How To Avoid Falling Too Fast & Save Yourself From Getting Hurt

When you start seeing someone new that you really like, it can be a real mindf*ck. You don’t know if he’s seeing someone else and you’re not sure if you should be too. Maybe you’ve been single for a long time and you’re not sure if you want to throw yourself into anything again. If you’re worried about falling too hard way too fast, here’s how to get away without feelings. It’s a foolproof guide to avoiding heartbreak when you’re not even in a real relationship.

  1. Pretend you’re immune to everything. It’s easy enough since compliments creep you and PDA makes you squeamish. Much like an STD, feelings are easy enough to avoid if you’re abstinent. It’s a fake it ’til you make it mentality and eventually you’ll start to not care. At least that’s the idea. The point is to avoid falling too fast, so why not avoid falling at all for as long as possible?
  2. Actively avoid dating. Your mother will call and ask if you’ve met anyone and threaten to set you up with strangers. Your ex will loom in the distance, carefully noting how single you look on Instagram. Disregard. Keep Tinder for the lolz, but do not engage. There’s no way you can possibly end up falling too fast when there’s no one to fall for, right?
  3. Don’t take app dating so seriously. At the end of the day, while apps have led to long-lasting relationships, using your phone to find love is about as romantic as using it to find food. While plenty of guys and girls are on there looking for something real, an equal amount are hoping for human delivery. Avoid falling too fast so you don’t succumb to the trap.
  4. Realize that love doesn’t always happen when you least expect it. Unfortunately, all of the movies have led us to believe that the second you stop looking for “The One,” he’ll magically appear in front of you. IRL, if you spend your days in the office and your nights with Netflix, you’re never going to meet anyone. Yes, this is a foolproof way to avoid falling for someone, but it also means that you’re never going to meet anyone except your food delivery dude.
  5. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Even if you truly avoid dating, eventually you’re going to have to go out with someone. This will either happen when a) a guy in a bar breaks down your defenses (said someone is sponsored by Jack Daniels, the key to all your bad decisions) or b) when you finally break down and go on some kind of app date because you saw way too many engagement announcements on your Facebook feed. Pick your poison — Hinge, Happn, or there’s always good old-fashioned Tinder if you’re truly looking for your Prince Charming.
  6. Understand that he’s probably seeing other people. Even if you’re spending so much time together that you’re sure he doesn’t even have time to look at someone else, unless you’ve specifically talked about being exclusive, you’re not. Maybe he’s still texting an ex or maybe he’s swiping away. Whatever it is, you have to be aware that it’s probably happening. That doesn’t mean you have no future, but it does mean that he hasn’t committed to you yet.
  7. Take a step back when you feel yourself catching a case of the feels. There’s no way to be completely numb, and that negates the whole falling in love thing, but if you prevent yourself from picturing your perfect babies and avoid telling everyone you’ve ever met about your new boyfriend, you’ll be a lot less devastated if things fall apart.
  8. Don’t hang out with him 24/7 or talk to him every day. It’s hard not to end up falling too fast when you spend every waking second thinking about, talking to, and hanging out with the person you’re into/dating. When you’re trying to pace yourself, you have to make sure you create a bit of separation there that gives both of you breathing room and reminds you that there are other things going on in your lives that deserve your attention. Never neglect the other people and things in your life that have always been there, especially not for a guy.
  9. Find other things to distract yourself with. You won’t end up falling too fast if you’re not basing your whole life off what he’s thinking, where he’s at, what he’s doing, when he’s going to text, etc. Do literally anything besides messaging him or hanging out with him sometimes, whether that’s taking a long bath, reading a book, going out for a run, whatever. It’s important to keep your mind firmly off this man as often as possible, particularly at the beginning.
  10. Set your standards and hold tight to them. This is maybe one of the best tips on this list. Yes, you like him and he likes you and there could be real potential there, but that’s still not an excuse for falling too fast before you really know it’s the real deal. It’s so important to set relationship standards and expectations and hold the people you date to them. Just make sure that whatever you want from a guy, you’re willing to offer the same in return.
  11. Remember that if he’s worth it, he’ll wait. Time for some real talk. You’re not trying to play hard to get or keeping him on the hook. You’re genuinely interested in the guy, but you’ve been burned before by falling too fast so you’re right in trying to take your time and feel things out before going all-in. If you’re open about that with the guy and he can’t respect that, he’s just proving that you were right to take things ultra slow. If he’s genuinely into you and intent on building a relationship, he’ll be able to wait until you’re ready. Just don’t take too long — he won’t wait forever!
Margaret is a freelance writer who covers pop culture and fashion in New York City and currently writes for Page Six's Style section. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, xoJane, and Racked. She tweets about her crippling caffeine addiction and teen TV obsession here: @margaretabrams