21st-century dating is hard work. That’s even before the COVID-19 pandemic made it almost impossible to meet up with new people.
The dating apps feel like being stuck on a treadmill. Speed dating is the ultimate game of ‘pot luck’. And you can’t always guarantee that your friends will set you up with anyone.
What do you do when you feel stuck? You reach out for help. There’s certainly plenty of it out there. Plenty of books, podcasts, courses, and webinars will dish out dating advice by the truckload.
Trouble is…it’s often unhelpful advice. Some of it will even cause more harm than good.
With the end of lockdown looming, we want to sure you’re in a good place to start dating again. Without all the conflicting and confusing advice.
Welcome to our bumper guide to terrible dating advice – and what you should do instead!
Let’s Start with the Terrible Dating Advice from Friends
Friends give bad relationship advice. And their advice about dating is often such a cliche it’s redundant. The problem is this kind of advice is also subjective. What worked for one person (and in one situation) might not work for someone else. It might not even work for the person giving the advice in a different time and place.
But still, they insist on giving it. Stop me if you’ve heard any of these.
- “Why don’t you just take a break from dating? You’ll find someone when you stop looking.”
- “There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”
- “It’ll happen when you least expect it.”
- “Play the field first then find someone to settle down with.”
- “You could be shutting out your soulmate.”
- “You just need to get back out there.” (After a break-up)
- “Stop being so picky, if someone’s interested in you, date them.”
- “You might need to stop being fussy, you’re not getting any younger.”
Sound familiar? While it may be well-intentioned, advice is only useful if it’s clear and actionable. While some of these seem to give you a solution, none of them explains what you should do. What does it look like to ‘stop looking’?
So, after you’ve waded through the terrible dating advice from your friends, you might naturally turn to Google. You’ll find plenty of dating and relationship coaches ready to dish out tips…but is their advice any better?
7 awful dating ‘tips’ you should avoid
You might be seduced by the array of webinars, free guides, and even programs on offer. Dip a toe into any Facebook group and you’ll no doubt find some discussion of one (or all) of these. We’re going to explode some of the advice we’ve found from dating and relationship coaches. We’ve included what’s wrong with these offers so you can see why these strategies are so harmful.
- You need to follow these secret scripts to melt his heart, unlock what he’s thinking, and make him want to be with you.
Always be very suspicious of any advice designed to force an outcome. Especially if it involves following scripts. You don’t ever want to ‘make’ someone want to be with you. They should make that choice themselves because they like you and want to be around you.
And if you want to unlock what he’s thinking? Learn the art and science of behavioural profiling.
But there’s another major problem with these ‘secret scripts’. Not everyone is ready for or even wants, a relationship. If you use these scripts and manage to get them to work? Congratulations, you’ve manipulated him into being with you. You’re controlling him into a relationship regardless of his wishes or ability to show up for you. And if he’s not emotionally ready? That relationship is going to turn toxic.
If you’re having issues with dating and relationships, they’re not coming from you saying or doing the wrong things. Rather, you could still be experiencing pain from your past relationship. You may be afraid to trust again. Or you’re meeting the wrong ones.
If these are your problems, then following a script is not going to help you.
Think about it this way. Recall the last time you spoke to a cold caller and it was clear they were following a sales script. You didn’t feel heard, appreciated, or valued. Compare that to the last conversation you had with someone where you did feel heard. Following scripts removes the spontaneity from conversations. It also means you can’t form a genuine connection because you’re not being genuine yourself.
- Here are the 5 simple steps to win back your ex.
Sweetie, he’s your ex for a reason. If he broke up with you, let him go. Don’t waste your dignity running around trying to win him back. Now, I’m not saying you can’t ever get back together with an ex. If, after some time to reflect, he realises he’s made a mistake, then that’s up to you to decide what to do. But don’t fall for this rubbish because it turns your ex-partner into a ‘prize’ that you can ‘win’ and control. He’s not. He’s a human being with his own needs and desires.
- You have to show up as a queen and you’ll magnetise your soulmate. You have to be in the Feminine if you want to attract the Masculine.
There are a lot of coaches who will use language around being a ‘queen’. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be treated well. The problem comes when you then refer to your partner as a ‘king’. You’re reinforcing gender power dynamics and saying he’s more valuable than you. If your partner isn’t your equal, then there’s genuinely no point in the relationship.
As for magnetising your soulmate? You’re going to attract the right person for you by being yourself. But a lot of these dating coaches focus on manifestation, and the idea the right guy is going to fall out of the sky. They don’t give you the strategies you need to create the opportunities to meet more of the right kind of people for you.
