Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston aren’t the only ones having trouble navigating the dating pool. Whether you’re a celebrity or not, dating seems to get more and more complicated each year, with the rules constantly changing. (Should I ask him out? Is it okay to text him? Who should pay?)
But there are a few dating basics that remain tried and true, so follow these do’s and don’ts while you make your way through the dating game.
- Pay attention to your date. Make eye contact, listen and respond appropriately. Don’t talk on your cell phone, text your friends or wonder about how much he makes. Ask questions and show you’re interested.
- Offer to split the bill. Nothing turns a man off faster than a woman who doesn’t even pretend to reach for her purse when the bill comes. Don’t get me wrong, I think he should pay, especially on the first date, but because he wants to, not because you won’t.
- Show off your personality, especially your sense of humor. Don’t pretend to be someone else – he’s dating you because he wants to get to know you. And please, please don’t act stupid.
- Be courteous. Be ready on time. Thank him for holding open doors. Be polite to the wait staff. Compliment him on the way he looks, his choice of wine, whatever.
- Be honest. If there is no chemistry, don’t encourage him. If you like him, let him know you’d like to see him again. (But try to avoid seeming desperate – you know: “Can I see you again? How about next Thursday? At eight? Nine?”)
- Don’t drink too much! You should know why – you lose your judgment, you get sloppy, you do things you’ll regret tomorrow. Plus, a lot of men find this a turn off. Know your limits and stick to them.
- Don’t talk about your last boyfriend or ex-husband. This can be threatening, and it is also just poor manners. He’ll take it as a sign that you haven’t gotten over your last man. Do you want to listen to him talk about his ex-girlfriend or wife?
- Don’t talk too much about yourself. It’s great to answer his questions and tell him your interests, but remember to ask about him as well. Get to know each other but don’t turn it into a monologue about yourself.
- Don’t take calls on your cell phone or text people. See above. It’s just plain rude.
- Don’t lead him on. If you don’t like him or don’t feel any connection, don’t pretend you can’t wait for him to call so you can see him again. This can be difficult, I know, but it is much classier to tell him you’d rather just be friends than to lie and humiliate him.
- Don’t be pretentious. Don’t act like you are too good for him or too good for wherever he takes you, even if it’s some place you wouldn’t normally be caught dead. A classy girl always makes people feel comfortable. And who knows, you might enjoy yourself at that bowling alley.