If you’ve ever flubbed up while finally making your move or felt a rush of regret after sending a text message to a love interest, then you know how tricky dating is. You also understand the unspoken dating rules and for better or worse find yourself following them.
Play it cool. Appear somewhat disinterested.
Don’t call too soon.
Don’t be too available.
Be the one to end the conversation or the date.
Don’t text too eagerly.
Don’t send the last text in the chain.
It’s understandable that singles feel like dating is more of a game and less of a journey to find love. How are you to know if someone is playing hard to get or if they’re just not that into you? And what if you like someone? Are you supposed to pretend you don’t? Do you resort to playing games only to follow the unspoken laws of courtship? As matchmakers, we sometimes find ourselves helping clients untangle the webs of confusion created by dating games and sexist rules.
If you’ve been scared off from dating because you don’t like playing games we’ve got a few no-nonsense tips to help you. Learn to walk the fine line of dating daringly while not overstepping the age-old relationship rules (that do have a basis in the biological differences between men and women).
- Remember that dating rules are always changing. The only thing that stays the same is change. With every technological advancement comes a new wrinkle in the world of dating. Be aware of the changes, but don’t dive into something if it doesn’t feel natural to you. There are plenty of ways to meet your match and you being confident is key.
- If you date within your age bracket, there’s less cultural confusion over dating styles. Those who prefer to date twenty years their junior (or senior) won’t openly admit the “lost in translation” moments they often feel, but there’s definitely a disconnect. The dating styles of each generation vary wildly. For example, Gen X’ers came of age pre-Google and smartphones while Millennials define the digital age having created unique methods of communication and virtual identities. And baby boomers are just learning how and where to swipe right.
- Authenticity will never go out of style. If you always show up as your best self and celebrate what makes you unique, then you’ll quickly find out who’s into you and who’s not. Sending out your “dating representative” is a waste of time for both parties. There’s only one of you, and you are marvelous!
- Nobody wins dating games - the hot/cold routine, the silent treatment, jealousy, the blame game. These patterns emerge out of insecurity and the need for control. Stretching the truth, avoiding the truth, half-truths, and white lies create a tangled web of details that are confusing and too difficult to navigate. The facts have a way of eventually revealing themselves, so you’re better off with good, old-fashioned honesty. That doesn’t mean you need to over-share but know that real power and control comes from your ability to share and connect honestly.
- Both sexes love a challenge. The dance of seduction plays an essential role in courting. Flirtation and playful cat and mouse games are crucial for sparking interest and intrigue. Someone who is always available and always says ‘yes’ is far less attractive than their counterpart. Providing “a challenge” is very different than the games listed in #4 so dive in and have fun with well-intentioned games of seduction.
- Finding romance requires vulnerability. Be brave enough to lean in and communicate what you want. Trust and honesty put you on the trajectory to romance, whether it’s committed, fleeting or a one-night-stand. When both parties are on the same page, anything is possible.