When it comes to your love life, do you wish there was a rule book? While The Rules are so last century, a new dating handbook has yet to be created in the new millennium.
So how do you know the dos and don’ts of dating? The truth is there are no hard and fast rules, but the following guidelines should help you navigate the tricky terrain known as your dating life.
Rule #1: Listen to Your Gut
Whether you’re on a date, communicating with someone you meet online, or flirting with a cutie you meet in the flesh, it’s important to pay attention and listen to your gut. If a potential date’s actions or words set off an internal alarm system, you owe it to yourself to pay attention and act accordingly. These alarms can be both good and bad. For example, if you’ve met someone online and they seem interesting, then you talk to them on the phone and they sound completely different (in a negative way), you may decide not to meet them in person. A positive example would be if you were on a date with someone and they seemed nervous but well intentioned, your gut might tell you to give them a second chance. By going on a second date, you’ll gain a better understanding of who they really are and if you’d like to see them again.
Rule #2: Pay Attention to Red Flags
Like those internal alarms that alert you to your gut feelings, you also have an alarm system to alert you to red flags. Oftentimes this alarm system is turned way down. As a result, we often ignore red flags and find ourselves getting involved with inappropriate partners because we’re not paying attention. To become a truly successful single in the new millennium, you owe it to yourself to become a red flag specialist. That means paying attention to red flags as they are presented to you on dates. An example of a red flag would be if you found yourself on a date with someone who could not stop talking about their ex. They may be a fantastic person, and eventually make a great partner, but right now they’re not ready. Your job is to pay attention to that red flag and not pursue them.
Rule #3: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
During the course of your dating life you will most likely find yourself on a date with someone whose actions speak much louder than their words. Maybe they’re attentive and chivalrous to you, but treat the waiter, bartender, and/or valet poorly. Or maybe they claim they’re ready for a long-term relationship, but their wandering eye tells you otherwise. To get the most out of your dating life, it’s important to understand that actions speak louder than words. When someone’s actions are contrary to their words, this is not only a red flag, it’s gut-check time. By paying attention and screening out potential partners whose actions don’t match their words, you cut down on wasted dating time and make it that much easier to attract potential partners worth your time and energy.
Rule #4: Don’t Play Games
Successful singles know what goes around comes around. They also know the importance of being honest and well-intentioned with the people they date. As a successful single, you owe it to yourself and the individuals you date not to play games. Call when you say you’re going to call. Do what you say you’re going to do, and be honest when the other person asks if you’d like to go out again. If you don’t want to see them again, say so in a kind and considerate way. By being honest and letting them down easy, you avoid playing games. Expect the same in return. If you don’t get it, don’t play games by taking that out on the next person you date.
Rule #5: Know When to Say “Game Over”
Just as you should not play dating games, you will want to avoid getting played. Like it or not, there are plenty of players on the dating scene. It’s up to you to know the signs of the player, know their game, and be confident enough to say “game over.” Here’s how to spot a player: When they approach, they’ll take you off guard with a backhanded compliment/insult along the lines of “you’re too cute to be wearing that” or “I’d buy you a drink, but you probably wouldn’t talk to me.” These tactics are known as The Game. The player’s motive is to take you off guard so that you’re on the defensive and try to make up for it by engaging in their game. The problem is, these players aren’t genuine. Instead of falling for their tactics, simply smile, say “game over,” and walk (better yet, run!) away.
While there are no hard and fast dating rules, there are definitely guidelines to follow to make your dating life more enjoyable. By listening to your gut, paying attention to red flags, and understanding that actions speak louder than words, you cut down on wasted dating time. In doing so, you not only avoid getting played, but you also greatly increase your chances of relationship success.