1. From the very first date, be honest about what it is that you’re looking for, be it a one-night stand, a fling, or a long-term relationship. It’s not uncommon to lie about what we want in fear of scaring someone away, and that what we want simply does not exist. It’s understandably a rational fear, but there is no worse a feeling than waking up next to someone and knowing that you’re not on the same page. It is being unkind and unfair to the person you are dating, and yourself.
2. Wait some time before you start following your date on social media platforms — allow for a connection, chemistry, a mutual understanding of each other on a personal and real level before you take it to the internet. Following someone on social media after a first and potentially last date puts this person in an awkward position, but worse yet, following someone after a good first date and then having to unfollow them after a disastrous second date is impossibly infantile, and you’re taking the internet far too seriously.
3. DO NOT GOOGLE YOUR DATE BEFORE, AFTER OR DURING THE FIRST DATE. DON’T DO IT. DON’T. If you want to know something about your date, ask. We date in order to make a physical and/or mental connection with another person; we want to share our lives and our stories from our own person, at our own pace. In this age of internet overshare, too much of us can be found online, but it is only a certain part of us, a representation of our best or worst selves. In dating, we want to escape this virtual reality and all preconceptions — we just want to be ourselves. Don’t Google your date. It’s invasive and just a tad creepy. Yes, it would be nice to know that you and your date share a deep love for Sonic Youth, but it’s okay; time is on your side.
4. Tell your date what you mean, not what you think they want you to mean. Don’t try to be anyone other than yourself — that’s not why you’re on this date.
5. Have fun. Don’t do the endless routine of dinner and drinks. Try new and fun things. It’s a great way to find out more about the person you’re dating.
6. There are a lot of firsts when it comes to dating. Meeting a relative stranger extracts us out of our comfort zones. Here there is no neutral territory, and so it’s best to be our most comfortable selves. Wear comfortable clothing, shoes. This isn’t the time to try a new hairstyle or a new hat that could make you feel self-conscious and unsure ofyourself. Do and wear what makes you feel most confident and in-your-skin.
7. Ignore and unlearn all the dating protocols you know. If Cosmo is telling you “hi” is the new “hey” and that you should not use periods or capitalize when texting so as to exude an unaffected air, or if Esquire is advising you to respond to texts once every three weeks, unlearn it all. If there were any truth or significance to any of this, everyone would be happily coupled up. The only protocol is to do what you want to do.
8. And remember: you are in control of your own dating life.