The NO-RULES rules of dating


Author: Melanie Schilling 

Psychologist & Dating Coach

You’ve had your first date … so now what??

Do you follow up with a call?  A text?  An email?  A Tweet?  Or should you wait for them to initiate?  How long should you wait … 3 hours?  2 days?  What if they never get in touch with you?

The hours and days following your first date is often a confusing time and can be plagued by mixed messages and game playing. It’s important that you set the tone for clear, open and honest communication from the outset.

After your first couple of dates you will have a good intuition about whether you are interested in them or not, and whether sufficient chemistry exists between you.  You can support your intuition with some scientific (and fun) data gathering:

– Do you share similar values?

– Do they enjoy a complimentary lifestyle to you?

– Did you notice any of your Deal Breakers?

This is where follow-up is required to move things forward or to call it off.

A note on rules

Have you read the book The Rules? In my opinion, it’s all about playing hard to get and manipulating to get what you want.  It is a philosophy based on the primal needs of men and women, assuming all men need to constantly hunt. Whilst I agree with this premise to a point, we need to account for individual differences and a person’s capacity to make their own informed judgment.

In this 8 minute video, we see the American authors of The Rules critique the dating techniques of 2 British women. I think their comments are harsh, judgmental and undermining.

I got to wondering; where do Aussie Women and men fit into this equation?

VIDEO: Living by The Rules

The No-Rules rules

When working with my clients it’s is all about honest, authentic communication. Not counting the days until it’s ok to call or telling your date you’re unavailable when you’re actually free.  It’s about treating your date the way you would treat a friend – with respect and integrity.

Assertive communication is about being up-front about asking for your needs to be met. It’s about considering both your own needs and the needs of your date, it’s about balancing the emotional and intellectual content of the conversation. In my experience, assertive people are more likely to get what they want.

The benefits of being assertive in your post-date communication:

– Your needs, wants and feelings are more likely to be understood

– Nobody’s feelings are hurt intentionally

– Both parties are more likely to feel respected and heard

– The relationship is strengthened by the exchange

– You feel more in control of your own life

– You have a better chance of getting what you really want

You might be thinking “…but I if I ask for what I want I might come across as desperate!” Fair point. Many people fear being assertive in the early stages of relationships for this very reason. It’s normal.

There is a clear difference between assertive and desperate communication.


“I really, really like you and think you are totally hot.  I think we have a strong connection and can see the potential for a committed relationship to develop.  Please can we see each other again tonight so I can show you what a terrific girlfriend/boyfriend I would make?”

[Giving too much away, talking about the long term, initiating contact, selling the relationship]


Great to meet you last night, I really enjoyed our conversation. Good luck with your job interview/presentation/family dinner, let me know if you need someone to share a celebratory drink with afterwards

[Straight-forward, link to the previous conversation to demonstrate good listening, offering an opening but not overtly initiating the next contact]

Pretty clear difference.

So, next time you enter the post-date communication dilemma, remember these simple steps:

1. Check your values, lifestyle preferences and deal breakers – are you potentially a good fit?

2. If no, communicate this to them openly and honestly (not as easy as it sounds, but it gets easier with practice)

3. If yes, select the communication medium that is most appropriate for your interaction (i.e. phone, email, SMS) and either ask for what you want or communicate that the door is open for them to make the next move

4. Avoid game-playing, dishonesty and manipulation

As the great spiritual philosopher of the 1800’s, Charles Haddon Spurgeon said “Begin as you mean to go on…” and in today’s language, start communicating during the dating phase the way you would like to communicate during your relationship.

About The Author

Melanie Schilling, Psychologist & Dating Coach

Melanie Schilling has a presence as a psychologist in the Australian media and is known for her informative, yet fun and energetic approach. She is a regular contributor to morning television and a range of online and print publications.  Melanie is a registered psychologist and personal coach with over 15 years’ experience in both the corporate and therapeutic arenas.  She has worked as a business and personal coach across the Asia Pacific and Middle Eastern Regions. Experienced with global clients and internationally mobile professionals, Melanie has built her reputation as flexible and culturally sensitive coach.  As a counsellor, Melanie works with adults to build self-awareness and skills in the areas of anxiety, depression, self-esteem, relationships, life balance and a range of other personal and interpersonal issues.

Over the past 5 years, Melanie has chosen to specialise as a dating coach & became the first Australian to be accredited by the IDCA.  Her business, Dating Crusade, offers individual coaching, workshops, retreats and online coaching programs.

Melanie draws on her psychological expertise to assist her clients to make sustainable behaviour change. Some of her favourite methodologies include clinical hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychological profiling and role playing. She walks alongside her clients and assists them to achieve positive results through hands-on projects and structured accountability.

With her performance and media background, Melanie also brings a dynamic and engaging style to the coaching environment and ensures that her clients have a laugh while learning some fantastic life and dating skills.

On a personal note, Melanie met her fiancé through eHarmony (so, she practices what she preaches!)


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