1. Don’t date if you feel cynical, jaded, or bored with dating. Doing so would just draw in people who validate and in fact, exacerbate what you already feel, plus you won’t be truly open to meeting decent, available partners with a positive outlook.
  2. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time wrecking your head over whether he really likes you, whether he’ll call, or why he didn’t call, keep your knickers on for the first few dates at least. Sex while it can be very enjoyable confuses the hell out of things. If you’re asking where you stand when you’ve already had sex…it’s too late…
  3. Don’t date if you are not over your ex. It may feel like the best thing to do is jump back into the saddle after a breakup but if you haven’t given yourself time to get over it, you are likely to end up sabotaging your dates. It’s also likely that the emotions that are still attached to your ex will create drama in itself. Never date until you have reduced your baggage to hand luggage.
  4. Don’t date if you are already involved with someone. This is a surefire way to create unnecessary drama. Either you’re greedy or just plain foolish but should the person you’re already involved with find out, you’ll look bad no matter your intentions and motivations.
  5. Don’t play games. Games really shouldn’t enter into the dating and relationship arena unless they’re in the bedroom. Otherwise playing games creates unnecessary drama by manipulating people and the outcome of situations. You may feel like you need to test your dates but you’re creating a relationship based on misconceptions. And how can you trust what you think you know when you’ve been playing games? Oh and if your dates suss that you’re a date player, you’ll come off looking like a childish fool.
  6. Avoid emotionally unavailable men (Mr Unavailables) and bad boys / assclowns like the plague. They may seem exciting and dramatic at first but you won’t be saying that when they’ve screwed with your head and you no longer know your ass from your elbow.
  7. Always tell someone that you’re going on a date. If your date is setting off alarm bells even if you’re not entirely sure why, listen to your gut. Meet in an open, public place for the first few dates and keep your spidey sense alert for anything that comes across as strange, intense, or stalker-y.
  8. If he comes with excess baggage that involves a wife or girlfriend, tell him to get lost. Or tell him to come back when he’s got himself sorted out. Nuff said.
  9. Be careful of multiple dating. It’s a tricky business juggling several men and requires you to be very organised. Unless you’re anal retentive enough to do the juggling without breaking a sweat, steer clear. Dating is a less stressful when you’re not worried about mixing up names or sending an email / text to the wrong guy.
  10. Keep conversations clear of exes, politics and religion on the first few dates. You may think that caring is sharing or that a date is a good place to start a political or religious debate but really it isn’t. Your ex most certainly belongs in the past not on your dates.
  11. Easy on the verbal diarrhoea. Communication is not verbalising every waking thought and emotion that you have. This is a serious overload for the person on the receiving end.
  12. Don’t be bitchy, aloof, confrontational, or aggressive. You may think you come across as independent and self-assured but if what you’re actually being is bitchy, aloof, confrontational or aggressive, you will appear anything but independent and self-assured. Be aware of any defensiveness that may be prompting you to self-sabotage so that you get to call the shots rather than run the risk of them being ‘in control’ and getting to reject you first.
  13. Say ‘No’. Much of the drama that happens with dating arises from not being true to yourself and being agreeable where you do not need to be. There is nothing wrong with saying ‘no’ and it means that you don’t have to act happier than you feel.
  14. You don’t have to say ‘I love you’. I’m not saying that people don’t mean it when they say it, but often these three words get uttered because people want to move the relationship to where they think it should be. Remember that while you may think you mean it, it’s best to only say these words when you have all of the building blocks in place for a good relationship. Saying these three words, for instance, to a guy who struggles to remember to call you, is a recipe for disaster.
  15. Be careful of Defining The Relationship (DTR) talks. Of course these DTRs can be useful but I tend to find that people use these in the absence of judgment and either jump the gun and have the talk too soon, or leave it until it’s far too late. Or they have DTRs all the time and this becomes how you both communicate and that’s not good either.
  16. Don’t try to buy or shag your way into someone liking you. One could potentially leave your wallet empty and the other could leave you emotionally empty.
  17. Don’t date out of desperation because you end up with desperate dates that you end up doing a Fixer Upper or suffering with ‘I Can Change Him’ syndrome. If you date from an unhappy place when you already have low self-esteem, you will invite men into your life that reduce your self-esteem even further and cater to the insecurities that you already feel.
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