As for the Feminine/Masculine dynamic…this forces people into a mould of how they “should” be based on which gender they identify as. It totally ignores the fact that a relationship is formed of two partners who are a collection of varied traits. Those traits may fall somewhere on the Feminine/Masculine spectrum. But too many dating coaches use them as checklists for how you ‘should’ behave.
A healthy relationship is possible when there’s compatibility between those two collections of traits. Trying to force yourself to fit a traditional definition is counterproductive. It also pushes the blame back onto you – i.e. it’s your fault that you’re single because you’re not “feminine” enough.
- These are the 5 ways that you’re chasing him away.
I’m pretty sure you can see immediately what the problem with this one is. It assumes that you’re the one at fault. You’re saying the ‘wrong’ things and pushing him away. So it becomes your fault you’re single. This is the same kind of victim-shaming we see when it comes to the Law of Attraction and dating. The only time you can really say or do the ‘wrong’ thing is when you aren’t with the right person.
This kind of advice also lumps men into some kind of monolith, as if they all respond to things in the same way. One guy might really hate one of those things, and another guy might not even notice. Avoid any advice that generalises about men.
- Go on as many dates as you can. It’s good practice for you and you might meet someone great, even if their profile leaves you cold.
Date smarter, not harder. Meeting up with people for ‘practice dates’ is a waste of your time and theirs. It’s also not a great way to show up as genuine if you meet people you’re not interested in.
I’ve even seen one coach advise you to meet up with everyone because they may know someone who’s a better fit for you. Don’t treat potential partners like a matchmaking service.
Remember, you’re under no obligation to reply to every message you get on the off chance the person simply has a bad profile. Instead, do our Online Dating with the Deductionist training. Learn to read a dating profile so that you know if the person is going to waste your time.
- You shouldn’t date one person at a time. Date a few, so you don’t look desperate to the one you really want.
How can you hope to invest time and energy into getting to know a person if you do this? By dating several to ‘keep your options open’, you risk diluting the attention you can pay to anyone.
Again, date smarter, not harder. Only give your time and energy to guys you’re interested in.
- Don’t text back straight away. Or, if you do, let him know you were ‘out with someone’, even if it was just your friend, so he’ll feel like he has competition and steps up.
Or maybe don’t play games? If you try to make him feel like he was to work for your attention, there’s a good chance he’ll walk away. After all, nothing says “inauthentic” and “not invested in a relationship” like messing about. You’re never going to build a genuine, true connection with a person if you follow arbitrary rules about getting in touch.
What dating approach should you take instead?
Put simply, a different one! I’m sure you can see that a lot of the common threads here are around not being yourself. The sales scripts or ‘don’t do these things’ guides essentially tell you not to be you. They’re telling you that there’s something wrong with you, and that’s why you’re single.
At its heart, a lot of the dating advice you’ll find is designed to manipulate people. It’s full of unnecessary game-playing and hurt. Show a bit of empathy and imagine how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of this advice. If you wouldn’t like it done to you, don’t do it to others.
Dating advice can never be a ‘one size fits all’ solution or formula. That’s why the Masculine/Feminine concept can be so damaging. Vague and nebulous concepts get grossly simplified and turned into ‘rules’. If you don’t fit the stereotype? Bad luck, that’s why you’re single. That’s the essence of that terrible advice.
People come in all shapes, sizes, preferences, belief systems, and values. Why expect to reduce them to simple checkboxes on a list? You’re a well-rounded individual with quirks and oddities. Most mass dating advice seeks to remove that and turn you into an ‘average’ person so the advice works. Yet it’s precisely those quirks and oddities that will make you the right match for your ideal partner.
There is a chance that the ‘one size fits all’ approach does fit you. And if that’s the case? Congratulations! You can jump into dating with a strategy and a plan.
But if it doesn’t? Then you shouldn’t be expected to cram yourself into a badly-fitting, mass-produced formula. You need a bespoke solution that suits your unique qualities and experience.
Welcome to the New Way of Dating
This is where Love With Intelligence stands in the dating game. We believe in the tailored solution, designed to work with your strengths and personality to find a love that lasts. No confusing mixed messages, no conflicting advice. Just straightforward, simple strategies created to work for you.
Our signature Love With Intelligence program combines three major areas. You’ll get the training you need to heal from past relationships, the strategies you need to build a life you’re excited to share, and the insights you’ll need to know if your date is a winner or a binner.
Check out the program here – and welcome to the new way of dating.