Dating Dos and Don’ts

218674_10150189005594153_6377810_oThe search for Mr. Right – or in some cases – Mr. Right Now preoccupies much of our social lives. Despite the tools at the ready – including a number of apps and websites – while out at gay events or locales, I’ve found have become designed to facilitate meeting a mate.

While there is no definitive set of rules for dating, given the lengths to which gay men will sometimes go to fall in love, pursue someone, or simply hook-up, I felt I could offer up some of my own.

Do be emotionally available. How much baggage are you stowing? Are you sufficiently disentangled from a previous relationship? Self-esteem makes a big deal in determining success in the dating arena. Are you confident? Happy? Do you see yourself as someone worth knowing? If you don’t recognize attractive qualities in yourself, it’s going to be difficult to project them and accept others’ attraction and appreciation of you.

Don’t always travel in packs. Think about your own experiences; haven’t you found it’s much easier to approach someone who is alone? By going everywhere with your gaggle, you put someone interested in you in the position of having to compete for your attention. Only the bravest will approach you because if you happen to reject them, there will be an audience.

With that, Do talk to strangers. Strangers get a bad rap, but in most cases (and the right environments), strangers are nice people—and you’re not going to meet your dream mate if you don’t talk to some of them. And guess what? Once you start talking to someone, they’re not a stranger anymore.

Do smile. This is a crucial first step to flirting.

Do close the deal. If you sense there’s a spark with your new friend, don’t be afraid to ask for a phone number, email, Facebook, etc…This shows you want to follow up.

Don’t be angry. If someone you asked out declines, thank them for being direct and not taking up anymore of either of your time. Move on – head held high.

With that, Don’t lie if you’re not interested. Be true to what you’re feeling but don’t be rude. A simple, “I’m just not interested,” “I don’t think we have that much in common,” or “I’m really not looking to date right now” will suffice.

Do realize your hormones are not reliable. It’s a safe assumption, they’ve gotten you into trouble in the past, and they can get you into trouble in the future. The sexiest, most attractive single is not necessarily your best choice for a mate.

Do feel confident enough in yourself to say “no.” If your intention is to date this person long-term, then you want him to like and know you – not just want you – before hopping into bed together. The truth is, sex is readily available – especially with inception of at least a half dozen gay hook-up apps. Finding someone you’d like to have it with on a regular basis is the real challenge. If he can’t wait that long, what do you think are the odds that he has long-lasting intentions?

Do let a date get to know your best side first. On the first few dates, both of you should be putting your best foot – and traits forward. Before you start revealing dark secrets, stories from your ex-files, or your vault of insecurities, let your potential mate find out how wonderful you are.

Do be a gentleman. No, chivalry is not dead but complacency should be.

Don’t get drunk. As The Millionaire Matchmaker Patty Stanger always says, “Two drink maximum.” Who wants to be on a date drunk/on a date with a drunk? Sloppy.

Do entertain in your own home on the third or fourth date—if you are comfortable and it’s presentable. The object is to demonstrate your domestic dexterity. Clean, get dishes out of the sink and make space available for sitting. Put out flowers. Have music playing. Turn off all phones. (Just do it!) Give your date your full attention.

Do be fabulous – and I don’t mean looking fabulous. While appearance is probably what first attracted you to each other, as they say, beauty is only skin deep – and trust me, that new man shimmer will only last so long. So, be prepared with multiple topics of conversation. Be complimentary, friendly, kind, polite, and have at least some semblance of knowing what’s going on in the world.

Don’t be discouraged. If one date doesn’t work out, at least you have a little more practice under your belt. Dating is a numbers game, so for every bad date, you’re just one date closer to finding your mate!

And most importantly, Do have fun. It isn’t a funeral. Having fun sounds like a given but for many it is the hardest part of dating. Approach each date as an exciting potential—be it for friendship, love, marriage, or a good laugh down the line. If you go into each date with fear, negativity, and little effort, not only will you not enjoy yourself but you could be turning off  “The One.” Agree to dates that will be fun for you and then make an effort to enjoy and relax!

What are some of your “Dating Dos & Don’ts”?

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