I am no relationship expert. Shocking? Not to anyone that knows me. That being said, I am a single woman with single friends and I believe there are some universal rules to dating that we can all benefit from. I am not saying that by following these rules you will meet the man/woman of your dreams. I am just trying to save us all our dignity and keep us out of a psychopath’s freezer.
Rule #1: Treat potential dates as if they are a serial killer.
If you have ever seen Dateline, CSI, Law and Order, or your local evening news you are plenty aware that there are tons of loons out there and they all seem TOTALLY NORMAL! It is important to not be swept away in the first date, butterfly infested belly, romance of it all. Keep a level head, my friend. It starts with a simple compliment and next thing you know you are eating jello poisoned with antifreeze. Meet in public, don’t give away all of your personal information, and be aware of your gut feeling. Remember, no matter how awkward a date is, if you arrive home alive you were at least marginally successful. Utilize all basic survival skills.
Rule #2: Don’t name the puppy
I see this happen all of the time. It is a common mistake made by many. Girl meets boy and about two and a half minutes later she is telling everyone she knows about “Mike” and what a great guy “Mike” is and how her and “Mike” are going to the Pocconos for Easter. DON’T BE THAT GIRL! Here is a little secret from the book of Self Preservation: give “Mike” a doppleganger to create some emotional distance. The minute you start talking about someone like you know them, you start feeling attached. Pick a feature that resembles a celebrity and call him by his new name. In addition to giving yourself some space, telling the story of your weekend at work becomes exponentially more interesting. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked if I REALLY hung out with Fraiser and John Stamos in Newport. Honestly, leave them guessing. Mystery is the spice of life.
Rule #3: A man who is 5’9 on the internet is 5’5 everywhere else in the world
Women consistently lie about their weight. Men consistently lie about their height. I don’t know what it is about internet dating but that is where both parties do their best work. I have more male clients tell me horror stories about going to meet a girl that they met online only to find that their date looked practically nothing like their profile would indicate. On one (of two tragic dates with different people) excursion I went on, the dude showed up much, much shorter than he said he was. Moral of the story? Rock your stilettos, ladies. If they have fibbed about their height it will show and you will have no problem skipping out early “because you have to work tomorrow”. Guys, I honestly don’t know how to help you through this one… I can only offer my apologies.
Rule #4: “White Fang” when necessary
You are a smart single. You know what you want and you have standards. So what happens when you are seeing someone and things feel clumsy? What happens when your desires aren’t being met and you can’t quite put your finger on it? Let your loved one go, let them be free. Here is a secret: it really should be easy. If after a fair amount of time you find yourself with more questions than answers, it probably isn’t working out and it SHOULDN’T. You are who you are, your “other” is who she or he is and will always be, stop trying to fit a square peg through a circle hole. It does not mean you don’t care, it means you care enough about that other person to allow them to find happiness and more importantly, it means that you love yourself enough to allow room in your life for that person that will fit perfectly.
Rule #5: If you aren’t confident be enthusiastic
This applies to all arenas in life but especially in dating. Who wants to date a soggy mop? No one. So when your date asks if you would be interested in an activity that you have never tried before (and you have already gotten the sense that he/she is not a serial killer) GO WITH IT! Stop being so afraid of looking silly, step outside of your comfort zone and get ready for one of two things to happen: a great experience or a great story. Life is for living, my friends. Soak it in and make great things happen.
Five rules. That is all I have for you. The rest of it I would encourage you to make up as you go along. Have fun, try not to get killed, and make good choices!