Navigating romance these days is confusing, to say the least. It seems like every week a new term comes out to help explain dating behavior that would never have flown when our grandparents were dating. So it’s natural to want to cling to some semblance of a script when trying to figure out how to woo and be wooed.
That being said, while a lot of old-school dating norms are something to aspire to, not all of the dating advice our grandparents, and even our parents, dish out is going to be helpful. In fact, some of the advice that has stuck with us through the ages is downright harmful.
Here are three pieces of pre–dating app advice you should reconsider, stat.
1. Play hard to get.
While this advice may have been pure gold back when our parents were dating, whether we like it or not, it’s not a golden rule for women today. Why? For better or worse, men need some kind of sign from a woman to encourage him to make a move—whether that is asking for your number, asking you on a date, or simply approaching you from across the room. Playing the ice queen or being evasive is not enticing to men, it’s confusing or just plain off putting.
Instead, practice being approachable. This doesn’t require being aggressive or coming across as over eager. Just smile a little, open up your posture, look at the guy you’re interested in and look away. (We have an in depth tutorial here and here.)
2. Wait three days before calling him back.
Can we all agree that three days is crazy in an always-on world? If a guy calls or texts, respond as soon as you can give him your attention. There is enough game-playing going on these days with breadcrumbing (leading several people on) and ghosting (disappearing without explanation), you do not want him to confuse your coy tricks from bygone eras with any of the modern nonsense.
Instead, set the precedent for straightforward and clear communication by not playing games. Call or text him back as soon as you can, so he isn’t left hanging and wondering. Not only will your future relationships benefit from this personal code of behavior, but you will stand out in a refreshing way to men who are used to having their time wasted by confusing signals.
3. Online dating is a last resort.
Many women have ditched the bad attitude about apps and online dating, but that old school stigma about meeting men anywhere other than in person can linger. You know what I’m talking about: Online dating is a last resort before I completely give up hope, the internal monologue goes. But online dating isn’t your final option, it’s a helpful alternative!
Instead of looking at dating app use as an act of desperation, see it and use it as just one of many ways to meet men. Of course online dating and apps are going to be miserable if you view it as something shameful or depressing! Our best advice? Check in on your app for a short, set amount of time each day. That way you keep that door open without obsessing. Don’t hunker down for a whole night of binge swiping—that is depressing.
Our parents, grandparents, and other adult role models are great confidants and generally have no shortage of sage advice. But when it comes to these three tips, let them go the way of grandma’s sky-high shoulder pads, and take a modern approach to intentional dating.