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The Dos and Don’ts of Dating: Your Guide to a Successful Love Life

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by eharmony Editorial Team - November 22, 2023

Successful dating can feel like an unsolvable problem. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to dating dos and don’ts, to help you successfully navigate the sometimes-tricky world of contemporary dating. We’ll look at a few things to keep in mind while you’re in a relationship, like the importance of proper communication, why you should be true to yourself, why taking it slow in dating is important, and why a proper mindset is key to finding success on the dating scene.  

Dating dos and don’ts: the basics  

When it comes to dating dos and don’ts, the most important ones are simple. 

Dating Do’sDating Don’ts
DO communicate effectively with your partner DON’T be dishonest 
DO be authentic in your relationship DON’T put pressure on the other person 
DO show, and expect, respect DON’T automatically assume the worst 
DO plan things but make room for creativity DON’T constantly overthink things 
DO be positive and confident DON’T compare yourself (or your partner) to other people 
DO set and maintain boundaries  DON’T be possessive 
DO be patient DON’T be endlessly negative 
DO be flexible DON’T ignore red flags 

In this article, we’ll look at several of these dating dos and don’ts, and offer you ways to incorporate them into your life, no matter which dating phase you’re in.  

Shaping the right dating mindset  

Experts talk a lot about the importance of dating mindset and how you approach a relationship is a key factor in how successful (or not!) it will be. Some key rules to keep in mind while dating:  

  • Positive attitude vs. thinking dating is a waste of time: If you expect things to go wrong, they probably will, especially if you think you’re unlucky in love  
  • High expectations vs. reflective attitude: While you shouldn’t settle, it’s also important to keep an open mind and learn from your mistakes 
  • Taking initiative vs. not acting: When it comes to dating, it’s important to be proactive rather than reactive 

Embracing authenticity: the dos of being yourself  

While it may be tempting to tell a white lie or three to appear smarter, more interesting, or more desirable, resist that urge. Not only will being caught in a lie destroy your partner’s trust, but you deserve someone who sees (and loves) you for who you are. Being authentic means being vulnerable, which is a great way to deepen your connection with your partner, so be yourself.  

Boundaries are one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, whether it’s setting, maintaining, or respecting them. Whatever stage of dating you’re at, you need to set your own rules and limits – and respect your partner’s as well. Figure out what your personal boundaries are and talk to your partner about theirs. 

Communication: dos and don’ts for effective interaction 

Relationships live and die by the quality of communication. While it can be hard to get started, effective communication helps you understand your partner better, reduces conflict and helps improve relationship health. It helps build trust and lets you better support each other.

Respectful rejection: dos and don’ts of turning down a date 

At some point, you’re going to have to end a relationship or say no when someone asks you out. When that happens, it’s important to do so kindly and respectfully. Acknowledge the effort they put in – because asking someone out can be scary – and thank them for the offer before politely turning them down. Even if it’s hard, you should be clear and unequivocal in your refusal, and whatever you do, don’t ghost them. That’s just plain mean.  

Taking it slow: dos and don’ts of building a strong foundation 

Rushing into relationships can be very tempting. While love at first sight can exist and sometimes you just know, taking things slowly is on the ‘do’ side of dating dos and don’ts lists for a reason. Taking your time allows you to get to know the person on a deeper level and make better decisions about whether it’s worth taking to the next level. 

Handling conflict: dos and don’ts of resolving relationship issues 

Every relationship has conflict and what matters is how you handle it. Instead of becoming defensive, try to listen to your partner objectively and ask for clarification rather than making assumptions. Use ‘I’ statements rather than ‘we’ statements, and if you’re wrong? Apologize sincerely and accept it.  

Relationships work better when you know what you’re doing 

We all want to be good partners, but figuring out how can be daunting. Which is why having a list of dos and don’ts for dating can be so helpful – it gives you a framework for how you should behave – and how you deserve to be treated. When you’re ready to put these rules into practice, eharmony is a great choice – we have a large pool of singles all looking for partners to build a connection and a life with. So sign up for eharmony today and take your first step on the path to real love.