Dating may be the most anxiety-inducing part of life imaginable. It’s not supposed to be that way. Dating is supposed to be a fun, relaxing way to get to know new people and maybe even find love, but let’s face it: it’s really not as easy as any of it sounds. How and where to meet people, what to say, how to dress on a date, and all of those other little—or big—questions pile up.
However, you’re not totally alone as you try to answer these questions. First of all, we’ve got your back with answers to nearly every dating question you can think of. But if you’re looking for one-on-one guidance, there are experts who will work with you to polish up your dating chops. Dating coaches will work with you on anything from how to interact on dates to even helping with matchmaking. However, dating coaches are expensive, and results aren’t guaranteed. So how do you know if getting a dating coach is the right choice for you?
Here are a few points to keep in mind when you’re deciding if hiring a dating coach is right for you.
How Much is a Dating Coach? – Consider the cost
One very practical concern when considering whether or not to hire a dating coach is how much you’ve got to spend. There are consultants that may work with you for a single session at a set price to give you advice on how to up your game, and there are also those that function more like life coaches, where you’ll meet with them weekly or monthly to discuss your progress. So in that sense, you have a range of price points to work with.
Decide what you’re looking for—do you just need some help brushing up on the basics, or are you trying to figure out how not to freeze up during those first, vital icebreaker conversations? Sometimes you’ll find that issues you thought were small turn out to be more complicated than you thought, but use your instincts and don’t let a potential coach upsell you by preying on your insecurities.
Because it’s such a unique field, there’s no market rate for a dating coach—they can charge anything from the cost of a night out to thousands of dollars. Price is no guarantee of success, though.
Be cautious before diving in for a dating coach who requires a long-term commitment up front. Just like actually dating, you won’t know if you’ve met the right person until you spend time with them. A good dating coach will have an introductory meeting for either a flat fee or for free that will determine if you and your coach are a good match. Don’t feel pressured to sign on right away—or at all. Trust your gut.
Dating coaches aren’t mental health professionals
However, it’s important to keep in mind that coaches, unlike therapists or psychiatrists, aren’t required to be licensed or adhere to a specific code of conduct (although some coaches will be part of professional associations that do have codes of conduct), so there are no base-level standards you can expect from a dating coach. That doesn’t mean a coach can’t be helpful—they definitely can—but this is very much a “your mileage may vary” situation.
You may be thinking this doesn’t matter—after all, you’re just interested in upping your dating game—but this may be a good time to take stock and think about whether you’d like to talk to someone who’s skilled in the ins and outs of dating (a coach) versus someone who can help you address issues like anxiety or low self-esteem.
A coach may be able to help you with some of these issues if they’re minor, but if they’re lifelong concerns, it may be worth it to meet with someone with more professional training. There’s still a lot of social stigma that goes along with seeing a therapist, but all it means is that you’re investing in yourself. It’s not a failing to want to improve your outlook or self-esteem.
Independent dating coach reviews
If you do choose to go with a dating coach, shop around and take things with a grain of salt. Even if a dating coach has reviews or testimonials on their site, you’re unlikely to be able to verify that they’re legitimate.
You’ll do better if you search the coach’s name (or the business name) and see if there is any information on review sites. You may event want to check sites like the Better Business Bureau to make sure the coach hasn’t taken anyone for a financial ride. There are good dating coaches out there. But there are exponentially more that don’t deliver.
Patience is key
Before you invest in a dating coach, you may also want to take a little while to think about why you want a dating coach. Is the same thing going wrong with every date you go on or every conversation you try to start, or do you just feel like with the amount of time in, you should have seen results by now?
There’s no one timeline for love. If there was a surefire way to meet the person of your dreams with almost no time or effort, you’d have found out by now. Maybe all you need is a little patience.
On the other hand, everyone could use a little help now and then. Maybe you’re having trouble meeting someone who has the same religious beliefs you do, or maybe you’re having doubts about whether or not long-distance dating is right for you. And even the most confident of daters have trouble figuring out if the people they’re interested in feel the same way.
There’s a good chance a dating coach can help you with some of these issues, and may also be able to help you step up your style game or become a better conversationalist. But you might have just as much luck doing the research yourself, and saving some money in the meantime. After all, who knows you better than you?