Pop Culture
Nov 04, 2014, 06:53AM

A Non-Dater's Guide to Dating

Don't have any expectations. 

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I haven’t dated in about five years. I was in a relationship that whole time, which is very different from casually dating someone. I don't remember the rules, or if there are rules. I don't remember how to play the game.

It's a game about who can show just the right amount of interest. Not too much—you can’t appear too eager or desperate—but not so little that you seem like you aren't into it at all. It's a game of strategic texting, at the right time with the right amount of time between texts. Don't answer too quickly, or you seem over-eager, wait too long and the moment, the opportunity, will pass.

Show that you want to see the person, but not clingy, or like you have no friends. Be casual, coy and just a bit unobtainable. But not too unobtainable, or they will give up. Act interested, but don't show that you care. Text, talk, hang out. But not too often. Find out where they are going with friends, but be non-committal about how you might show up there. Show up sometimes, but not all the time. And if you do go there, make sure you have people with you, so you can have someone else to focus on.

Make sure those friends are okay with you maybe ditching them. Only a maybe. Do it sometimes, but not all the time. Make sure you have a ride home, but be prepared not to go home until the next morning. Talk about all the other plans you have, with all your other friends. But sometimes have no plans, and hint at being invited to do something. Do the inviting when the other person hints, but only some of the time.

Don't text right when you wake up, no matter how much you’re thinking about them. Ask about their day, and tell them about yours when they ask. Sound busy and interesting, even if you know you aren't. Like their Facebook posts, but not all of them. Post items on Facebook about what you’re doing, or sometimes just cute pictures. Make sure your posts show exactly what you want them to see, and nothing else.

Pay for things, but only sometimes. Don't have any expectations. Flirt, smile and listen to them. Show interest in them, and give compliments. But not too much interest. Not too many compliments. Do not, under any circumstances, look back over your shoulder when you walk away. When they walk away, only watch from the corner of your eye, in case they do look back and catch you watching.

Don't become invested. Remain casual, aloof, just out of reach. Don't become too attached. Don't assume they won't be seeing someone else. Don't assume you can't see someone else. Don't be too open about how you feel, but don't lie or deceive either. Above all, remember, it's not as casual as it seems. It's a game, a competition that nobody ever wins. 


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