We are a group of GAFfers very much interested in your personal love life. It is our mission to help you find love, get laid, talk to that special girl/guy, or anything else that falls into the spectrum of dating. Basically, we don't want you to be GAFman. We can also help out with relationship advice, though that isnt our direct forte.
You may ask, why have a whole OT for dating? Given the amount of threads you can see in Off-Topic pertaining to relationships and dating, it seems fitting to have a thread to help with the more minor scenarios and basic questions of what is an ultimately confusing and emotionally driven aspect of most peoples lives.
Before we talk about dating itself first, though, theres something important to talk about before you begin on your arduous dating journey. Its a simple question, really:
Would you date yourself?
You need to be okay with yourself, and what you have to offer before you can pursue in a healthy manner. If you are unhappy with yourself, others will pick up on that, and thats practically repellent. Not everyone needs to travel around the world, is fluent in 20 languages, or saved a third world country from starvation, its more having the confidence and ability to love yourself before you can love another.
What do you bring to a possible relationship? What do you have to offer? Can you share interesting experiences with someone? Are you physically attractive so that you're aesthetically pleasing? Are you highly emotionally intelligent and sensitive to a partner's needs? Are you great in bed? Are you experienced in relationships, so that you know exactly how to support someone? Do you make people laugh?
Far too many people erroneously presume that a relationship somehow completes them, or that a relationship will add value to their lives. Sure, they add value, but only through the mixing of its shared component parts. If you bring nothing to the table, you're going to have a very shitty, codependent, dysfunctional relationship. The stock answer of "But I'll love her!" isn't enough; it's all too often that people with good intentions have terrible execution. And execution matters.
If youre not in the right mindset to date, thats okay. Its not the end of your dating life, and you can learn to love yourself so that you can love others. However, thats not quite our area of expertise though there are plenty of other places to get help! We have the Mental Health OT that provides a lot of support to others suffering from depression and anxiety, and if you feel you need to whip your body into shape, the Fitness OT is full of friendly macho men and women to help you get started.
Now that thats out of the way
While dating and its experiences will be somewhat unique to everyone, there are a lot of common scenarios that many will face while looking for a significant other. Lets take a look.
Should I/How do I ask them out?
Sometimes the hardest step is the first one. You have a girl or guy you likemaybe longtime friends, or a love at first site deal. You want to go on a date, see if the sparks fly, but youre just not sure how to do it. Does she like me? Will he laugh in my face? Are they already taken?
The only way to know is to ask them out. The new OT is almost called just ask her out already for a reason; instead of anguishing over whether or not its the right move, just do it.
Also, make it obvious that you want a date. Dont rely on assumptions and signs to get your point across. Use the actual word date.
Bad example: Hey, uh I was wondering if youd like to hang out with me sometime?
Good example: Hey, I was wondering if youd like to go out on a date sometime, maybe coffee on Saturday morning?
In the bad example, the intentions are very easily misconstrued, and can very easily be seen as someone just wanting to chill as friends. In the good example, its quickly established that this is a date, as well as an actual date planned if they say yes.
Wait! What about that cutie in the bookstore? Or the co-worker the next cube over?
Asking someone out in any kind of work setting is iffy, whether you are co-workers or you're a customer pining after an employee.
Let's start with co-workers. The phrase "don't dip your pen in the company ink" exists for a reason--work romances can, like any other relationship, can go south, and as a result it can lead to workplace drama that most would very much rather avoid. Such drama can even cost you your job. The Office is not real life, after all.
That's not to say that relationships that bloom from the workplace are impossible, or that they are destined to fail. The best advice is to tread with caution. If you two work in different departments or different floors, the potential for workplace gossiping (and there will be gossiping) will probably be kept to a minimum. A good rule of thumb: Is this job important to your career? If yes, consider a workplace romance very, very carefully. If no, go for it!
Now, if you're, say, a regular customer and a clerk or cashier catches your eye, it can be really hard to ask them out. They're at work, in a position where (typically) being rude to another person is very frowned down upon. A common mistake is for a person to misinterpret a worker's friendliness and customer service skills as flirting, and asking a worker out while they're at work can make for an awkward situation fast.
But, that shouldn't stop you completely in your tracks. You just need a bit of more subtle way to ask them out, so that you don't make them in an uncomfortable position. Most suggest that the best thing to do is just put your number on a piece of paper and pass it along to them. It puts the onus on them to contact you if they want to go out, but doesn't put them in a bad position if they are not interested.
Whats a good first date?
The best first dates are ones that you can interact with each, and get to learn more about each other. A common misconception about dating is that you have to know the person before asking them out, but often times (especially when online dating comes into play), this is not the case. So, usually something like coffee or drinks at a quiet bar is the best option, as its cheap and forces the two of you to talk and learn about each other. Movies are generally not recommended, since you cant talk during movies and any conversation after the movie will probably be about well, the movie, and not about each other.
Im nervous! Im not sure if shes having a good time
Remember, body language and tone are important to dating. Learn to both pick up and give out signals, and youll do a lot better in the dating realm.
It can be difficult to figure out whats right and wrong to do with body language during a date, but its as they saypractice makes perfect. And it makes you less nervous too.
