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a couple out on a coffee date
by
Andrea McGinty
,
October 13, 2022

Do You Need A Dating Plan?

It’s a lot like writing a solid business plan.

The world is your oyster. Dig down, be honest, and state what you’re really looking for.

I fully realize that no one wants to plan falling in love. We all want it to “just happen.” We want to meet that perfect someone on a coffee line or at a dinner party. But the older we get, the further away we get from the likelihood of that ever happening. The reality is that the biggest pool of singles we ever met was back in college. Then maybe grad school, and after that maybe the workplace. Now, 20, 30, 40 years later, there are millions of singles online looking for relationships, and that’s really our best chance for success. 

So, how to get started?

A dating plan is actually a great first step to trying to find a romantic partner, and most people skip right over it. It’s a lot like writing a solid business plan, and I wrote my first business plan in the early 90’s when I started the dating site  It’sJustLunch.com. Back then, there weren’t any easily available templates or books on this subject — fortunately I had a friend who had started a restaurant a few years previous and he gave me his business plan to use as a model. Lucky for me, it was a great sample, and my business took off, ultimately becoming a national chain! 

These days, the trend is for one-page business plans, and I advise the same brevity for dating plans. It can be hard to write about yourself, and to visualize what you really want, but I promise that if you use these tips you can be done in an hour tops, and this will help you achieve your romantic goals:

10 Tips on How to Write a Solid Dating Plan

1. What’s Your Mission Statement?

The world is your oyster. Dig down, be honest, and state what you’re really looking for. This could be anything, and here are just a few obvious ideas:

  • I want a long-term relationship, possibly marriage.
  • I want a companion for dinners in restaurants and world travel. 
  • I want series of a non-monogamous friends for sexual adventure.

2. Research All Available Tools

Are you ready to take advantage of everything that’s out there with an open mind?  Matchmaking, Dating Coaches, Relationship Advisors, Online Dating, A Search Firm, MeetUp Groups, a New Sport. How many avenues are you willing to explore? How adventurous or out of your comfort zone are you willing to go?

3. What Do You Have to Offer?

What are your most compelling attributes,  interests, and personality traits? What’s great about you??

4. Are You Going to Do It All Yourself, or Are You Hiring an Expert?

In my experience, the most critical thing a founder/CEO can decide is a) what are you doing yourself, and b) what experts are you hiring?  Many tech founders quickly decide they are great at setting long-term goals, but are not good at day-to-day execution, so they hire a COO to execute the strategy. This also applies to dating. You may set the “goal” (long-term relationship) but you also have to decide whether or not you are the right person to execute this strategy. Do you want to write your profile, look through photos, spend hours online or do you want to hire an expert to do those things for you? It’s an important distinction, and worth a ponder. These days there are lots of coaches one can hire to help manage the nitty gritty (or fear) of dating.

5. Cost

How much are you willing to invest? Set up a budget. There’s a real range. You could decide to spend money on joining clubs or classes. You could decide that your max spend will be a year’s subscription on Match.com? Or maybe you want to hire a dating coach: Budget their fees, the cost of new photos, the cost of different online services, etc. 

6. How Will You Stand Out in a Crowded Field?

Be honest with yourself: consider a new hairstyle, new dating wardrobe, teeth whitening, Botox…what will make you feel your best as you get out there again?

7. How Will Your Photos Stand Out?

Perhaps you want shots of yourself doing unique activities like parasailing, jet skiing, glass blowing, your darling dogs (sorry, cats don’t sell). Maybe you want to consider a professional photographer?

8. What Are You Looking For in a Mate/Date?

Sometimes it’s easier to say what you DON’T want, but writing that way is negative and no one wants to date a negative person. So flip it into the positive...and voila!---you have what you are looking for. Keep this list to no more than 10 items. Be concise.

9. What’s Your Timetable?

A good plan has a kick-off date. This holds you accountable. Dating is no different. You may have an upcoming vacation and plan to return January 18. Plan to kick off your dating adventures January 20 ---a hard, set time to begin! Often it’s helpful to also have an end date—or exit strategy in mind: I want to be in a relationship at the end of Month 3 is very achievable! 60% of my clients are—but they work at it!

10. Objectives & Success Metrics

Make this quantifiable. I generally find that after a client has five first dates with new people under her belt, her confidence soars. A good objective might be: “I will reach out to 20 potential dates online every week. Success metric: Each week I will go on a minimum of two first dates.

It may sound cold, to compare trying to find a partner with trying to start a business, but I promise you, it’s not. Both are endeavors that need focus and vision. We all  need to be able to articulate what we want in life in order for it to happen. Dating, like starting any new venture, can be filled with fun and adventure (along with a healthy dose of anxiety)...and eventually success! 

Remember: it only takes one! 

...

Andrea McGinty founded the iconic It’s Just Lunch dating service in 1991 — before internet dating! She then founded 33000Dates when she realized, again, the help singles needed navigating online dating. In the 2020’s, she is more than ever convinced the best way to meet people is through online dating, using a professional dating counselor/consultant. So many intelligent singles need help writing their dating profiles….and she does much more!

Andrea thinks she has the best job in the world and specializes in upscale singles in their thirties to seventies!  

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