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It goes without saying that casual dating is really different from the traditional committed approach most of us are used to. There are fewer certainties and guarantees involved, but there are also fewer rules to follow and restrictions to worry about. The whole experience is a lot less serious and a lot more carefree as well. Whether or not that’s a good thing really depends on the individual.
At its most basic level, casual dating is dating that’s all about living in the moment. Instead of focusing on whether or not there’s a future for a given relationship, everything’s about appreciating the connection for what it is and enjoying it for as long as it’s fun. However, this is harder for some people than others. The following are some questions to ask yourself that can help you determine whether the casual approach is really the best one for you.
Are you good at letting go of expectations?
Believe it or not, it’s definitely possible for someone to decide to date casually, but still cling to expectations. Are you interested in going the casual route because it actually sounds like a good fit for you, or are you hoping it will somehow fill the same void that a traditional relationship would? Casual relationships are meant to be light-hearted, fun, and carefree. If you’re looking for someone you can count on to pick you up from the airport or come with you to Sunday dinner at your parents’ every so often, casual isn’t for you.
Are you the jealous type?
Some people like the idea of casual dating so long as the “casual” part doesn’t go both ways. Sure, you like the idea of being able to keep your options open and date whomever you want without having to answer to anyone else. Can you handle watching your lovers do the same, though? There’s no room for jealousy or possessiveness if you’re looking to keep things casual, so make sure you’re prepared to deal with not being someone’s one and only first.
Does setting boundaries come naturally?
Boundaries may not seem like they gel with the idea of casual dating, but they’re actually the key to doing it right and getting what you want out of the experience. The difference is that these are boundaries you and your lovers draw for yourselves, as opposed to preset boundaries drawn for you by the rest of society. That said, are you good at being honest with yourself about what you can and can’t handle? Do you want dating and friendship to be part of the equation, or are you more comfortable keeping things strictly sexual? You need to know not only where to draw the line, but be comfortable with not crossing it once it’s drawn.
Are you a picky dater?
You don’t have to be willing to date anyone and everyone in order to be good at casual dating. You do have to be ready to let go of your usual standards though. Remember, this isn’t about finding a “forever person” or a soulmate. You don’t need to agree on all the big issues like politics, religion, or whether you want kids. You just need to dig the person’s company and enjoy being around them. In other words, casual dating gives you permission to open yourself up to possibilities that would be no-goes by traditional standards.
Are you good at being honest?
And by honest, we mean brutally honest. Avoiding drama means respecting the other person enough to be completely open and transparent about what you’re even doing with them in the first place. Don’t simply assume they know the shot or assume everything’s fair so long as you’re not actually making them any promises. For a casual relationship to work out, you both need to be on board. That means being clear and honest about not looking for anything serious right from the get-go.
Are you good at making clean breaks?
Even the best, most idyllic casual dating situations are merely temporary. How temporary is ultimately up to the two people involved, but it’s important to understand up front that nothing casual lasts forever. That’s honestly the beauty of keeping things casual in the first place, but it’s a lot easier for some people to handle than others. Are you good at ending such things cleanly? How about when it’s the other person ending things and not you? It’s okay to feel a little bittersweet when a good time comes to an end, but it’s important to be able to do so if you’re a casual dater.
The no-strings-attached life definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be wonderful if it turns out to be yours. Now that you’ve considered things, how do you think you’d do as a casual dater?