"Do this." "Don't do that." It seems like every time you log in to Facebook, flip through a magazine, gossip with your friends, or text your mom, there it is: dating advice you didn't ask for.
So you doubt yourself. Are you doing this whole dating thing right? After all, you're still single. Maybe Wednesday's date never called because you were playing too hard to get?
With a plethora of advice out there, how do we decide which advice to do and which to ditch? Well, that's up to you. Only you can really decide what works and what doesn't. Rules of dating are hard to define because every relationship is different. Just like how the things your ex liked are probably not the same as the things your current lover adores.
But we can always learn from our past. So let's take a glance at the traditional rules of dating and uncover what we should do and what we should ditch.
Wait Three Days
The Rule: You meet someone, you like that person, you wait three days before you make contact in hopes of not appearing "too desperate."
Do: Maintain some space. You just met this person. And even if you convince yourself this is your new soul mate that you can say anything to, you don't want to scare him or her away by appearing too needy or desperate. Show interest, but keep some air of mystery. Watch your blue-to-gray ratio with your texts. You want to have something to talk about on your first date!
Ditch: Taking this rule too literally. If he or she also gave you their number, they want to hear from you. We are a generation who loves nothing more than instant gratification. Sure, we remember what it was like waiting for dial-up, but now that we can get everything instantly, we never want to wait again. If you like someone, reach out. Make a plan. Life is too short. With Tinder and other dating apps, options are at our fingertips, literally.
Play Hard to Get
The Rule: Everyone likes a challenge.
Do: Have a little bit of a chase. I'm not saying you need to go out of your way to be unavailable to this person, but not always being at their beck and call proves you have a life outside of them, which will make you more attractive. After all, you're not looking for your other half. That's codependency. You're a whole person, and you should be looking for another whole that you mutually complement, challenge, and bring out the best in.
Ditch: Being mean. Have a sense of humor but not always at your date's expense. Playing hard to get shouldn't mean hurting the other person. If they ask you out, and you want to hang out with them, don't say no for the sole purpose of "playing the game." Again, there are other options out there. And if your partner is attracted to meanness, well, that's a whole other issue.
It's Not a Date Unless They Go All-Out
The Rule: Wine and dine at the best restaurant in town, cause you're worth it.
Do: Make an effort in planning a date. There's nothing worse than picking up a planned date and then not having a plan. Not only is it annoying for both parties (especially if you're hungry), it reads that you're not respectful of your date's time. If you ask someone out, you should have a plan.
Ditch: Dating out of your means. You don't have to break the bank to impress your date. You want the date and your location to be a reflection of you, a place where you feel comfortable and your date will be at ease too. It doesn't have to be the hottest or most expensive restaurant in town. That's like two dozen long-stem roses on Valentine's Day — it's cliché and unimaginative. With social media, you have the resources to find out your date's interests before the big night. If you can cater your evening to something you'll both enjoy, you'll have a great time.
Always Get Your Friends' Approval
The Rule: Always ask for your friends' advice before you have any contact with your date.
Do: Get your friends' advice. If this date turns into something long-term, of course it's important for your significant other to get along with your friends. After all, your friends are a reflection of you and have probably known you much longer than the person you're dating.
Ditch: Assuming that your friends' advice is the be-all and end-all. Pretty sure your date asked you and not your five closest friends out. So trust your gut, say what you need to say, BE YOU. Take what your friends say with a grain of salt, especially if they're also single.
Never Accept a Last-Minute Date
The Rule: You don't want to be too available.
Do: Respect yourself and your time. If your date asks you out on a last-minute date and you have plans with your friends or something work-related, don't drop everything and run to your date. I've done this before, and most of the time you end up regretting it.
Ditch: Being totally against spontaneity. If your schedule is clear, sometimes last-minute dates can be the best. There's no anticipation. No stressing out about the perfect outfit. You just go. And if that date is terrible, well, it beats not doing anything.
Always Be Together
The Rule: The more time you spend together, the closer you'll become.
Do: Be more open-minded with dating. It's more important to be with someone that you really enjoy spending time with rather than someone who is just simply your type. The relationships that tend to flourish are the ones where the line between significant other and best friend is blurred. Dating should be fun. After all, it's called love, not hate.
Ditch: The mentality that dating someone means you must be attached at the hip. You should have a life and interests outside of your significant other, or else you will drive each other insane and then ultimately apart.
Have High Standards
The Rule: If you see a red flag, RUN!
Do: Be able to identify toxic behavior and real red flags. For example: your date doesn't respect you, is rude, and doesn't treat others well.
Ditch: Being overly picky and negative about your date. Have an open mind. The "I only date over 6 foot" mind-set is only hurting you. Let your material standards slip and see your date for who that person really is.
The bottom line is technology has really changed the dating field. You can learn something from all of these traditional dating rules. But at the end of the day, it's you and your date. You decide when to call, you decide what to text back, and you decide if there will be a second date. Every relationship is different, but you're the same. Do what makes you happy. Be true to yourself. No dating article is going to have all the answers; rather, they have clues to help you figure it out on your own. Learn what you can from "rules," break them, and make your own. The right person will like you for you.