The Dating Rules You Have to Ignore (Seriously, They're Stupid)

There are all kinds of unspoken rules when you’re dating, and personally, I think (for the most part) they’re dumb and outdated. Let’s get rid of them. Some of the rules you hear about a lot include:

  • If you’re the lady, you let the guy text you first
  • Guys are supposed to pick the plans when you go out on a date
  • You have to wait _____ amount of time to respond to a text from your new love interest (there are different schools of thought on what that exact number is)
  • Let the phone ring ____ number of times before answering
  • Don’t be available to hang out right away. Say no to plans a few times

These rules have seeped into online dating too, where people feel like they have to wait ___ amount of time to respond to an e-mail, etc. etc. They’ve also formed with regard to physical stuff when you first start dating someone.

But why are we following arbitrary rules about dating? I have no clue. If you like a person and want to text them, do it. I wouldn’t advise texting them 12 times a day per say, but people like to feel wanted, and playing games is a waste of time. Why not let them know you were thinking about them? If roles were reversed, wouldn’t you be flattered?

If you’re interested in someone and want to hang out with them, why are you going to put it off for two weeks so you look really busy? If you truly are busy, perfect! Good for you! But if you don’t have plans yet and you get an invite, why turn it down? Cut to the chase and hang out.

If you get an e-mail from someone who looks appealing on an online dating site, respond. If not, you’ll probably forget and then your would-be soulmate could be lost in the ether. “But what if they think I’m just sitting on the computer all day?” you ask. Seriously, who cares? You saw the e-mail, you liked it, you wrote back. If they’re creeped out by something that small, then you don’t want to waste your time on them anyway.

All of these dating rules probably came about so we could make ourselves seem more desirable to potential partners, but what they’re really doing is incorporating a lot of unnecessary layers and confusion into dating. Wouldn’t it be much easier if we all just did exactly what we wanted to do, without worrying about what the other person would think?* Yes, yes it would be.

* while keeping the crazy in check, of course.

I certainly haven’t mastered the dating game, but I find it kind of freeing to just act how I want to act, without trying to worry about how I should be acting based on rules created by some unknown dating governing body. I put myself out there. Sometimes it goes horribly (in fact, there was one time recently where I just flat out crashed and burned and it sucked but I got over it and I’m fine and now I laugh at the incident) but I find that a lot of times people are receptive to that honesty and openness. Dating is scary and confusing as is, why not simplify it as much as possible?

What’s your approach when you’re dating? Do you buy into those rules? 

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  1. i totally agree. i know, when i get a number, i have to avoid responding for however many hours or she’ll stop texting altogether. it seems foolish and nonsensical. i’ve lost many prospective women bc of it and i still dont think i should have to play along with it.

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