While not everyone has had a date from Hell, most everyone has had a bad date. When you review past dating experiences in your mind, reflect on dates when you said or did something you regretted. Everyone's guilty of the same thing - being human. This essay is written to help give you some simple guidelines. Though some may seem too obvious to mention, I believe it never hurts to hammer home some reminders. As you make your efforts to find a relationship that works for you, remember that there is no perfect way to date. Dating is difficult but can help you grow thicker skin.
1. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Too often I see clients in my private practice fall head over heels for someone they don't truly know, only to find themselves disappointed by week three because they realize their dates are emotionally incompatible with them.
2. Don't reveal too much too soon. There's no need for your date to know about why your last relationship failed or about your insecurities - they'll all come out in the wash over time.
3. Don't expect your date to pay for you. I don't care if you're a woman or man - we're all grown-ups and can pay our own way. Expecting someone to pay for you sends a message that you are looking for someone else to meet your basic needs because you can't or don't want to do that yourself.
4. Don't ask questions that are too personal or that go too deep. Take the conversation slowly and let it mature over the course of a potential dating relationship. You don't need to understand the innermost workings of your date's mind in the first 24 or 48 hours.
5. Don't rule out the possibility for making a friend, even if the romantic fires aren't kindled. Too many people say "But I've got enough friends." Not true. Never close yourself off to the unknown.
6. Don't proceed if your date reminds you of an ex with whom you had a previous bad relationship. You need to learn from your past - not replicate it.
7. Don't ask someone you just started dating to meet your family, unless you're young and living under the same roof with your parents! Asking dates to meet your family sends a confusing message. The truth is that you need to get to know your date before determining if you'll want your family to know him or her.
8. Don't text, call, or e-mail others while on your date. This kind of thing is fine if there is an established relationship, but everyone is supposed to be on their best behavior in the beginning.
9. Don't go outside of your realistic budget on your dates because you will set up a dynamic that is difficult to undo. You need to find someone who is okay with the amount of money you have because that's the amount of money you're going to have for a while.
10. Don't begin talking on the phone with the new person you're dating more than an hour so per day, if even that. People often jump in too quickly and then get scared away. Start slowly and work your way into intimacy so that you don't have a freak out a few weeks into the relationship.