21st Century Dating Do’s and Don’ts

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How to let the frogs down gently

Recently, a dating story caught my interest – about a man and woman who had just met and went on a date shortly after. She says the date was terrible. He apparently didn’t think so and called her repeatedly. She did not return his calls. Not convinced or accepting of her rejection, he wrote an email to her demanding an apology, claiming that he had been led on. He thought she had enjoyed the date because she touched her hair and stared into his eyes, which he seemed to think were universal signs of a deep attraction. He continued to explain his feelings in an astounding 1,600 word rambling stream of consciousness that would make the cringe-worthy rambling phone message in the film Swingers seem tame!

The woman, horrified, shared this email with friends and it eventually went viral. Some women in the comments declared that men in his line of work were notorious for their supersized egos and bad dating behavior and raised a piñata of sorts where all began to bash.

While the man was out of touch with reality, it is quite sad and frightening that his private life became public. It’s also quite ironic that his frustration of not having a concrete answer from her post-date has now become a solid ‘no’ to him, as well as an indictment of his career field.

The incident brings to mind two very important dating tenets often lacking in 21st dating: discretion and good old-fashioned manners.

With that in mind, I’d like to share some simple Do’s and Don’ts with the hope of helping make the dating world a more peaceful place.

Do be very careful and extremely mindful of what you write in an email. Every stroke of the keyboard can and might be used against you, as our aforementioned piñata friend learned. Same goes with a text. In this day and age, millions can look at your written words gone viral!

Do be honest but kind post-date. This one is tricky because it is hard to let someone down in whom you are not interested in. My advice is that unless the date is terrible and there is a real dealbreaker (anger, hostility, he’s criticizing you, drunk), go out with him again because chemistry can develop. However, if you do have to end it after date #1, write an email saying, “Thanks so much for the date. I enjoyed getting to know you and think we’d be better suited as friends!” Sweet and simple. I‘m sure Mr. Piñata would have appreciated it and wouldn’t have been driven to write such a crazy email.

Don’t be rude. I have a friend who wrote politely to a woman who he was interested in on Match.com and received a scalding response: “I would never date you in million years, and I am shocked that you think that I ever would.” While it seems somewhat amusing it’s not. Don’t go completely “Rambo” with honesty. It’s not good karma and it’s unnecessary.

I know it can be rough out there. Online dating can be a slog – there are 20-40 million people on at any given time. Women get frustrated: “The good ones are taken”. Men get frustrated: “Women only use dating websites for free dinners.” Our lives are stressful and this often gets projected onto our dating behavior where a ‘match’ can turn into a ‘scrimmage.’ Remember that good behavior begets good behavior, and honesty and kindness will attract the same. If you don’t want to kiss the frogs, don’t kill them – gently return them to the pond!

Bela_Gandhi

About Bela Gandhi

Bela Gandhi is the founder of Smart Dating Academy, a full dating coaching service that provides busy, successful professionals with one-on-one coaching, image consulting, personal shopping, professional photography and online dating consulting. She has been featured as a dating and relationship expert for the Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV, Tribune University, CL-TV, WGN Radio, RedEye and The Mash, and has been called "The Fairy Godmother of Dating" by the Huffington Post. Ms. Gandhi also has extensive personal career coaching experience through her affiliation and board membership with The Cara Program.