How to avoid the (most common) early dating mistakes

bad datesThree foundational notes: (1) Yes. We get that sometimes we all falter and we lose perspective and we are hurt and confused by a wo/man’s behaviour because we like them more than they like us and the below is difficult to action. As such, it is best to see the below as goals for the future; (2) This is not a dissertation on the subject of fe/male stuffs, but rather dating stuffs non gender specific. At end of day, it turns out that everyone, male and female, is an idiot in the early stages of dating; and, (3) Naturally, once people become exclusive and enter into a relationship reflecting the mutual decision to make one another the priority, all of what follows is softened and altered.

Mistake #1: Being invested too early
Why are you in such a rush? If something is meant to be, it simply will be. A slow hot burn filled with anticipation and absence often builds excitement. Investing emotionally too early means that you haven’t taken the time to get to know / learn about the individual before you. Investing too early usually amounts to falling in love with a projection of who you want this wo/man to be, and often has very little to do with who they  really are, setting the both of you up for failure.

Take a deep breath and relax. Take your time getting to know this new individual and don’t invest too much too soon. Someone becoming a priority is a spot to be earned and that takes both time and work, having to be mutual for it to be both healthy and carry some potential.

Mistake #2: Over communicating
If you are in the early stages of dating and you have a groove and suddenly s/he doesn’t contact you, LOVE OF GOD, relax and please don’t perceive it as being the end of the world.

A disappointment, yes, because it sucks when someone changes a fun rhythm.
Apocalyptic, no.

The official term in psychology is ‘catastrophizing’. Basically, don’t be a catastrophizer.

If you were the last to message, trust that they will contact you soon. If you really can’t wait, send one more message but no more. Note: This is not playing ‘hard to get’ which is a silly and pedestrian move, but rather demanding balance and respect in communication and setting the tone for both of these things early on. Message one to one, back and forth. If one person stops and the other keeps moving forward, imbalance is created and resentment breeds.

Mistake #3: Asking more than once
You message a question and they don’t respond – Do you want to hang out this weekend? What are you doing for New Year’s? Would you like to hang out Friday night?

What do you do? You do nothing, is what. Most definitely, you do not ask again. For me, personally, this has become a hard-line in romance. When you pose a question, the proper thing is to receive a response; when none is offered it’s just a flat out indication that someone is rude. (Manners are as underrated as good taste is dead.)

Also, this person whom you are seeing and getting to know is an adult. Adults shouldn’t need parenting or reminding. If you are important enough, they will remember. Trust.

Bottom line is, s/he’s either taking their time to figure things out, or they’re not going to answer. Unless this individual has given you reason to not trust them, then trust that they will get back to you. If they don’t within some time, then view it as an opportunity for you to figure out if you’re really as into them as you originally thought.

Flip side: If they say no, respect and accept their response with grace. Being angry about someone not wanting to spend time with you isn’t the way to appeal to the fe/male heart. Instead, be thankful that they were honest enough to say no (hopefully politely) and then turn your attentions elsewhere to find the individual who is as excited to spend time with you as you are with them.

Mistake #4: Making excuses for them
You are dating an adult, not an infant toddler. Do yourself a favour and don’t make excuses for their poor behaviour, if any is displayed. If they do something which doesn’t sit right with you, instead of making excuses for them, ask them to explain what happened without your first making assumptions about the reasons behind their behaviour. Meaning, default to curiosity rather than accusation.

Simplest and most often example is when someone doesn’t call when they said they would. Unless dead in a ditch or with lost phone or broken hands, this is ill-mannered and plainly disrespectful. It means they don’t care about your time (or theirs); don’t excuse it, don’t ignore it, and most definitely don’t be okay with it if it doesn’t feel okay for you.

Mistake #5: Overstaying your welcome
If someone’s not into you, you know it. Dating is not an ocean, and this person is not a life jacket. Do yourself a favour and don’t overstay your welcome. If they’re too cowardly to tell you that they’re not into you, follow your gut and bow out with as much grace as you can muster.

Godspeed & don’t ever stop having fun!

Image from Hodder & Stoughton Publisher.