GUEST POST: 8 Rules for Dating in a Modern World

GUEST POST: 8 Rules for Dating in a Modern World

This guest post is kindly brought to you by Jean Smith at Flirtology.

Society and its rules fluctuates depending on what people need and what people have. Traditionally, it was men’s sole responsibility to ask women out and pay for the date. Why? Because they had the money, they had the transport and they held all the cards. As the higher-earning gender, it was expected that because they got to choose whom to ask out, they also had to pay.

Society has moved away from this model, with women now earning almost as much as men. Nevertheless, this old-fashioned attitude still prevails, creating a disconnect. So, what are the dating rules in this modern society?

As a Flirtologist, I meet many high-flying, executive women, who make bags of money and have bags of confidence. Why shouldn’t they ask a man out? Besides, men like it!

While researching for my book, The Flirt Interpreter, I interviewed 100 men in four different international westernised cities. I asked them if they would like it if a woman approached them and asked them out. The answer was a resounding ‘yes!’ on both counts. Followed by ‘as long as it’s not done too aggressively’. So there we have it – just don’t plop yourself down on their laps, arms dangled around their necks, and expect them to say yes. Other than that, you’ll be fine!

So, what are the 8 rules for dating in the modern world? Well, read on…

  1. If you like someone, approach them! Don’t wait for the other person to make the move. Gender has become obsolete in this regard and now it’s more about common sense! How is a guy to know you’re interested if you stand in the corner willing him to walk over? If you are looking at art, for example, and get chatting you could say something like, “I have been meaning to go that new exhibition at the V&A. Would you like to join me?” Which leads me to rule #2…
  2. Don’t be scared of rejection. Believe it or not, it is your friend. Statistically, we cannot click with everyone on earth. If you chat to someone and they make it clear that feelings are not reciprocated, move on! Don’t think of it as a setback for your self-esteem, but a step forward to finding someone you’re compatible with.
  3. Keep it casual. If you see someone cute, walk over and start a natural conversation. Hitting on people can seem intimidating when you think of strutting up and opening with “hey, sweet cheeks,” but simply asking, “is it always this busy? It’s my first time here,” is a casual and natural way to start chatting.
  4. Lower your expectations and do away with false standards. Despite whatever belief you have in destiny, you will not be able to determine if a man is right for you within two minutes of meeting him. You spend more time deciding what to order from a Chinese takeaway menu! Once you stop looking at people with, “is this the future father of my children?” or “is she the one?” in mind, taking things as they come becomes a lot easier. The question you should be asking is, “am I having a good time right now, in this moment?”
  5. Got a date? Great! Don’t expect the man to pay. There are a shocking amount of women, even in the younger generations, who expect men to be ‘chivalrous’ and pay for dates. Why should men pay for dates? We now know that in the past it was because they had more money and had cars, but these days, aren’t we all on equal footing – or at least, don’t we want to be? As a general rule, whoever asks should pay. If women can ask, they can pay and, equally, if men can be asked, they can be taken out!
  6. So you’ve had a great date, wonderful! Now, forget it. This person you’ve just been on a date with is a stranger minus a few hours you’ve spent together. Get on with your full and happy life and don’t fill your thoughts with romantic ideals of your ‘future’. Nobody should keep you waiting by the phone, especially not someone you’ve only just met!
  7. Keep an open mind. There are plenty more happily ever afters than the old husband, wife, 2 kids and a white picket fence. Just as we have more choice in the modern world, we also have more scenarios in which we could be happy. Don’t let old-fashioned notions of happiness stop you from actually being happy in life. Which, brings me to rule #8…
  8. You can be happy alone. You should be happy alone. Why should your feeling content rest on another human being? Sounds pretty risky to me. Don’t wait for someone else to come along and fill in the gaps. Start living your life and now! People are attracted to happy people. Be happy, exude that happiness and, eventually, find someone to share that happiness with.

The rules have certainly changed in the last few generations of flirting history. Women can approach, men don’t have to pay for dates and being single is coveted rather than pitied. Nowadays, we have the capacity to flirt and date for fun, not just for the traditional goal of an early marriage. We have the tools at our disposal to enjoy single life, no matter what gender we are and the rules are about you and your life more than anyone else.

If you want to learn more about how to be an expert flirt, please visit for more resources and information.

Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


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