What Can People Learn by Dating?

When you date, you enjoy friendly activities with a romantic partner.
... Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Dating is an important social teacher for the strengthening of present and future relationships, whether you are currently involved in a committed relationship or whether you are going on casual dates with many different people. Dating is a great way to have fun, to get to know someone more intimately and to help you determine what you would like in a romantic partner, according to the article "Love and Romance" published on the TeensHealth website.

1 How To Be Intimate

Dating allows you to explore making a romantic connection with someone within different settings, such as meeting up at the cinnamon roll stand at the mall or going to the movies. Dating also helps you learn appropriate boundaries, and how to connect with a romantic partner. When you date, conversations usually involve asking and answering questions about yourself and your dating partner. Sharing information about yourself, such as your likes and dislikes or your hopes and dreams, helps you to get to know each other better. Based on how comfortable you are with each other, you are likely to also explore making a physical connection through hugging, kissing or touching and holding hands.

2 Learn the Social Rituals

Dating can give you the opportunity to learn how to act and what to say when you are with a romantic partner. You have the chance to choose and refuse which roles you will adopt in a relationship. You can explore how it feels to have a romantic partner hold the door open, help you with your coat or pull your chair out for you, even if it is only done on special occasions. You and your date can also practice dating etiquette, deciding together how you will pay for things on the date; whether one of you will cover all expenses, or you will go half and half or you will both take turns covering alternate outings. You may also want to share the responsibility of planning dates, instead of leaving it all up to your dating partner.

3 Make Compromises

Although dating in the teen and early adult years is usually geared more toward having fun and socializing, dating is still an opportunity for you to learn how to think and operate as a couple, which will prepare you to handle relationships when you become more mature, according to the article "Love and Romance" on the TeensHealth website. You will have to learn how to make decisions that benefit both partners and not just what will make one person happy. For example, you won't make a decision to go have ice cream together if your date cannot eat dairy foods. When you have disagreements, you will get practice in problem-solving and making compromises. For example, if you really want to go for ice cream, you can decide to go to a place that serves soy ice cream or sorbet along with regular ice cream.

4 The Ideal Partner

As you date different partners with varying personalities, you can begin to make an internal list of characteristics that you would prefer in a boyfriend or girlfriend. You may appreciate the freedom you have in communicating openly and making compromises with one dating partner. On the other hand, you may decide to be cautious about being with someone who is overly controlling and too demanding of your time. As you mature, dating will become less about having fun and more about making a more long-lasting intimate connection with someone special. If you reach this stage already having an idea of the type of person you want to be with, it can help you to make better choices so you're more likely to end up with someone with whom you will be happy.

Latoya Newman is a novelist who wrote and published her first novel in 2012. She has a background in education, research and counseling. She taught at the elementary level for eight years, and has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from York University in Toronto, Canada.