15 Unwritten Rules Of Modern Dating

15 Unwritten Rules Of Modern Dating ©iStock/Aleksandar Nakic

Modern dating has little to nothing to do with the old fashioned movies where guys buy flowers on the first date, ask you out via phone, and introduce themselves to your parents like perfect gentlemen. However, while there’s a lot more flexibility in the romance world these days, there are still certain rules that need to be followed. In order to clear up the air, yours truly decided to share 15 rules that are unwritten but still widely used (and for good reason).

  1. Don’t ghost. Ghosting after dating, or even worse, ditching mid-date, is the most disrespectful thing you can do. It’s rude, and frankly, that kind of behavior will end up giving you a crap reputation with other potential dates. If you have any respect for the other person, or if you want to avoid bad times in the future, don’t ghost. Period. Man or woman up.
  2. Actually be on time. The days when being “fashionably late” was cool are long, long gone. Most of us just find a person who’s late to be selfish. Who wants to blow a good 15 minutes to half an hour waiting for someone, anyway?
  3. If he sends penis pics, he’s not dating material. Most would feel safe to say that if a guy is sending you a penis pic, he’s probably not looking for Ms. Right, anyway. Unless you’re looking for a fling with a jackass, just pass.
  4. You don’t have to reply to initial messages if you’re not interested. This happens a lot on online dating. Guys send you messages and expect a reply. Nowadays, the most common way to show disinterest is not replying. It’s not traditionally polite, but at least it will cut stuff short fast.
  5. You need to have a photo on your online profiles. Otherwise, people think you’re fake, married, or on the lam. No photo, no date. While you’re at it, it’s important to remember that overly sexy pictures will not work out in your favor if you’re looking for an LTR.
  6. Expect to split the bill, but accept if the other party offers to pay for the whole thing. Sadly, the days in which guys were expected to pay the entire date are over. Unless you want to have a very awkward date that could potentially end in the guy asking you to dine and dash, bring your wallet. Also, if a guy asks you to foot the entire bill, it’s totally acceptable to not speak to him again.
  7. Getting wasted on the first couple of dates is still a major no-no. There are very few things that are as bad a red flag as seeing your date get totally pickled on the first date. Even among club kids, a person who is ridiculous drunk on a first date is a person who typically can’t get a second one. If you do decide to drink during your first date, stick to a maximum of 2 drinks. Don’t be the poor individual who ends up being known as a “dating trainwreck.”
  8. Check your baggage. The other major turn-off that people have involves bringing old baggage to a new date. If you’re too bitter, too angry, or just still grieving over something, don’t go out on a date. Seriously, it’s not doing anyone any favors, and it’s just going to make you look bad. Baggage is still not cool, even if today’s dating scene is way more mellowed out.
  9. If you’re going on a first date, don’t isolate yourself and your date. Long walks in the woods may sound romantic, but on a first date, it may make you look like a young serial killer. Instead, opt for a more crowded area, like a cafe, restaurant, or museum.
  10. Always try to leave the person in a better place than when you first met them. In other words, end things on good terms, and do so politely. You don’t want to be the person who ends up known as an abuser or a narcissist. This might not always be doable, but the basic message is always possible – within reason, of course.
  11. Don’t talk about exes. It’s a turn-off, and it’s rude.
  12. Facebook stalk, but do so without actually being overt. Look, Facebook stalking is just a part of life now. Your date will look at your Facebook. You will likely look at your date’s Facebook. This is fine. Just don’t actually talk about what you find, or “Like” it without it being explicit that you’re dating on the long term.
  13. Put down the phone. Want to show a date that you couldn’t be less interested in what they are saying? Go ahead and check your emails on your phone. It’s considered to be the number one pet peeve of people who are currently dating, or at least, that’s what my friends have been telling me.
  14. Don’t be someone you aren’t, and don’t go over the top when it comes to impressing a guy. Dating is about making sure you’re compatible with your date. It’s not about forcing things to happen, and it’s not going to do you any favors to lie about things just to move things forward.
  15. Don’t go on a date looking for sex. There’s Tinder for that. Besides, it’s creepy to do so, and your date isn’t required to sleep with you just because you bought dinner.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.