I use the word ‘guidelines’ for a reason. People often talk about dating ‘rules’ as if there is one set of standards that should govern every interaction with every couple who has began to get to know each other. Obviously, with endless combinations of personalities and circumstances, there are no realistic rules that can be applied to every situation across the board.
However, there can be suggested guidelines, or reference points to think about when it comes to making the best of your dating and relationships.
As society has evolved, so have the acceptable dating norms. Here are some suggestions for how we can effectively navigate today’s dating scene.
When people show you who they are, believe them.
An old famous quote, yes – but this statement doubles as an important guideline to keep in mind when getting to know someone new. Often times we get excited about the prospect of somebody that was interested in us, even to the point where we begin to overlook red flags or see them for who we want them to be, rather than who they really are. If you are getting the feeling that someone isn’t interested, might have tendencies that don’t fit with your personality, or seem to put in much less effort than you – take it at face value and move on.
Take responsibility for your own past.
Do you ever notice that everyone seems to have an ex girlfriend or boyfriend who was ‘crazy’ or ‘a jerk’? Somehow, nobody is ever at fault for previous issues in relationships or breakups. If everyone is innocent, then where are these problems possibly coming from?
The only way that we can grow as individuals and bring greater happiness to our next relationship and partner, is to recognize our own shortcomings, be honest with ourselves, and work on them. Obviously, sometimes it is the other person’s fault, and sometimes relationships just end because two people don’t fit well with each other. But being honest about the reasons is the first step to not repeating our past.
Don’t lead people on.
I have repeatedly heard complaints from people [usually women] about how they are getting a great vibe from someone they are seeing [usually men] and after a date, or two, or three – there is complete silence. The solution is simple: Be up front and honest about what you want from the beginning and much heartache will be avoided.
Appreciate what lies beneath the surface.
In our fast paced, image focused, quasi-materialistic society, our attention typically finds itself on someone’s outward appearance. While of course physical attraction is of great importance when it comes to building a relationship, it is not what is going to hold two people together over an extended period of time.
In the long run, there are many different things more important than beauty, but we will have no chance at building strong relationships if we don’t realize that.
Stop trying to change yourself to be with someone.
We all know that social media page(s) serve as the highlight reel of our lives. People are more concerned with how they are going to be perceived by people they’ve never met, than they are about the actual life that is passing them by while they are distracted by nothingness. We are so often trying to be who we think someone else wants us to be, that we forget who we actually are.
Stay strong, stay positive, and most of all – stay true to yourself. There will be someone who comes into your life and appreciates you for you.
Act on what you want to do rather than what you think you ‘should do.’
You are a mature [hopefully] freethinking adult who is capable of rational thought processes. If you feel a mutually strong connection with someone and want to act on it physically, then do it. Don’t worry about how many dates you are ‘supposed to’ wait or what someone else might think. If you want to call or text someone the day after a date instead of waiting for the stupid 3 days to pass, then do it. Eventually we all realize that life is far too short to play games. Do what makes you happy.
Let numbers remain numbers.
People say things like ’30 is the new 40′ and whatever else they need to feel in order to move up the imaginary timeline of life. If you are not married by 25, 30, or 35, it really doesn’t matter and there is no reason to feel guilty about it. What will actually make you feel worse is if you rush into things before you are ready because you think you are trying to beat a deadline for life’s accomplishments.
Go at your own pace, you will find much more happiness and fulfillment that way.
Give respect in order to get it.
With viral social activism rampant these days shining light on issues such as street harassment and cat calling, much bigger conversations are stemming from them. Conversations regarding how women don’t feel safe walking down the street alone, or how they need to bring men to bars with them or use the fake excuse that they have a boyfriend in order to get a guy to leave them alone [because a simple ‘no’ is not enough when it should be].
The real light shone here, though, is how people disrespect each other and then get aggravated when they don’t get what they want. Human beings really aren’t that bad – if you treat them with respect and kindness, the vast majority of them will give you the same in return. And if they don’t, why would you want someone like that in your life anyway?
If you don’t want to get caught, don’t do anything to get caught for.
In the age of social media, there is a lot that becomes public which wouldn’t have been even just a short 10 or 15 years ago. For this reason, operate under the assumption that whatever you do or say online could possibly come back to bite you. This isn’t a scare tactic, it is simply the reality that your inappropriate comments on photos or forward messages to someone else while you are in a relationship are immortal on the interwebs and could easily telegraph your infidelity.
Communicate openly and value each other over the peanut gallery.
These days, people always seem to have negative things to say about each other – especially those who seem happy. Rumors start and spread faster than ever because of social media and gossip seems to be the flavor of choice for much of today’s generation. Open and honest communication inside of a relationship will act as a soundproof room to all of the outside noises the world can throw at us.
Do not make assumptions, do not snoop around, do not believe unsubstantiated claims – there are only two people involved in your relationship, and those are the two who matter most.
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