One issue we get asked about is “How to Date in a post-#MeToo Era” where there is an increased regard for, and consideration of, gender equity and consensual engagements with women — and rightfully so!
It’s very likely that while you’ve been connecting with people on dating apps that you’ve found yourself in situations and experiences where you’re a bit unclear of how to proceed. You’re not sure how to properly communicate your romantic interest and desires without offending your date.
Many guys still have traditional thoughts around dating in a world where things are far from traditional. For generations, we were told men should chase after women and men are to do all the work. On the other hand, as women continue to have equal roles and success in the world, that hasn’t translated into courtship all that well.
What might have once been regarded as “OK” for men to do is now considered creepy (again, in some cases, rightfully so!). But, for men who are truly conscious of this, it can make guys even more reluctant to approach and strike up a conversation with women they find attractive. This leaves so many of us confused. Let’s not place this all on the men. Women have just as important of a role to play in this as well.
So how do we navigate it all? I’ll break down our top 10 simple guidelines:
1. Know the difference between reality and fantasy
Most of what you read and see online isn’t accurate or doesn’t properly reflect reality. This may seem contradictory since you’re reading this article right now. We tend to look for information on challenges we have when it comes to dating, but what you end up with is a one-size-fits-all solution, which never feels “just-right.”
The issue with that is, there is not one piece of information that can work for all humans in all environments. We wish it was easier but it’s just not the case, especially in today’s world.
2. Communicate openly and honestly
When you fear rejection, the most common belief is if you hold back or hide your thoughts and feelings from your date, you’ll avoid being rejected. When you do this, you’re subconsciously saying you don’t trust the other person.
This belief is counterintuitive and especially doesn’t make sense if you desire a romantic relationship with them. The truth is your date knows if you’re hiding something and THAT is likely to be the reason they wouldn’t want to date you again –– they can’t trust you.
So by doing this, not only are you taking away your date’s ability to decide how to receive your thoughts and feelings, you are also taking away any chance of knowing if your thoughts and feelings are mutual.
The best thing you can do is be open and honest about who you are and your intentions. You’ll know exactly how they feel in return and it’ll limit any possibility of misinterpretation.
3. Persistence isn’t confidence
Previous advice would tell you that if women don’t show interest, keep trying or “wear them down” and eventually they’ll “give in.” You’ll see advice saying to ignore the initial indication of disinterest and keep going because “confidence is about seeing no as a ‘not yet.’” I’ve even given this advice in the past as well when advising men who were truly afraid to speak to attractive women.
But for guys who typically are considered “too comfortable” around women, this is where boundaries get crossed and they enter into “creeper” territory.
If you’re following the first 2 steps, you should be seeing more direct feedback from your dates and what they’re communicating has no room for misinterpretation, which leads to the next point.
4. Know when to take the hint
If a woman isn’t interested in you and has expressed it, extenuating circumstances aside, it’s unlikely that anything you do will change her mind. In fact, it may make things worse.
5. ‘No’ doesn’t mean ‘try harder’
Trying to bypass the “no” is what makes your date feel creeped out and uncomfortable. This holds true especially when on a date and things are going well. If there’s a limit that’s been reached and your date expresses it, it’s important to acknowledge and respect that boundary.
6. Understand what “confidence” means for women
After working with men and women for well over 11 years, one thing is clear: True confidence comes as a result of accepting and respecting yourself and your date. Self-confidence comes as a result of accepting yourself. Many women view confidence as a measure of that and your willingness to accept them.
7. Instead of relying on assumption, use discernment
If you’re not sure how to do that, it’s best to seek advice through content and personal coaching to know the difference between the two. For example, those Instagram models you see revealing lots of skin and cleavage? Not an invitation for overtly sexual comments, gestures, and advances toward the woman who may reveal lots of skin and cleavage at the bar tonight.
8. Focus on what you can control
Men, we can’t control what women wear and, ladies, it’s your right to wear what makes you feel great. While men can’t control how they feel when they see an attractive woman, they can control their behavioral response to those feelings –– in other words, behave respectfully.
On the other side, women can’t control the men who are checking them out, so the best thing women can do is determine what their personal level of comfort is around men’s behavior toward them (if they can), limit their exposure to men who cross the line, and speak up when that boundary is about to be or is already being crossed.
Ladies, I say this understanding is easier said than done. I want you to know this is something you don’t have to do alone and if you’re willing, you can seek additional support when challenges arise.
9. Verbal and non-verbal communication are equally important
There’s something really powerful about a man who can communicate openly and with confidence. It shows you are self-assured. A man who actually does what he says is a man with integrity, a value virtually all women are looking for in a quality man.
10. In every moment with a woman, you represent her view of men
Reading this might make you feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility. But that’s actually not fully true. Many women already have a view of men, whether it’s negative or positive. What you are responsible for is whether or not that view changes as a result of meeting you. If that’s the case, you might as well show her –– and yourself –– the best you can be.
Openness, Honesty, Acceptance, and Respect
Dating and relationships in the #MeToo era can be intimidating and confusing, but my belief is that it’ll create a stronger platform for openness, honesty, acceptance, and respect for each other while dating and in a relationship. At the end of the day, we all want connection and love, and if you express it clearly, it’ll only be a matter of time before that connection and love is reciprocated.