Dating Guidelines For the Cautious

The Happy Couple

We all need a little guidance now and then, especially when it comes to finding someone special enough to date. These guidelines were written with you in mind. They’re lessons I’ve had to learn the hard way. I share them in the hopes that some of you can be spared the embarrassment of finding out someone you like is already in a relationship, is the wrong fit, or isn’t interested in actually dating you.

1. All The Single Ladies

This Guideline is number one for a reason. We’ve all been there; you’re seeing someone and things start off really great and then WHAM! BAM! You discover the truth. You are not the only Egg in the proverbial Basket. Look out for yourselves by taking the time to ask questions. Check out any and all social media and keep your eyes peeled for words like “it’s complicated,” “casual relationship” and the like. Remember that a lie of omission is still a lie and you cannot expect every person you meet to be forthright with personal details.

2. A Drink Is Not A Date

Getting drinks together is a great way to get to know someone but it’s not a date. You have dinner with your friends and your family and never lack conversation so why would you avoid it with a potential partner? Good communication is essential in any relationship and if you can’t find enough things to talk about over one simple meal then it’s likely you won’t any other time either.

3. Kindness Matters

Look at the way this person interacts with others around them. If they are nice only to you then they aren’t really nice at all. A well adjusted person knows when to turn on the kindness. It’s important that your significant other can handle any social situation politely. Otherwise you won’t be able to count on them getting along with your friends or even more daunting, your family. A person who is kind to strangers as well as to you is what you want.

4. Friend Check

If you have the chance, talk to your significant other’s friends. They’ll be able to give you a more accurate picture of what your boo is like when you’re not around. Also take a look at what kind of friends they have. Are they enablers? Who encourage bad habits and worse behavior? Or are they motivators, encouraging your special someone to be the best they can be? Your friends say a lot about you with out ever having to say a thing.

5. I Do What I Want

A good partner will respect your life decisions. Certainly they will have their own opinions and advice but they should be able to look past themselves for you. Remember that respect is a double edged sword. You give what you get. Try to come along side your partner and work together to figure out the boundaries of your relationship. Another important trait to look for is respecting schedules and time with other friends. You don’t need to be attached at the hip to be together. Find your level of comfort with each other. Not every couple sees or talks to each other every single day. Many people lead very busy lives. Respect is knowing that they have another life separate from you and being okay with it. Don’t let yourself worry about time apart. Instead worry about too much time together. It’s all to easy to get sucked into someone else’s life completely. After all distance makes the heart grow fonder.

6. Responsibility; A Recap

One of the biggest red flags in finding a mate is how they take care of their personal responsibilities. Does he/she pay their bills? Do they take care of themselves? Are they financially stable? Do they have a job? A mode of transportation? These may seem like small factors to consider but they have a bigger effect than you’d expect. You should not be taking care of your partner. You should be on a similar level and helping each other equally.

7. I’m A Freakin’ Comedian

Humor is key. Finding someone with a similar sense of humor can help bring you closer together. If you’re seeing someone who doesn’t laugh at your silly jokes or is too serious for your liking then you might want to reconsider that match. You don’t have to search for the next big comedian, just someone who can make you smile or laugh when you least expect it.

8. The Friendzone Is A Real Place

Nowadays it’s the norm to be friends with your exes. Though not everyone follows that pattern it certainly has become more typical. Don’t be overly jealous or, alternatively, overly blasé. If they wanted to be with their ex then they would be. However, it’s always smart to keep your eyes open in such situations. Just remember not to let the worry or jealousy get to you, they can be cancerous to a good relationship. If you’re the one who is still in touch with exes then you need to be sensitive to your partners feelings.

9. C’s Get Degrees

It’s not necessary to have a degree to get a date but you need to be able to have intelligent conversations with your partner. If you can talk openly in an intellectual manner then you can talk about anything. If you’re not the book type but rather the sports type then it will be easier for you to converse with a fellow sportsman. That’s not to say that you won’t fall in love with a bookworm but you two are bound to have some intellectual pursuits in common. Look out for people who criticize your thoughts/views/opinions too much. If they don’t respect you for your mind then they don’t respect you at all.

10. Beware the Homebody

If what you like to do is spend your free time at home then you should find someone who enjoys it too. If you like to go out and try different things then the Homebody is a bad partner for you. Don’t get caught up in their comfort zone if it’s not comfortable for you. It’s okay to stay in together now and then, it’s healthy even. One big red flag to look for is if they refuse to go out all the time, to try new things or go new places with you. Spending time together pursuing shared interests is important. It can’t all be work, home, repeat.

by Taylor Mason