it is incredibly easy to have contact without risk. We’ve seen that if people can avoid putting themselves out there to make the first move or express how they really feel, they often times will.

Keys for Millennial Dating

The way to break through this toxic dating culture is pretty simple, even if it’s challenging: Be honest, and take risks.

The truth is that the fear of rejection shouldn’t stop you from finding acceptance, and your journey there will be much quicker if you’re brave enough to be honest about your feelings and desires and bold enough to pursue them. Here are three keys to millennial dating that will help you cut out the noise and start to actually have fun:

Ditch the Screen and Just Do It

So much of the frustration in millennial dating comes from the ambiguity around communication, especially at the start of a relationship. Is it a date? Are they flirting? Who should make the first move?

A girl and guy sit at a table chatting while a man dressed in an iPhone costume whispers in the males ear

At the Adventure Challenge, we’re going to live up to our name and challenge you to just do it. Ask that person out! You could go in with 'Hey, I just got these Blind Date challenge cards and they seem pretty fun. Want to try them out with me?' (Just a suggestion!) You don’t have to have an online DM or a dating app match as a soft start to get you going. Whether it’s a cute stranger at a coffee shop or the friend you’ve had feelings for for a while, take the plunge and ask them out in person!

This can feel pretty overwhelming if your main experience of millennial dating has been primarily online through apps or social media, and during the pandemic that’s been most of us! So, if you want more details on how to ask out a guy or how to ask out a girl, check out our guides!

Cut Down the ‘Talking Phase’

As much as we’d like to dream that everyone could have a magical in-person meet-cute, the reality is that millennial dating doesn’t always work like that. More and more couples are meeting online. Dating apps don’t have to be all bad, in fact, they can be pretty useful tools for connection!

Whether you’ve connected over a mutual swipe-right, or taken each other's numbers the old-fashioned way, you start out in a treacherous bog known as The Talking Phase. This phase, where you are messaging another person to get to know them a bit before you actually meet up in real life, is a common part of millennial dating. The problem? It can drag on and on, and the longer you spend just chatting, the more ambiguity grows. Do I like them? Do they like me? How long is too long to leave their message before I reply? Did I reply too quickly? Are they messaging other people? Should I be messaging other people?

A couple sit together while eating out of boxes of Cheez-its

To make matters worse, research has shown that while both men and women acknowledge the existence of the talking phase in millennial dating, they often have different ideas about the level of commitment it implies. Men were more likely to think it was okay to talk to or sleep with other people while in the talking phase, and you can easily imagine the levels of frustration and confusion that can happen if two people are on different pages about their expectations!

So, ditch the talking phase! 

Remember, the whole aim of the talking phase is to get you out of the talking phase. If the person you’re talking to is dragging their feet, take matters into your own hands and suggest that you meet up. It’s so much easier to see whether you connect with someone when you’re face to face! Cut out the mind-games and start actually connecting.

Stop Hiding Your Feelings

The temptation in millennial dating is to keep your feelings in the dark. Really like this person? Play it cool. Not excited about them? Slowly fade out, or keep on ‘bread-crumbing’ them to keep your options open.

This will get you nowhere, real fast! Or rather, it’ll get you somewhere, but excruciatingly slowly. It’s time for millennial dating to be characterized by honesty! Stop hiding behind a mask of indifference and be honest about what you want and where you stand. If the other person isn’t doing the same, be bold and ask them.

A couple hold hands while standing in a parking lot and smiling at eachother

We get it, this can feel scary. But it’s going to save you so much time and confusion down the road! Millennial dating is hard when you’re left in the dark. So start shining a light on your own relationships, and you’ll see what a huge difference it makes.

Final Thoughts on Millennial Dating 

Millennial dating gets a bad rep, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as everyone makes it out to be! When you’re not afraid to take risks and be honest, you can cut out the frustrating ambiguity at the beginning of millennial dating and skip straight to the fun stuff. And if you’re looking for ways to have fun, our Blind Date cards are a great place to start!

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A couple smile together; image overlaid with text that reads millennial dating it doesn't have to be as hard as you think
A couple sit and smile at each other; image overlaid with text that reads millennial dating it doesn't have to be as hard as you think

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