Editor's Note: This is the sixth and the final part of our series called 'Around the heart in 80 dates', that guides young people on how to ace the dating game.
We are inundated with so many hacks nowadays — life hacks, maths hacks, beauty hacks, study hacks, work hacks, fashion hacks and even kitchen hacks. All of them are designed to make our lives a wee bit easier. So why not apply the same rules to dating to make it much more painless and fun?
1. Relax! If the concept of dating makes you nervous, don’t go into its analogy. Don’t give it a tag. Don’t work yourself up about it. After all, isn’t a date ultimately just an outing and aren’t the best dates the ones which are not dates?
2. Dating can only end in three possibilities: Either you become soul mates, or friends, or you never see each other again. Neither are bad options, so that’s all the more reason to stay relaxed during the process.
3. Remember that the other person is as nervous and eager to impress as you are.
4. Don’t put up false pretensions. Be yourself. Be who you are.
5. Don’t be flashy. We know you’re eager to impress the other person as quickly as possible, but if your first date involves a drive in your Jaguar or an invite to the fashion show you’re walking the ramp in, you may send misleading signals. Remember, honey and dew both attract bees; you don’t want to be stung by the wrong one.
6. Get your act together – get new fitted clothes, work out, stay positive. If you look and feel confident, you will enjoy the process much more.
7. Don’t rush the dating process. It is not a death march. It is a long test of compatibility. It requires effort and time. Be patient. Be mentally prepared. Savour it.
8. After the first couple of dates, make your intentions clear to the other person. Whether you’re looking for marriage or a hookup, be unapologetic about it. Your needs are not someone else’s to judge. At the same time, respect the other person’s intentions.
9. Dating is not a checklist of your long list of expectations, so be wary of becoming unrealistic. A sheep cannot be a lion.
10. On the first date avoid the two extremities — ‘wanna have sex’ and ‘what shall we name our children?’
11. Remember that the first minute of conversation with someone new is always the toughest. Tide this awkward time with structured conversation around the weather, the venue, or work. There’s never a better time for some polite chatter.
12. Make sure the other person reciprocates. If you’ve not met someone online or through an app, you’ll have to fall back on good old-school signals to understand whether they’re attracted to you. Identifiers such as a reverted nod or smile or eye contact are great places to begin with.
13. Want to get the green light on the first kiss? You obviously can’t just grab someone and kiss them. You have to build it up. Establish a connection and attraction before making the move. I’d go old school again and let the man initiate it, if possible.
14. During the end of the first date, pay the bill while you’re on the way to the restroom. This is a classy way of avoiding the awkwardness and fuss that goes into settling the bill. It’s also a nice thing to do. Frankly a man or woman can do this, though it’s always nice to be chivalrous, at least on that date number one.
15. Don’t be too available, too clingy or too needy initially. Don’t shift your entire life around till things become serious. The other person will respect you more if you don’t answer their call on the first ring, or text back every time within 30 seconds, or message and call them throughout the day. Don’t ask why, but we always want someone who at least looks like they have a life.
16. Talk but also listen. After the first date, remember the other person’s likes and dislikes. Try to fix your next few dates around those preferences. This will show them that you’re thoughtful, considerate and most likely to make a great boyfriend or girlfriend!
17. If you like someone, act. This is not the time to be coy or shy. The worse case scenario is that they’ll say no, but the upside is that they’ll say yes.
18. Rejection is not a reflection on you. It is not a measure of your self-worth. Most times for most people things don’t work out, otherwise no one in this world would be single. You have to respect the other person’s feelings. If they don’t feel a connection it most likely may not even have anything to do with you. People are complicated. Keep your life simple and move on.
19. If you’re not enjoying dating, or it’s not going anywhere, take a break. It’s great fun being single as well.
20. Ladies, a date is not a man’s audition for a husband’s role. Understand that most men are confused about the new-age woman. Especially about the women who say that they are strong, modern, independent, want equal pay, but still expect the guy to chase, pick them up, drop them home, pull out the chair, open their door, pick up the tab, flatter them, and woo their brothers and fathers. Men cite several incidents when girls ask them about their salary, tell them that they will not live with their parents, and demand a foreign vacation twice a year. The same rule applies for the men: don’t expect a woman to be working as well as be a willing homemaker. Hypocritical expectations can be the death knoll of any budding relationship. If you cannot respect your date for who they are then step away. People are not meant to be boxed in by societal stereotypes.
21. Always follow The Pareto Principle: If a person is 80 percent talk and 20 percent action, then let them go. For example, if they fix dates but constantly cancel or keep you waiting, dump them. It’s not worth pursuing someone whose actions don’t match their words. In reverse, if a person is 80 percent action and 20 percent talk, then they’re a keeper.
22. In today’s world there is an illusion of plenty. We have to simply click a button on our phone to be presented with a plethora of options. Beware of this caveat when you enter the dating world. You must be ready to find love and not become the type of person who is always seeking love.
23. Treat the person you’re dating with the same respect you would give to someone you met on shaadi.com.
24. Be safe. If you’re uncomfortable with any person or situation, leave.
That brings us to the end of our special dating series. We’ve covered whether Indians know how to date, how you can get a date, how to fix a date, how to nail the first date, what to do after the first date and some dating hacks. We hope you’ve enjoyed this series! Do let us know if you’d like to hear more from us!
Meghna Pant is the award-winning author of The Trouble With Women (Juggernaut, 2016), Happy Birthday (Random House, 2013) and One And A Half Wife (Westland, 2012). She has previously worked as a business journalist with Times Now, NDTV and Bloomberg-UTV. Follow her on Twitter @MeghnaPant.
Published Date: Mar 19, 2017 09:02 AM | Updated Date: Mar 19, 2017 09:02 AM