Just like takeout menus, underwear, and business cards, there comes a time when we need to sift through the dating advice we’ve gathered through the years and discard the pointers that do us no favors. Here are five dating tips that I think it’s time to toss—or at least seriously rethink.
01. ‘Play hard to get.’
This choice piece of advice has persisted as the favorite throughout the ages, but where has this gotten us? One date with a guy who is in it for the thrill of the chase, maybe two or three if you play it right. It’s high time we write this one off as a bust. A man who is genuinely interested in you and wants to pursue you won’t be encouraged by your disinterest; more likely than not, it will discourage him. If you’re interested, try smiling and laughing at his jokes (the funny ones, at least) instead.
02. ‘Send the message: Men are waiting in line to date me.’
Sending yourself flowers is a party trick for your benefit, not his. Besides, a guy whose attention is grabbed by what is called “flocking” makes for an easily distracted admirer. Instead, let your confidence and genuine quirks speak for themselves; the right guy is bound to take notice.
03. ‘Don’t be too available.’
This rule is the holy grail of dating rules—and one that we could also just as well do without. Whether you’re waiting a day to respond to emails, three days to follow up on a date, or returning phone calls when you “only have two minutes to talk but wanted to squeeze you in,” we all pull this card at one point or another. Why throw it out? Because there is nothing complimentary or encouraging about being too busy for someone—especially if he’s a guy gutsy enough to ask you out. If he is interested, and you are interested, make time for him without making him feel like a dentist appointment on your lunch break.
04. ‘Be a tease.’
Flirting and teasing are two very different things; flirting is encouraging, and teasing is manipulative. Popular dating advice says that teasing is sexy and will grab a man’s attention, but in practice, it actually confuses him and sends him unhelpful signals. Instead of sending a man a message he has to decode (usually ending in error), try being straightforward—most guys find that refreshing.
05. ‘Go online.’
This piece of advice is the magic bullet that recently replaced the wisdom of “get out there.” But in the same way we realized that there was a bit more to it then stepping out our door and simply loitering around with other people, so too with signing up to an online dating service. The truth is, online dating is helpful for some people and not so much for others. What’s more, online dating requires strategy, trial and error, and only a very little bit of magic. So sure, get out there and go online. But most importantly, be proactive.
Photo Credit: Nima Salimi