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5 rules of dating debunked

by Eharmony Editorial Team - July 4, 2011

There are some rules of dating that seem to be repeated time and again by friends, loved ones and the media as being the way to run your life. We disagree - find out which rules we think need a good kicking to the kerb.

Do you follow dating rules or think that they’re outdated? We investigated 5 of the most popular dating rules to find out whether they’re worth keeping in mind or can be safely ignored 

Dating Rule 1 – Don’t make yourself too available

This is basic dating advice; even if your social life isn’t buzzing with activity, act as though it is. Tell him/her which night you will be free and you are only available on that night. If s/he asks what you are doing on the other nights, smile mysteriously and say that you have plans you can’t break.

It depends what you want from a relationship, but most people rate honesty pretty highly and this rule encourages people to be dishonest from the outset. Many people don’t have a buzzing social life, either because of family/work commitments or financial restraints. It’s OK and not something to be ashamed of. What’s more important is that you’re honest about how fast you want things to move forward. If you’re asked out on another date the question should be, do you want to go? It’s as simple as that. Don’t try to do the other person’s thinking for them or worry about what they will think of you if you say yes. You also don’t have to have a prior commitment in order to say no, you can just be washing your hair or need some time to yourself. In my experience it’s better to build a relationship on honesty and openness. It’s often a relief for the other person to know that you will say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no.

Dating Rule 2 – Don’t make him/her too important too quickly

This dating rule can be difficult to follow if you’re infatuated with someone, but it will pay off. Don’t watch the phone or constantly check your emails. When s/he does phone don’t talk for too long (you have other things to do, remember) and keep emails short and to the point.

There is an element of truth in this. It isn’t a good idea to make someone the centre of your world within a week of meeting them. To invest your emotional energy, time and hope as you start projecting into the happy future you are going to have together because you’re on the phone for hours can lead to disappointment. This is especially dangerous if you’re getting to know each other online first and haven’t met face to face yet. We can project all sorts of fantasies onto someone when we haven’t met them and they rarely fit our mental picture. My advice would be to meet up ASAP and until you do, don’t sit up all night telling each other your life stories, you may end up feeling vulnerable and exposed. Once you have met up and you feel a real connection then, as above, have boundaries. Look after yourself and the rest of your life but make time and space for your budding relationship otherwise it may fail to thrive.

Dating Rule 3 – Keep him/her guessing and wanting more

This dating advice will teach you the art of teasing. Don’t disclose too much about yourself too soon. Be mysterious and beguiling, people love to be intrigued – keep them wondering.

Yes, there is a thrill at the beginning of a relationship where you are trying to figure out if the other person is into you or not but it’s a huge relief when you realise that they are, especially if you feel the same way. Don’t play games. If you’re not interested don’t string someone along. This advice might be relevant for teenagers but it can cause anxiety and quick loss of interest in adults. There is also a difference between meeting someone in a social setting and getting to know someone online. The same cautions apply, don’t give out your home address or other personal information until you are sure they are genuine, that may be very quickly for some people but it is OK to be cautious and get to know someone first.

Dating Rule 4 – Don’t make it too easy

If you do, s/he will start to think you’re not someone special after all and s/he will disappear. Remember, people love to chase. This dating advice will teach you self-respect and s/he will respect you for it too.

There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that someone will lose interest in you because you seem keen, interested, engaging and responsive. Being someone special isn’t about being someone elusive, hard to pin down and cool. Self-respect comes first, from how we maintain our healthy boundaries and also from the respect we show to others. If you don’t seem interested they will quickly lose interest too.

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Dating Rule 5 – Use mixed messages to keep him/her curious

This dating rule will drive him/her crazy, especially if you let him/her know you are interested and you love his/her company.

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Don’t use mixed messages. Treat people as you would like to be treated so only give mixed messages if that is what you want to receive. Above all remember, you reap what you sow.