Let’s face it. Dating isn’t always fun, and sometimes it’s a drag. But it doesn’t have to be a total nightmare … especially if you avoid some of these pitfalls in the getting-to-know-you process:
1. Creepy behavior: I appreciate that you actually brought me Chinese food last night after I jokingly texted that you should bring me Chinese food, but I’m not sure why you’ve taken it upon yourself to call me three times in the past 12 hours, when we’ve had exactly one phone conversation in our relationship history – about how you were going to bring me Chinese food. I genuinely loved the broccoli, chicken fingers and vegetable fried rice, but let’s be honest – doing me one favor does not entitle you to telephone privileges, especially when I seldom pick up the phone for people I actually know and love. So consider taking a gradual approach; try to develop a rapport through texting, friending me on Facebook and bringing me more Chinese food.
2. Inappropriate accessories: If you’re over 25 and still carrying a backpack on a daily basis, that’s a problem. If said backpack is so stuffed you look ready for a full day of classes or a hiking trip to the Amazon jungle, it might be time to consider a new accessory. Because it’s hard for me to take you seriously when I’m wondering where your lunchbox is. I’m not suggesting that you get a man-purse. Then again, I’m not not suggesting you get a man-purse. Either way, another slightly more sophisticated form of carrying all of your must-have man items might help you score more points with the ladies. The same goes for wannabe rapper chains and anything from the Hello Kitty line.
3. Smoking weed – For better or worse, many of us have experimented with drugs at some point. But when you’re over 30 and still getting stoned every day, smoking on the street without a care, buying blunts at the convenient store and trying to roll a joint in my car – we’re in my car, of course, because you don’t have one – that’s a problem. It doesn’t help that you struggle to string together a coherent sentence after you’ve partaken of your drug of choice. So just realize that, unless I too am an avid marijuana enthusiast, a weed habit makes you roughly 100 times less attractive in my eyes.
4. Borderline alcoholism – If you like liquor more than you like me, that could become an issue. Most of us have had our share of wild and crazy drunken nights, but getting sloshed on dates is problematic because it’s hard for me to get to know the real you when your personality is replaced with an artificial, much friendlier one you got from the bottle. While your fake personality and I might have a lot of fun one night, I’d like to get to the know the person you are when the liquor wears off, because this is who I’m going to be spending the majority of my time with. Theoretically, at least. Not to mention that when you get trashed, there’s the possibility of telling me you love me after our first date (true story), which brings us back to point No. 1.
5. Stalking – If we’ve gone on one or less dates and I’m answering your text messages with one-word replies – or more likely, ignoring them altogether – and ignoring your Facebook friend requests – both of them – this is not the time to send me 8-page emails and bombard me with Facebook pokes. Because really, who responds to Facebook pokes? Instead of calling from a private number at 1 a.m. because you know I won’t answer if I see your real number on caller ID, or forcing me to sneak out the back of the club because you just happened to show up there after I mentioned that’s where I’d be and proceeded to give me the crazy eyes all night, take a step back and realize you’re two late-night phone calls and a hand-delivered birthday card away from a restraining order. If you like me, try expressing that in a way that doesn’t involve stalking or singing telegrams. And if you absolutely feel the need to stalk, opt for the gentle variety. Otherwise, cut your losses and start poking someone else.