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7 Things to Do and Never Do While Dating

Avoid these all-too-common dating mistakes that can deter a fabulous relationship from forming and follow the rules that will lead to many more romantic outings:
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Man with engagement ring proposing his girlfriend in a restaurant
Man with engagement ring proposing his girlfriend in a restaurant

Welcome to the world of dating, where you'll meet folks from all walks of life and always get a little more than you bargained for. Sifting through potential suitors can be confusing, as people put on their best face in the beginning. But if you apply a bit of mindfulness, you can discern who's a long-term match and who's not due for another dinner. Awareness of your own actions also ensures that you earn respect and admiration from your date.

Avoid these all-too-common dating mistakes that can deter a fabulous relationship from forming and follow the rules that will lead to many more romantic outings:

Don't dwell on your past or volunteer information. This is your chance for a fresh start with a potentially wonderful person, so what you choose to share is critical. Try not to divulge your long dating history, the night in college when you drank way too much, your parents' divorce, your accidental engagement to your ex, or your criminal record (yikes). Mostly, though, I want you to hold back from comparing, contrasting, or relating your current date to any of your former partners. Nothing makes a person who's genuinely interested in you feel worse than hearing, "My ex-boyfriend used to take me to this place all the time," or "I was so in love with my old girlfriend." If your date does inquire into your past, answer their questions with honesty but without the copious details. Remember that your past is in the past for a reason. For your own safety, be cautious not to volunteer too much information about yourself, your income, your home, etc. After all, this is someone you met not too long ago and still don't know very well. This may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised at what can slip out as you're chatting away! They'll come to know these things in time, of course, but only after a certain level of trust is established.

Do compliment your date. This holds true for women, too, who should tell their date that they look handsome and that their outfit is a great choice. Both genders deserve to be empowered equally. What makes us incredible beings is our ability to uplift others with only a few words. For this reason, we become bound to the people who strengthen our spirits. What is attractive to your date beyond any physical beauty you may possess is the beauty of your soul. Let that shine without filter. Pick one thing that strikes you about your date--their hair, shoes, eyes, voice--and point out to them that you appreciate this detail. Watch as an unexpected smile spreads across their face.

Don't overdo it. Ladies, you're there for a date, not a pageant. Even if you're a professional makeup artist, go light on the makeup--men want to be hypnotized by your eyes, not bewildered by your triple-decker eyelashes. And gentlemen, maybe you can save the suit and Rolex for your next business meeting. These are temporary disguises we put on to impress someone, which is fine, but we mustn't blanket ourselves under a false façade. If your date sees you dressed in a way that's not reflective of your true self, their impression of you will be wrong. The simpler you are on the outside, the more accessible you become on the inside. When picking out your attire, consider what clothes/accessories best represent you and heighten your level of comfort, not necessarily what's most "in" right now. If your date does end up becoming your partner, they will see you at your best and worst anyway.

Do ask the important questions. There are certain questions that need to be answered before the date is over. Time is a precious commodity so before setting up the next meeting, make sure you're well aware of your date's founding principles. Get a clear understanding of their morals, achievements, aims, future visions, and belief system (not religion). Do address the important issues without making the date seem like an interview. Take turns discovering the essence of each other and being intrigued by each other.

Don't complain or be rude to others. Nothing is a bigger turn off to a man or a woman than a chronic complainer. Beware of a date who's rude to the staff or who insults another person. A woman who's quick to call another woman a bad word may be subconsciously jealous or have low self-esteem. And a man who talks down to the waitress may do the same to you one day. Be conscious of how your date describes the circumstances of their life: do they see their glass as half empty or half full? Are they thankful, or full of complaints? Ideally, you should be with a person who possesses the same tenacious optimism and positive force as you do. This holds true for you, too: listen to what you're saying as if you were an outsider and take care not to indulge in self-remorse.

Do pay attention. Close attention, at that. Maintain eye contact and observe body language. The way a person holds themselves discloses more about them than their words because body language betrays the thoughts in their mind. If they get fidgety, the topic of the conversation is making them uncomfortable. If they look up when answering it means they're trying to find the right response or they're embellishing the truth. If they cross their arms, they feel defensive. Also pay attention to your own behavior. Don't check your Instagram while your date is describing to you their life dreams. Remain present in the conversation and conscious of your conduct. This is not the ideal time to guzzle your wine just because you've had a long day. Carry yourself like the person of quality that you are.

Don't be arrogant. A person who comes with a big ego poses many problems in a relationship. Take note when your date is speaking about themselves: How do they describe themselves? Do they say they're the absolute "best" or have an inflated opinion about themselves? Do they recount their accomplishments with a normal degree of self-pride or a dragged on description? Humility is utterly attractive, while hubris is a red flag. An egoistic person will always put himself or herself before you, and that will cause suffering in a relationship. A self-centered partner also won't sacrifice as often as needed to keep up a loving bond in the long run. Make it clear to your date that while you're full of self-love, you're empty of arrogance.

People are complex, to say the least. Navigating through the dating world shouldn't be seen as a daunting task, but as an opportunity to meet an authentic, honest person who can match your capacity for care and commitment. Use these seven tips to take the confusion out of dating and finally attract an amazing person into your life.

To Drama-Free Dating,
Alexandra Harra

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