The dating rules of today have changed drastically from dating in the early 1980s and 1990s. Let’s dive in with the do’s and don’ts of dating and how to start a successful connection before moving on to some conversation starters.
Here is your set of rules to go by on your first date:
FIRST DATE DON’TS
- DON’T arrive late, it shows you’re not responsible.
- DON’T constantly check your appearance. You never want them to think you’re stuck on appearances.
- DON’T come on too strong, it can be a major turn-off.
- DON’T be rude to the staff at restaurants under any circumstances. This is a big red flag that will say Code Red to a second date.
- DON’T swear too much. Act like you are around their friends or family and keep it clean.
- DON’T constantly check your cell phone. Never make your date feel he/she is not important.
- DON’T talk about your ex, no matter what!
- DON’T refuse to pay your way. Throw the old way of dating out the window and pay your way! Don’t freak out about who pays.
- DON’T shake hands at the end of the date, you didn’t just conclude a business deal.
- DON’T date multiple people at once, they always find out eventually.
FIRST DATE DO’S
- DO plan a detailed meeting spot and try to have the first date during the daytime if possible.
- DO keep dates short.
- DO be upfront about wanting a relationship.
- DO make eye contact!
- DO ask if they are currently married, engaged, or seriously dating anyone.
- DO ask if they have children.
- DO ask them to tell you a fun fact about themselves to break the ice.
- DO ask them if they are comfortable with a hug before just grabbing them.
- DO send a thank-you text after the date is over.
- DO give them 7 days to reach out again after the first date.
- DO wait for at least a few dates to have sex, kissing on the first date is acceptable.
Using Dating Apps
I want to touch basis concerning online dating things you should be aware of. The world moves extremely fast and so do dating apps. If you wait too long to set up a date on Tinder, you might find yourself with a long-term “pen pal," and never the first date. After a handful of messages, if the time seems right, feel free to set up a date. Don’t worry about moving too fast. Let your first message reflect your personality, so totally be yourself. A psychic may even be able to help provide guidance when it comes to using dating apps, so don't hesitate to reach out for a reading.
Text Messages 101
When it comes to texting a potential new romantic partner, they should be authentic and organic and never forced. Don’t be afraid to send a text, but the key is only sending a few texts in the beginning stages of dating. Also, it’s probably good to have a least one phone call before starting a texting relationship. And always remember don’t text after 11 PM, or whatever time you feel is too late based on your schedules. Unexpected late-night texts usually signal bad news, so you don’t want to get off on the wrong foot, that’s a big No-No.
Let’s practice what we’ve learned so far when it comes to text messaging.
Take this scenario, you just met a handsome guy (or a cute girl), and you got their number. But now what do you do? You don’t want to seem as if you are too easy or worse, a stalker. It’s probably best to leave it a few days, right?
It looks worse if you leave it a few days before texting. Leaving it looks deliberate and makes the person feel like you’re not interested. Texting right away keeps the excitement going and fresh and addresses those butterflies in your stomach. Make sure to keep the first text message short and sweet.
Now that you sent the first text and things are moving along, you still don’t know whether to be a little cautious or not. I mean, you don’t want to appear too keen. After all, guys and girls can sense desperation 10-miles away. And girls have been warned about red flags with men that are controlling right? Can you imagine how silly it would look if two people were having a conversation and each person didn’t respond for an hour? That’s simply not how human beings communicate with each other.
Texting is a Two-Way Street
When it comes to proper communication, it’s quite simple. One person speaks then the other one responds. So, if you have something to say just say it. The number one rule is Don’t Text Just “Hi.” It honestly comes off weird. If you want someone to feel special, important, or valued, actually ask them something, tell them something funny, share a fact you know they’ll find interesting, arrange another date, let them know about a movie you saw that was amazing, or anything other than just “Hi” and it would be very easy to get a response back. Texting is an invitation to connect - a short form of a conversation starter. Always text open-ended questions and give the person something exciting to expect from each one of your texts.
At the start of dating someone new, it can be very hard to know how many texts to send. When you are dating, a general rule of thumb is to reply once to every message you receive. Never send 10 messages to their 1, ever! If you forgot to say something, save it for your next reply. Otherwise, too many texts in a row will cause the person to be turned off and not respond or feel they are exhausted from reading a book you have texted.
