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The ABC's of Dating - 10 Tips for Getting the Ball Rolling in Romance!

Mar 27, 2008
Whether you are fresh out of a long-term relationship and anxious to get back into the game OR scared out of your mind at the mere thought of dating and hiding out at home, I have terrific information for you!

#1 What Does It Mean To "Date"? Dating simply means time you set apart from your insanely busy schedule to spend time with another person, with the goal of getting to know him or her better. May be as simple as a half-hour walk through the park, or as complex as a ski weekend. But you are still "on a date." Every setting allows you to share more of yourself and see a bit more about your dates. You talk, you laugh, share a meal or drinks, or engage in joint entertainment activities like bowling, a sporting event, or a concert.

#2 I Can't Seem To Find Anyone To Date? First thing you have to do is stop hiding out at home in fear. Dating takes courage. You have to get in the game to win it, which requires that you make yourself vulnerable and risk rejection. You must be willing to be seen for who and what you are. Yup your fat rolls, double chins, your bony legs, the big nose you hate, your balding spot, acne, all that. Never think that love is out there only for "perfect" people. You might not be perfect, but you are perfect for someone!

#3 Where Do I Go To Meet Other Singles? There is no ONE place to go to meet a wife or husband. If there were, don't you think every single looking for a love connection would already be there? Sporting events are great places to find someone you have something in common with. Health clubs, Karaoke bars (whether you can sing or not, its fun!), parties and dances, lectures. book readings, college campuses and adult education courses are also great places to interact with other singles. Internet dating is extremely popular as well, along with chat rooms. My favorite though is to ask friends or family for a fix-up. They know you and usually do a good job matching you up with someone you can at least stand.

#4 What Are Good Things To Talk About On Early Dates? The weather, things going on around you right where you are, friends you may have in common, things going on in the news. Strange stories (humor or oddball) that you read about on the web or in a newspaper are great conversation fodder. Social issues such as books, movies, musicians, clothing styles, favorite music, actors, etc. are always favorites. Funny stories about your childhood, friends or work that happened recently can be shared. What you do for fun outside of work is a great topic as well.

#5 What Are Things You Should Never Talk About On Early Dates? Politics, immigration reform, abortion, police brutality, terrorists, and religion are topics that are all best avoided in early dating. Too controversial... might start a war or something. Don't tell your date you talked about him to your mother. Avoid bashing the opposite sex because you are angry at your ex for dumping you. Really, let's avoid talking about exes at all. If you feel the urge to talk about him or her, that means you are THINKING about him or her which is not at all interesting or flattering to your date.

You also want to avoid talking about sex. Nobody cares how long it's been for you. That is a PERSONAL problem. Don't talk about your drinking or drug problem, your child custody drama, your bad health, bankruptcy, DUIs or multiple ex-husbands or wives. Saying you think you are already falling in love is inappropriate and will be viewed as insincere, so don't waste your time. And don't say a word about marriage or the children you dream of having.

You don't ask personal questions that are really none of your business like how much $$ someone makes. You also don't yak on your cell phone during a date. How rude is that? Give your date your full attention.

#6 Should Women Ask Men Out? I'm on the fence with that one. However I do think that fear of rejection has made many men afraid to approach women. Therefore, women should always make the first move on a guy they are interested in. Take care that your approach is subtle and friendly, not an overt sexual invitation. Go up to the guy you find intriguing and talk about something funny or interesting. He will find you fascinating and friendly and when he feels confident that you are into him, he'll take it from there.

#7 What Is the Etiquette Regarding Who Pays for Dates? Well, who asked? That is the person that should pay. If you date offers to contribute parking, a tip, or to buy a round of drinks, that's fine. But you should never ask someone out on a date then sit there looking crazy waiting for him or her to pay their half or worst yet, the entire bill! That is extremely tacky behavior and guaranteed to chop a budding relationship off at the knees. If you can't afford to take someone out on a date that costs a lot of money, put on your thinking cap and find a creative way to make memories!

If you are on the receiving end, be conservative with what you spend. Comedian Chris Rock says there are two sides to the menu -- the date side and the "screwin' side. If you require that a man spend a great deal of money on your date, you are creating expectations that you probably aren't willing to meet. So be conservative, as lobster and filet mignon are on the screwin' side of the menu! Always be gracious and thank your host for showing you a good time; avoid bad manners which would make you appear selfish and greedy.

#8 What Do I Do On a First Date to Create Sparks and Chemistry? There must be guidelines to early dates to get the relationship off on the right foot. First dates should not be more than two-three hours. The very first date should be considered an ice-breaker. Leave them wanting more, not sick of you. Put parameters around your first interaction by telling your date I have about an hour for lunch, then I must get back to the office for a meeting. If you are the initiator, have things planned so you aren't wasting time driving around saying "so what do you want to do?"

People looking for a serious relationship or marriage really need to learn how to approach a date as just a small block of time spent with someone new. Too often they go on a date with expectations and hopes that this is THE ONE, and totally overanalyze everything deciding after one date now "oh I don't think I could marry this person!" Instead, why not relax and just enjoy the evening? Your goal is to focus on getting to know the other person and enjoying the time you spend together.

#9 Are There Guidelines That Tell Me My Date Is A Loser? Your date arrives dirty or stinky for the date, keeps you waiting and shows up with no solid justification for the delay. May keep checking herself out in a mirror and putting on makeup at the table, exhibit poor table manners, dress in an embarrassingly revealing way, get drunk or show up for the date high on something. Also on the no-no list: talking about sex, touching you inappropriately, whining about exes and what they did or said, rude and abusive to the wait staff or other persons, placing the burden of conversation solely on your shoulders, insults or demeans you in any way, makes sexist or racist comments, acts arrogant or superior to other people. Don't feel bad that you are out with a jerk, as things like this happen. But it helps to have driven your OWN car so you can go get in it and leave the fool sitting there by him or herself!

#10 I Went Through a Bad Breakup Recently, How Can I Know If I'm Ready To Date? You are NOT READY for dating if you fall into any of these categories:
(1) You're depressed and confused and looking for someone to be a distraction and give your life meaning;
(2) You've broken up with someone else within the last 60 days. I hate serial daters that go from date to date getting other people all involved in their confusion.
(3) When you got kicked out from your prior residence and don't have a place to stay;
(4) If you are unemployed. Dating costs can add up quickly; and
(5) If someone close to you recently died. Give yourself grieving time.

And finally, be responsible. Watch your alcohol intake and make sure someone knows where you are. Sex on the first date is a bad idea. There are tons of STDs to consider besides AIDS, and sex with a relative stranger doesn't mean the person cares beans about you. You expose yourself emotionally, physically and psychologically to someone you know little to nothing about. Very risky and bound to leave one or both of you feeling injured, confused and used.

Date smart, stay sharp and focus on the partner you seek long-term, not just for the moment. Happy dating!
About the Author
Deborrah is a dating expert whose columns appear on http://www.askheartbeat.com. Also author of the hilarious modern dating guide Sucka Free Love: How to Avoid Dating The Dumb, The Deceitful, The Dastardly, The Dysfunctional & The Deranged. Order your copy today on Amazon.Com
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