Trying to make dating rules can feel a bit like a game of pin the tail on the donkey. But you’re playing on a frozen lake…. on roller skates. Needless to say, it is a challenge to find what you are looking for without biting it. These four “tough-but-smart” rules are a step towards sorting out the free-for-all. They may not guarantee you’ll have it all figured out by date three, but they will help you find that balance of keeping your feet on the ground while leaving room for sparks.
Rule 1: Fear is the Enemy
Fear is the enemy of connection, and it is sneaky! We let our unconscious fear-driven behaviors sabotage dating without even realizing what’s happening. It could be fear of rejection, disappointment, being tied down or a cocktail of several, but the result is always the same. We run, hide and cheat ourselves out of connection.
We let our unconscious fear-driven behaviors sabotage dating without even realizing what’s happening.
So, next time you feel like fake emergency texting yourself before the apps are on the table, do a little digging. Facing fear is how we grow and you owe it to yourself and your future relationship to be really honest with yourself. Ask yourself what’s triggering your anxiety and practice some self-talk. Look in the mirror and say, “You are doing so well! Well done leaning into this! I’m proud of you! You look great!” Then give yourself a thumbs up, a cheeky wink and say “you’re welcome” to everyone else who’s been watching you act weird in the bathroom.
Rule 2: Flee the Vortex of Self
For anyone who’s genuinely searching for connection, dating is a vulnerable process. Any time we are showing who we are, insecurity loves to sneak in and take us to a zone called “The Vortex of Self.” Suddenly you are not even listening to your date, your mind is filled with pressing questions like “Is there arugula in my teeth? Since when does my laugh sound like that? Do they think I’m attractive? Does anyone think I’m attractive? No one thinks I’m attractive!”
Any time we are showing who we are, insecurity loves to sneak in and take us to a zone called ‘The Vortex of Self.’
This self-reflection is a vortex trying to suck you in, and you must flee! Flee from the vortex! The problem is the vortex is inside of you, so the only thing you can do to escape it is to turn your attention outward. Focus on the human being across from you and make your goal getting to know your date rather than analyzing your weird laugh.
Rule 3: No Time Traveling or Teleporting
Have you ever time traveled on dates? Or maybe teleported? I have done both. Let’s say your date is just ticking all the right boxes, and bam! You are no longer on date three sipping mojitos, you have jumped into your mental Delorean and fast-forwarded to your relationship three months from now! Or maybe your date is more “Michael Scott” than “Michael B. Jordan,” and zoom! You have taken a mental quantum to your couch and the next episode of The West Wing.
This is highly unhelpful. Stay in there moment and give your date a chance to grow out of your idea of them. Stay present and curious, let them develop and show you who they are.
Rule 4: Never Lose Hope
You were so excited at first, but now several dates in and it’s clear you’re on a road to nowhere. Again. A familiar disappointment begins to ring like the bells of Notre Dame in your chest. This is the moment you must employ rule four, never lose hope.
If we are going to fight for anything in life, what could be more worth the sacrifice than meaningful relationships? Self-protection tells us to give up, but it is a liar and thief. Do not let it steal from you. Make hope your default.