Seven Rules of Dating to Ensure a Long and Healthy Relationship

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Building Healthy & Lasting Relationships

Many of the traditional rules for dating are quite … outdated. Often they are irrelevant and offer little help to single hopefuls trying to find someone special amid the landscape of cell phones, Facebook and modern gender roles.

One thing that has remained is the desire to enjoy a perfect evening with a potential partner. A night that is equally romantic as it is fun. A few simple guidelines can help you get there.

1.)   Leave Social Media Out
It is not recommended to tweet about your date. You shouldn’t post to Facebook about it either. If you are not connected with your date on social media, no need to jump right in. Get to know the person first and his or her social media profiles later. Enjoying your date’s company for a night or two may provide a valid explanation for their sketchy profile picture.

2.)   Don’t Set Expectations
Expectations exist only to be broken. It may be hard, but you should refrain from setting expectations for your date. He might not kiss you, she might be allergic to seafood, you could crash into the parking stone—you never know. If you absolutely must have an end goal it should be to have fun, but don’t expect anything more.

3.)   Look Your Best
You should look your best when on a date. It does not matter if your plans are to hike, eat chicken wings or paint a house. If it is a date at the start of a relationship, you should be well groomed, smell nice and dress for the occasion.

4.)   Open and Close With a Compliment
During the initial greeting you are both inspecting each other and making assumptions about how the rest of the evening will go. This is when you should fire off a compliment. It makes the butterflies disappear and sets the tone for the rest of the date.

If all went well, you should compliment your date at the end of the date too. Opening and closing your date with a compliment lets the other person know that everything is going well. You can say, “I had a really nice time,” or “you are a great cook.” It doesn’t matter what you say, as long as it is flattering.

5.)   Choose Your Adjectives Wisely
Give some thought about the impression you want to make on your date. What is it that you want to reveal about yourself? Are you a hard worker? Perhaps you want to leave the impression that your life is all about your family. Whatever it is, think about it beforehand.

A date is not a job interview. You do not need to have predetermined answers ready to fire off (that would be weird anyway), but there is no harm in thinking through the kind of impression you want to leave.

6.)   Put Your Cell Phone Away
Unless you are looking up directions to the restaurant, your cell phone should go in your pocket or purse and stay there until the night is over. Your phone is a distraction. The point of a date is to get to know the other person. Your focus should be on each other, not on Facebook.

7.)   Follow Up
Assuming the night went well you should follow-up. You can do so playfully, if it’s appropriate, but a simple message like, “I had a great night, thank you for joining me [insert smiley face]” will get the point across.

Dating is hard because no one person is the same. What is right for you is not right for someone else. The best practice is to always be polite and respectful and follow your gut. The worst outcome is you wasted your time, but it is possible this is the last first date you will ever have to go on.

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