6 Rules for Dating in the 21st Century
How not to blow your next big date
The dating world has always been rough, but these days it seems like the tried-and-true rules have become, shall we say, murky. Back in the free-wheeling days of the ‘60s and ‘70s, dating multiple partners at once was the norm, and getting past the third date was something of an accomplishment. From going dutch to making the first move, here are six dating rules for the 21st century, explained.
1. Splitting the bill
No one likes that awkward moment when the bill arrives, and there’s an understandable amount of confusion about who pays on a first date. Traditionally, the guy pays, but more often than not, today’s couples are splitting the tab. No matter what school of thought you adhere to, just remember that paying for a meal does not automatically mean a guy is dating-material. We’ve all been out with plenty of men who’ve picked up the check and who have also turned out to be creeps. Instead, use the cues from the date itself to gauge a potential match. That said, it is polite and sure to score points if the guy at least offers to pay.
2. Chill out
Dating is essentially about finding a long-term partner, but it’s also about having a good time. Getting too serious, too fast is a sure-fire way to kill any chemistry you may have with a guy. You do not need to call him every five minutes to see what he’s up to, nor do you need to spend every waking minute together. No matter how much you may want to pick up that phone, please, please, put it down. It’ll set off all sorts of warning bells, and besides, you have a life, too.
3. The rules of the game
On the other hand, there is such a thing as playing it too cool.
Everyone enjoys a good chase now and then, but don’t get so caught up in the game that you lose sight of what dating is all about: Getting to know each other and enjoying each other’s company. Playing games with a guy is counterproductive and can lead to misunderstandings. Wondering why he doesn’t call anymore? Maybe you played hard-to-get just a little too well.
4. Making the first move
This one might go without saying, but girls, it is perfectly acceptable to ask a guy out. Even though it’s fairly commonplace, some women (and men) still have a problem with it. If there’s someone you want to ask out, don’t be shy about it. And if a man is intimidated by it, he might not be someone you want to date anyway.
5. Leave your ex out of the conversation
It just looks like you’re trying to make him jealous or that you’re still hung up on the old guy. If you can’t seem to stop talking about mister-yesterday’s-news, it may be time to take a break from dating. There’s certainly a time when you’ll both need to dish your dating history, but definitely not when you’re just starting a new relationship.
6. Being single is not a bad thing
No, being single does not make you a social pariah. It’s healthy to have some time to yourself and to focus on your goals. Dating can be great, but ultimately you’re not going to be a good match for someone (and vice versa) until you’re sure of yourself. And there’s nothing sexier than confidence.
Kelly Sinclair is a freelance writer. Having just returned from living the UK, she’s happy to be back in the land of cold beer and reruns.