Remember some people do not like to do long texting. So ideally, never send a text that has more than about 50 words in it. Say what you need to but be succinct at the same time. Be mindful of that in the beginning stage until you learn their texting style.
If you are ever in doubt about sending a text message, think about the rules of a conversation in real life. You wouldn’t want to dominate the conversation. You would let the other person answer you and then you would take your turn. The same applies to text message etiquette.
It doesn’t matter who starts the conversation, just keep a good flow going back and forth. Follow these guidelines above and you will see great success.
Dating Conversation Starters
So, you’re past the texting and on an actual in-person date. Now what? It’s time to get the conversation really started. This is a big deal that can make or break a connection. For starters, you never want to go dead silent and make things uncomfortable, it makes the other person feel they are boring, or you have zero interest in them. Some people are very sensitive to this.
My recommendation is to start out with something interesting you saw on a non-controversial TV show like Animal Planet, Game Show Network, or HGTV (why did they choose THAT house?) Or try talking about a local art fair or something fun that’s going on in the community. You can also speak about your education including where you went to high school or college. Or perhaps speak about your favorite books to read, other hobbies you are passionate about, or even local charities you are interested in.
However, stay far away from politics, religion, and money. Never, ever speak of those things on a first date. And never go dead silent on a date. There are plenty of things you can find to talk about to avoid those 3 topics above, even if you have to start discussing a painting on the wall of the restaurant!
Here are some questions that can work as conversation starters:
- What was the highlight of your week so far?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- Tell me about your family.
- What's the most interesting job you've ever had?
- What's on your bucket list?
- What situations feel most socially awkward to you?
- What's your biggest fear?
- What are you most grateful for?
- What's the next new thing you want to try?
- In what kinds of situations do you feel most like yourself?
If you do a Google search for Conversation Starters you'll find lots of lists of questions that work well for getting to know someone on a first date. There are also games of clever conversation starters that come as bowed sets of little cards you can take turns pulling and answering. It's a little quirky but allows the card to phrase a question you might feel less comfortable posing yourself and can create some levity.
Always Be Authentic
If you apply all these tips and ways to communicate on your first date or at the beginning of serious dating, you will never go wrong. The key to successful conversation starters is to be your natural self. Never pretend to be someone you are not. It’s too hard to keep it going in the long run. As you grow in the relationship, the conversations will become deeper, and more trust will be built.
You start to have closer feelings with a person who is being just themselves and because of that authentic connection, you can continue to move forward, and possibly find out the person is a potential soulmate.
Dating Red Flags
Remember to keep it safe while dating, never rush, and always look for flags! Dating green flags are good, which means you should go for it. But red flags... they are bad news. If you suspect any sign of red flags, never second guess yourself and remove yourself to safety. Don’t think the person will outgrow a red flag, they are who they are on the first 2-3 dates. You will see their true personality pretty quickly. Their current relationship status is also important, just because they are on a date with you, doesn’t mean they are truly single either.
All of the below are major Dating Red Flags that the person could be married or in a serious relationship.
Dating Red Flags to Look For:
- If they refuse to tell you where they live, that’s a red flag.
- If they only call or text you from the car or a bathroom, that’s a red flag. Be vigilant and listen for bathroom echoes or road noise. There’s a reason they have to be in these isolated places when they call you.
- Speaking of the car, if they can only call you while driving to work or extremely late at night, that’s a red flag.
- Beware of a lot of 3-minute or less phone calls. Or even a short, good night or good morning text with no other words. If it seems like they are hiding something, they probably are, so that’s a red flag.
- If the only pictures they send you are selfies outside or in the car, or worse, they refuse to do a video call from their home, that’s a major red flag to keep in mind.
- And finally, if they just come out and tell you they are currently married (but unhappy and looking to end it), that’s a huge red flag, and best to avoid anyone until the divorce is final.
There is probably so much more to cover, but for now this seems like a good place to set you free. Follow the above advice on things to do and not to do on a first date, some texting etiquette, conversation starters, and red flags to look out for and you’ve got this! You may even want to consider a love tarot reading to further expand on your dating prospects. Explore, have fun, be safe, and happy dating!