Since I do not believe that there is a place for hard and fast rules in dating and, specifically, in love…here are some guidelines. These are suggestions, and are not meant to be an exhaustive or comprehensive list.
Unlike an earlier post “How to be More Successful in Dating” (http://sittinginatree.com/how-to-be-more-successful-in-dating/), this post is more of a “beginner’s guide to dating”…for those who are just getting started…for the first time, or for the first time in a long time.
Guideline # 1: Don’t have too many/any dating rules
The more open you are, or – put another way…the less rigid you are, the more you avail yourself to possibilities, opportunities, surprises, and even perhaps…miracles.
In my mind, “rules” and “boundaries” are different. An example of a rule might be: A man must phone me before Wednesday in order for me to accept a date for Saturday night (borrowed from the popular dating guide from the 90s – aptly entitled “The Rules”). An example of a boundary might be: I will not tolerate any rude behaviour from any date under any circumstances.
Guideline # 2: Revisit your definition of the word “date” and consider modifying it
If you’re willing to relax your idea of what constitutes a date to include virtually any interaction you might have with the opposite sex (or same sex if you are gay, or open to practicing your interpersonal and flirting skills with anyone), you increase the number of opportunities you have to connect with someone else and decrease the disproportionate amount of pressure most of us put on each individual date (in the traditional sense).
Being open to conversation, non-verbal exchanges, flirting and the unexpected – wherever you are, and whoever you’re with – is a way to “date” more often and to have it be a much more fulfilling endeavour. Try it! What do you have to lose?
Guideline # 3: Be sure you are happy with you
I mentioned in my “To Pay Or Not To Pay” blog (http://sittinginatree.com/to-pay-or-not-to-pay/) that it’s important to Know Thyself. While that self-awareness is instrumental in dating, and more broadly, in “life”, it should extend to loving yourself too (in other words – you can know yourself really well and still not love yourself – we want you to have both). It is very difficult to be successful in dating and to attract the right partner for you when you don’t feel good about your offering. It’s like a salesperson trying to sell a product they don’t really believe in.
Guideline # 4: Make Sure Your Decisions Support Your Goals
If you’re looking for a committed, monogamous relationship then do not agree to a casual relationship with anyone, hoping it’ll turn into something else or thinking that it’ll help pass the time until Mr. /Ms. Right comes along. If you only want a no-strings-attached arrangement, don’t try to be in a relationship because that’s what someone else wants. In other words – accept that being alone is far better than being in an arrangement that doesn’t fulfill your needs. In order to do that, you have to know what you need. I posted on one of my FB pages recently (https://www.facebook.com/OriginalThoughtsByStacieIkka):
If you don’t know what you need, you can’t ask for it. If you can’t ask for it, then you’re probably not going to get it.
Guideline # 5: Have fun!
While dating – for many – is a means to an end, it is much more enjoyable when it’s viewed as a journey unto itself. An adventure, full of spontaneity, surprises and fulfillment. When you see it as a chore, it’ll inevitably feel like one.
If you are genuinely having fun with your dating, you will automatically attract more options into your life. “Fun” is sexy, attractive, alluring and self-fulfilling.