It has come to my attention that the rules of dating have changed dramatically since I started dating, even in the past few months I have noticed this and to be honest, I am finding it hard to keep up. How does one survive in the dating world in London as a single woman?
The combination of the ever increasing dating apps offering us a date every day of the week, social media sites where we expose our relationships for the entire world to see and the lack of actually meeting people in a genuine and traditional way makes it a ruthless and often disappointing experience. And, when we have those dates, is our etiquette correct to keep the guy interested? So I had a good think about what I think are now the modern rules of dating...
1. Keep all irons in the fire
It is easy to get excited when offered a date or you are communicating with someone you really connect with either online or in meeting. But it is crucial to keep options open, remember most people are dating more than one person and keeping options open. This doesn’t have to be concealed from your date, it is much better to be genuine and let them know that you are dating and people will respond to this honesty. This means you put less pressure on the dates you do have and have lowered your expectations. As long as you are careful and don’t hurt people’s feelings, this means you are more relaxed and it will come across when you are on your dates.
2. Keep communication simple
This is crucial. With watts app, text, social media and the dating apps there are so many ways to communicate with someone and often this can lead to confusion and mixed messages. Don’t even get me started on the emojis! A winky face in the wrong place has kept me up at night...Initially good old texting is fine. It also means you aren’t watching the blue ticks on whats app, knowing they have read the message but haven’t replied yet. Keep messages direct but flirty and until you meet them, short and sweet. Following this, a phone call is always the best way to communicate. From the tone of their voice you can tell how they are feeling and it gives a good indication of whether you think they would like to see you again. Recently I had been messaging a guy on Happn who offered to call me for a chat, despite the fact we hadn’t met yet. I appreciated his confidence but the phone call was rather awkward, it felt more like an interview. So perhaps keep the talking until when you meet!
3. Be yourself
I know this may sound obvious but I think it is so important to be yourself on a date. There is no point pretending to be someone who loves climbing mountains and jumping out of planes if you would much rather watch a movie at home and cook dinner together. I have got myself tangled on dates where I have exaggerated things I do to try and impress my date, mainly through nerves but also to try and be more interesting than I feel I am. Sadly it does come back to haunt you and the guy will run a mile. Just be yourself and if the person you are dating wants to see you again, you know it is because they like you for you, not the person you have made yourself out to be.It is refreshing to meet someone who comes across as genuine and not afraid to be themselves, especially with modern dating where apps ask for our hobbies and interests and many people have extensive lists! Also remember that you may be Googled so information about us is more public than ever.
4. Be prepared to pay
It is no longer acceptable to expect a man to pay for everything on dates. I am very traditional and like a gentleman who takes me out and holds doors open for me, but as a modern working woman in London I am also realistic (and independent!) and am happy to split bills. I have been on dates where the guy has expected me to pay the whole bill. Last week I was taken out to a very nice restaurant where my date insisted on ordering lovely wines and more food which I didn’t want (or eat for that matter!) and when the bill came he said we were splitting it. To me, that is just bad manners. At the beginning of the date I am now clear with my date that we are splitting it so there is no miscommunication. It also shows you are not just there for a free dinner but genuinely interested in them and the date. Perhaps later in the evening if he offers to get drinks you let him, but play it by ear. If he is a real man he will respect your willingness to stand on your own two feet. Sometimes though it is good to be treated and a gentleman will enjoy doing this.
5. Don’t forget traditions
For me this is the most important rule of all and one which is disappearing more than ever. Good manners and charm will get you everywhere in life, especially with modern technology taking over our lives. Thanking someone for a lovely evening the following day is a lovely gesture, as is (in time) a handwritten note if they have cooked you dinner or taken you somewhere special as a treat. Turning up on time, or being early are indications of respect for the other person and show from the start that you are taking dating seriously and you are being professional about it. At the same time, if you don’t get these actions back from your date then sadly they are not interested in you and it is time to move on. I have been kept waiting before for half an hour and received no apology when he arrived. After a glass of wine I made my way home as clearly we weren’t on the same page.
So despite the dating apps, the social media and the celebrity weddings and relationships we are constantly confronted with, traditional dating and good manners seem to me to be lacking so much now that when we meet someone who does them we are taken aback. Ladies, if you come across a man that picks up the phone just to chat to you, takes you for dinner and pays because he wants to treat you and isn’t intimidated by an independent woman and messages you the next day to say what a pleasure it was to meet you, hold on to him, he’s a keeper.