Dating Experts Spill On the 6 Worst Pieces of Advice Ever
Remember when you first began dating and your friends peppered you with endless advice?
"Don't text him till three days later."
"Don't ask a guy out unless he's asked you out twice already."
You've probably heard them all.
Now, while most of these antiquated myths may seem obsolete now (thankfully), there are still a handful making the rounds today. But who's to judge whether these nuggets of purported wisdom are nonsense or gems?
Get to know three dating experts and hear what they have to say about the worst dating advice they've ever heard—and some alternative advice that's actually worth taking to heart.
1. 'Just be yourself.'
This evergreen phrase gets thrown around for just about any situation in which you're not quite sure what to do, such as a first date or asking someone out. The problem with this advice is that it's too abstract, said dating coach Hayley Quinn.
How exactly can you "be yourself" if doing so showcases certain unattractive habits (such as cracking your knuckles, for example)? This might be more acceptable as someone gets to know you, but surely not on a crucial first date.
"Of course, it's important to be authentic and genuine, but a lot of people will feel like being themselves hasn't got them to where they want to be," Quinn said.
Her advice? Try to focus on expressing who you are clearly, rather than impressing the other person.
2. 'You'll know right away if your date is the right person for you.'
People—often those already in relationships—may tell you that a potential partner has to "feel right for you." In other words, "When you know, you know." Some of us might get frustrated by the broadness of this remark because it's not easy to define exactly what "feeling right" feels like.
In fact, we often don't know right away if the person we're dating is "the one," explained Jane Greer, Ph.D., a New York–based marriage and family therapist and author of "What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship."
"While there may be a strong attraction, it can and often does take time to get to know someone's character, how considerate they are, if they are trustworthy, [their] values and so on," Greer added.
She further advised, "Give yourself a chance to get to know who this person is, what values they have, how they make you feel about yourself when you are with them, rather than making an instant judgment call."
3. 'It's not cool to ask for a kiss.'
How many of us feel that asking for a kiss belongs to an era when they used to make black-and-white movies, the kind of question our grandparents asked each other? It may be time to reconsider.
Many of us may feel kissing or even having sex should be something that "happens naturally" as we go with the flow, but in fact, these things fundamentally depend on clearly communicated consent.
Merri Knox, a certified relationship and dating coach at relationship coaching platform Relationship Hero, said, "Not normalizing asking for consent if you're unsure is unhelpful and enables a dating culture that discourages open communication and checking in with someone."
Regardless of whether you want a kiss or sex, it's always good to ask.
"Consent is sexy," she added.
4. 'Treat them mean and keep them keen.'
And the immediate reason this strategy fails? "Playing games with people only gets you so far," Quinn said.
Blowing hot and cold to keep your date interested is not only tiring and manipulative, but you may end up attracting people with unhealthy views on self-worth and relationships.
"It certainly won't attract people with healthy self-esteem, nor will the relationships you develop with people [like that] feel positive or good," Quinn explained.
5. 'Tell your date about your past relationships and see how they would have handled things differently.'
Bringing up your ex on the first date is never a good idea, but what if you want to "assess" if your new date might deal with things better than your last partner?
"Your previous relationship is your past. Nobody wants to sit and hear you complain about your ex," Greer said. "You want to begin a new relationship in the present, based on who you are and who they are, not who you were and what you experienced in your past."
There are many factors and nuances involved in your past relationships that do not just involve how your ex reacted to things. Your relationship dynamics, personalities and values would all have come into play, which is what led to its conclusion.
With a new person, your dynamics would be different, and, hopefully, you might have grown since your past relationship. All of these types of variables will affect your new relationship, so it's simply not possible (not to mention unfair) to make comparisons, no matter how tempting it is to do so.
"It's best to keep your past history to yourself until it naturally evolves in the course of conversation and the other person is the one who asks you about it first," Greer advised.
6. 'The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.'
"Actually, one of the worst things you can do post-breakup is rush into a relationship," Quinn said. "No one will compare to the connection you experienced, and [getting into another relationship] may dim your self-esteem rather than heal it."
It's important to give yourself time to heal before dating someone else, so you can truly feel the joy of entering another relationship.
Quinn advises people who have ended their relationships recently, "Accept that no one will match the connection you had with your ex, and that's okay because as the days go by, you will develop a stronger relationship with yourself and grow out of this old attachment in time."
Dating advice is subjective
Sometimes, what works for one person may not work for another, depending on cultural context, phase in life or any number of other factors.
Most importantly, ask yourself first if a piece of advice makes logical sense to you while also imagining how heeding this advice may have an impact on both you and your date or partner, and whether it will affect the health of your (potential) relationship.