Are you guilty of listening to this bad dating advice?
There is so much bad dating advice—from dating sites, books, magazines, well-meaning friends—it’s hard to know what works anymore. Here’s some of the worst dating advice that I’ve found, and some of what works too.
“Use a good pick-up line.”
Firstly, DON’T use cheesy pick up lines. Never follow any advice from professional pick-up artists (what’s their success rate?), their lines are unoriginal and disingenuous. Stuff like: “Was your mother a beaver? ‘Cause damn!” and “It’s handy that I have my library card because I’m totally checking you out.”
There’s also: “Do you have a Band-Aid? ‘Cause I scraped my knee falling for you.” And this gem: “Can you touch my hand? I want to tell my friends I’ve been touched by an angel.” These lines rarely work and, in fact, have the opposite effect. Be yourself, don’t use a cheesy pick-up line.
“You shouldn’t have to settle.”
This is an old adage that sets unrealistic expectations. Everyone has to settle at times in their lives—for jobs, housing, wrinkles, and yes, partners. Whatever ideal you have in mind is probably impractical and unattainable. The perfect man or woman doesn’t exist.
When you decide that you shouldn’t have to settle, you’ll avoid problems when they arise and possibly just ditch the whole relationship to start looking elsewhere. When you bail without a good reason, you actually miss out on more than if you’d stayed and tried to work through it.
“If it feels right, you should just go for it.”
On the other hand, don’t rush into any relationship. “If it feels right, do it” has a bad track record. Take time to get to know someone before you decide to enter something serious.
Remember that there’s a honeymoon period where neurochemistry blinds your intuition and clouds your thinking. If you want to reality check your feelings, ask your beau to meet you family and friends so they can do some serious vetting for you.
“Play hard to get. Treat ’em mean to keep ’em keen.”
This is another tired old phrase. NEVER follow “rules of dating” books, they’re not written to help you find your soul mate, but to keep on dating forever. Waiting 3 days before you call or text after meeting someone, not accepting a date for Saturday after Wednesday—these head games just waste time. While being overly eager (calling first thing the next morning after meeting someone the night before) can be off-putting, playing hard to get is an unattractive ego-bolstering tactic that will ultimately backfire (when someone does it to you). Don’t play hard to get, don’t ghost, just be genuine.
“It will happen when the time is right. You’ll meet someone when you least expect it.”
This is a nice idea, but in practice it falls apart. You can wait your life to meet someone, and suffer the whole time.
Don’t be passive in the dating world, make an effort, whether online or in the real world. Get out in life, go to events in your neighbourhood and community meet-ups, or set up an online profile with a reputable site. Or both—then you might meet someone unexpected, instead of your dream partner an unexpected time.
“Don’t let your date pay for you.”
There’s always some awkwardness over who pays, especially on the first date. But in our modern times, no one is obliged pay. Allow for some chivalry—if your date wants to pay, let them. If they want to pull out your chair for you, allow this to happen too. Getting to know someone new can be like dancing—sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow. And mix it up—if they paid for the first date, next time you pay. Giving and receiving makes for fun times.
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.