Your nonverbal communication on a date should be showing your romantic intentions. Playful and casual touching. That should escalate as the comfort level increases. I used to never touch women on dates, and now I'm making physical contact as soon as possible and as often as possible. Be honest with yourself and your intentions, and let that honesty manifest itself through both your verbal and nonverbal communication.
No hover hand, also.
When should I text/ask for a number/call?
In it comes to things like should I wait x amount of time to text back, when should I contact them again, and so on, theres no set rule for any of those things. If you want to text someone, you dont have to wait 4.65 hours in between each text, or something. Go for it!
However, make sure not to come off as too clingy. One big problem seen a lot in this thread basically goes like this:
I sent my date a text about four hours ago, but she hasnt responded yet! Im thinking shes just ignoring me, its frustrating! So, I sent her another message, and I guess Ill send her another one tomorrow morning, just in case she didnt get the first few messages.
Dont do that. Obsessing over messages comes off as extremely clingy and needy, and oftentimes people arent on their phones all day. Clingy-ness can and have ruined long lasting relationships being too clingy when you first begin dating is one of the quickest ways to get ghosted.
They stopped replying to my messages/ghosted me! Why does this happen, why cant they say theyre not interested anymore?
In online dating, a lot of times people just disappear. Everyones having a great time, the date was fantastic, and just *poof*. Gone forever.
This can be immensely frustrating. Many people often take sudden ghosting or even an initial ignore as a slight against them. They wonder if they did something wrong, or why they dont get any closure on this sudden break of communication.
Its probably not your fault. There can be a billion different reasons that someone ghosted you, anywhere from they didnt feel chemistry to I dont feel like talking to you any more to anywhere in between. In online dating, neither party is owed a response. Silence is not consent in this situationif someone ghosts you, its time to move on.
As for why dont they just say theyre not interested, unfortunately, online dating seems to bring out the worst in some people, that cannot take rejection well. Insults and threats are abound, and unfortunately a few rotten people can ruin it for everyone. Remember that in the end, you two are still relative strangers, and they wont know how youll react to rejection.
This person I really like told me that they arent ready for a relationship now, but say theyll be ready later. Im going to wait on them.
Please dont. Remember, in the end you want to make you happy. While there are cases that someone isnt ready for a relationship and will be later, you have to respect your time. Waiting for another person is simply not respecting yourself. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and waiting for one to decide to be ready is like trying to catch Moby Dick.
Additionally, this is another way many people try to gently reject someone, without explicitly saying no. See above about how some people dont take rejection well.
I need to let this person down, but I dont want to hurt their feelings. What do I do?
When youre dating, youre going to run into people that you arent compatible with. Dont let it get you down, its just how it goes. But, you dont want to hurt anyones feelings, which is a natural reaction to meeting someone you dont feel romantically compatible with, but think theyre nice otherwise.
Well, honestly the best thing to do is just rip the band-aid off, so to say. If youve been on a couple dates, just tell them that you think theyre nice, but dont feel you two are compatible. The other persons feelings probably will be hurt, but its far better to cut it off when you feel it wont work out, than to try to keep it going to spare feelings. Oftentimes it just makes whatever is not making it work even more, and fosters feelings of bitterness.
If you havent even met up it, ghosting is completely acceptable. Youre not required to give a response, just as others arent required to give one to you.
My date flaked on me and left me hanging for two hours, Im so angry! Im gonna tell them how I really feel
No, stop. Getting angry is just being childish at this point. It sucks, and I can understand your anger, but be the better person here, just delete their contact information and move on.
Okay, so, during the date, at 5:52 PM, my date moved her legs 5.7 degrees closer to me, and gave me a slight smile. Right before that I said so, how do you do. After that she glanced over at the table next to us and then back to me, then to another table before back to me again. I think I noticed a slight aroma of steak. At 5:55 PM our meal came out and she said it looks so good! Im worried she meant something more than that, last time we went to eat she got chicken and said it looked good, but this time its salmon. Im thinking shes trying to tell me something. Am I overthinking things here?
I have a lot of questions about online dating, its so overwhelming!
I can understand, theres a lot to online dating, and even stuff that doesnt apply to typical social norms. Thankfully, my GAF twin Jhoan runs a sister thread to our own, the Online Dating OT thread. While were here for more general dating advice, the Online Dating OT is more for the specifics of how to function and succeed in the virtual dating realm. Well answer questions of course, but for a lot of things (like profile rating/advice, picture advice, what apps to use, and so on), we generally ask that you go to the Online Dating OT.
Are there any outside resources I can look at for dating advice?
Of course! Not all of them are good, though. Good thing we know what we're talking about and have some stuff to show you:
Fuck Yes or No by Mark Manson
The Brad Pitt Rule by Brett and Kate McKay
10 ways to have a better conversation - TED Talk by Celeste Headlee
Modern Romance by Aniz Ansari
Be the Person You Want to Find by Cheri Huber
Models by Mark Manson
Shyness: What it is and What to do about it by Philip Zimbardo
The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book about Relationships by Neil Strauss
Also, feel free to look at the old OTs, which have a lot more great advice!
|OT1| |OT2| |OT3| |OT4| |OT5|
Now that you've MOST DEFINITELY read the whole OT, enjoy the rest of the thread and the "charming" company of our regulars. Good luck out there!