Guide to Stress-Free Dating

Dating can be crazy to say the least. Whether you’re new to the game, just getting your feet wet or consider yourself a vet, these six simple guidelines will help you navigate the uncertain terrain of dating today.

1. Be Yourself and Have an Open Mind. Be the best version of yourself on the date. Look your best. Show up on time, check your breath and smile. Dating is a series of casual interviews. You’re trying to get to know each other to see if there’s a match. You don’t have to marry the guy so relax, chat a little and see if you’d like to get know him better.

2. Have a Plan B. Whether it’s a fake emergency to leave the date, he cancels, or doesn’t show at all- you have to have a Plan B. A girlfriend on standby so if things don’t work out the two of you can always go to dinner and drinks far, far away from the bad date.

3. Just Ask. Certain information people don’t automatically volunteer, so you have to ask? Questions like, Are you married? Do you have a girlfriend? Do you have kids? Yes, these are all very direct questions maybe even a little aggressive but too many times we make assumptions about what we think we know. You don’t have to drill him on the first date, but somewhere between 1-3 dates you should know the answers.

4. Mad Money. Because it just can’t be said enough and has saved me many times. This is emergency cash, about $25 bucks, you tuck away in case the date goes sour. If you need to take a cab then you’ve got money to depart immediately. Program a local cab number into your phone, it can really come in handy.

5. Can’t Take It Personally. If a man tells you he’s married and he and his wife have a girlfriend that they share- he’s just fishing to see if that scenario works for you. If a guy offers to “hook you up” with a baby if you want because you’re not getting any younger and besides he takes care of his kids-all three of them- he’s just putting it out there to see if you’ll bite. The cheesy lines, the saunter and grossly inappropriate come-ons have impressed or wooed someone before- just not you. So don’t be offended, it’s not personal, remember it’s only a date and keep it moving.

6. Be Gracious. That said, there’s no excuse for being mean-spirited or rude if there’s no connection. If after the date you realize you just don’t click, there’s a way to be direct and polite both at the same time. Say something like, “So it was really nice meeting you and I’ve been thinking. I don’t really think we’re a match. I wish you the very best and good luck.” See? Brief, polite, direct and it works just as well if you text or email.