How to get into a relationship

Despite what every rom-com tells you, getting into a relationship isn’t always as easy as meeting someone one day and being in love the next. It takes patience and a bit of work, so we’ve put together this guide to help you get started.

Image of two young women sitting together. Both are smiling and laughing.

Consider if you’re ready for a relationship

Wanting to be in a loving and caring relationship is a natural part of life, but it’s important not to seek out a relationship if you’re not actually ready for one. 

Here are some ways to tell that you’re ready:

  • You’re comfortable with who you are.

  • It’s something you want, not something you feel you should have.

  • You’re willing to wait for the right person.

  • You’re ready to give your time and attention to someone else.

  • You aren’t being pressured into a relationship by others.

You’re probably not ready if you’re only looking for a relationship because: 

  • you’re feeling lonely and want someone to talk to and hang out with

  • you’re looking for something to make you feel better about challenges you’re facing

  • you find the novelty of a new relationship exciting. 

If any of these reasons sound like you, it might be worth having a rethink about whether you need a relationship right now. A relationship will start on a much better note if you’ve taken the time to work through things that are upsetting you, or are able to feel happy while single.

Work out your relationship values

Everyone has different relationship needs, values and desires. For example, some people are happier in long-distance relationships or when dating more than one person at a time. Think about the things that are important to you in a relationship, and be honest and upfront about them with any potential partners.

Head here to learn more about using your relationship values to find the right partner.

Put yourself out there

There are plenty of ways to meet new people if you're willing to put yourself out there. You can start by joining some dating apps, social or hobby groups, or approaching someone and striking up a conversation. It can feel a bit intimidating just walking up to somebody and having a chat, but there’s some great exercises you can try to practise being confident when meeting new people. 

While you might feel afraid of rejection, especially if you’re someone who struggles with social cues or rejection sensitivity, putting yourself out there can actually help build your confidence and boost your self-esteem

Ask someone out on a date

You won’t just fall into a relationship. Communicating how you feel is a huge part of it, and it starts with asking someone out! It can be really nerve-wracking, but the more you do it the less scary it becomes. Here’s some advice from other young people: 

  • It’s okay to be nervous! Being a bit nervous shows the person that you care and you’re genuinely interested in going out. Get some tips here on how to overcome your nerves.

  • You might feel awkward. This is especially true if they say ‘no’, but remember: the hard part is over and the next time will feel a little easier!

  • Be yourself. If the classic pick-up line doesn’t feel like you, then it’s not the right approach. 

  • Be confident, not cocky. Speaking of classic pick-up lines, no one wants to go out with someone who makes them feel uncomfortable. Confidence is hot, but it’s good to know when to pull back. 

  • Respect their answer. Don’t assume they will say ‘yes’; and if it’s a ‘no’, then respect their choice. There’s no use being angry or rude, or attempting to make them feel guilty. Just own it and be proud that you asked someone out in the first place!

Go from casual dating to exclusive

If you’re seeing someone casually and you’re super keen to be in a relationship with them, it might be time to have a chat about redefining your relationship. It could be as simple as saying, ‘I’ve been really loving spending time with you lately and I’d like to talk about what we are to each other.’ 

Before you jump in, consider if this is something they’d want. If they’ve already told you they’re just looking to keep things casual, you may have to be prepared for the relationship to end. This isn’t always the worst-case scenario, especially if you’re looking to swap a situationship for something a little more dedicated.

Don’t put too much pressure on it

Anyone who’s been single for a while has heard the advice, ‘You’ll meet someone when the time is right.’ Fair enough if that makes you want to roll your eyes and sigh, but there’s a bit of truth in it. 

Sometimes you can be so focused on relationships and sex, that you forget there are so many other great things you could be experiencing. Keeping the pressure off finding a relationship, and not thinking that you need to be in one, means you’ll meet someone when you’re in the best headspace and have happiness and love to share. Which is basically how you know ‘the time is right’.

What can I do now?

  • Find out how to embrace single life in the meantime.