Do you ever wish there was a guide about how to like, date? Not something out of Cosmo or The Bachelorette but actual good advice that is applicable to your average non-famous girl? One place that has all the if-then cases possible and general guidelines for us to follow? That would be awesome, right?
Dating can feel really hard. You feel the pressure of wanting to impress someone, while also the pressure to ‘be yourself.’ What is okay what is not okay? Do we hold hands on the first date or keep our hands to ourselves? Should we be friends first or dive right into a romantic relationship? Do we text him first or wait to respond when we hear from him?What if there’s not a ‘spark’ right away? Do we give the person a chance or break it off immediately? And what do we wear? LBD on first date or save it for later down the road? Are heels too much? Do they even notice?
So many questions.
The good news is that there are answers. In one place. Like a guide.
‘The Rules‘ was written in 1995 by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider.
Before going on, I know what you’re thinking, ‘1995???‘
It’s true that 1995 was pre- text/twitter/facebook/tinder etc. And while those days were probably vastly less complicated (and more blissful, I’m sure), the essence of men and women and how we relate hasn’t changed really all that much since then.
‘The Rules‘ communicates a message I think is essential for us as women, especially today when all the various channels of communication make things way more complicated than they need to be.
The gist of their message is this: Guys want to pursue you.
They want to woo. They want to win you over and prove themselves to you.
But they can’t do that if they don’t get the opportunity to.
So, if you text first, if you say yes to every time they want to hang out whether it’s convenient for you or not, if you share everything about you from day one etc, you take away the chance for them to do what they were made to do: fight for you.
I know you may be inclined to argue ‘this is the 21st century, women don’t need to sit around and wait for a guy to call. We can go after what we want too.’
And I absolutely agree.
But while the instant gratification of shooting a text to the cute guy we like feels great, is it really what we want?
I think we want to succeed; we want purpose; we want to help others; and we want to be pursued.
When we allow a guy to go after us, we establish our independence. Instead of chasing a boy, we focus on our purpose, our life. We are freed to make that our focus instead of making our lives about ‘catching’ Mr. Right.
It feels good to text a guy, but doesn’t it feel so much better when they text you? Especially if you aren’t even thinking about it. We don’t just want a guy that responds to our texts, we want a guy who goes out of their way to reach out, whether it’s via text or phone call or another form of communication. We don’t just want a guy that likes us, we want someone who’s crazy about us.
Some of my absolute favorite couples- like real life couples, not Ross and Rachel – have had this amazing dynamic where the guy had to persist through multiple rejections to finally get even a date. He had to win her over and that made her so much more valuable to him from the beginning.
We want to be cherished and delighted in. And while we are modern women who go after our dreams, I think the old-fashioned idea of a guy courting a girl is one that has a lot of truth and beauty to it.
I know how scary it feels to give up control. After all, what if he doesn’t text? What if he doesn’t call or ask us out? That is the risk we have to take- but they payoff is priceless: a guy that is really into you. Because you know if he doesn’t reach out first or follow-up, despite what we tell ourselves, it probably isn’t because he got kidnapped or his phone got eaten by an alligator or ‘doesn’t know how to talk to girls’…it’s probably because he doesn’t really want to. #toughlove.
It’s not about playing a game or ‘hard to get.’ It’s about knowing your worth as a person and understanding the value you add to someone else’s life. You should not be treated casually or carelessly. You should be sought after and treasured. But we have to know that first and act in a way that is in accordance with that conviction. We have to allow someone to pursue us- not once, not initially, but continually.
It isn’t easy and most of us have to learn this lesson over and over. However it will be so worth it when we stop stressing about a guy and focus instead on our jobs, our friends, our family and whatever mission has been entrusted to us. Then, when a guy that really wants to be part of your life, it will be so much more rewarding for the both of you and the relationship when he puts some serious effort into doing so.
If you haven’t read ‘The Rules’ I highly recommend it. Whether you’ve never had a boyfriend or consider yourself a serial dater, it has valuable insight that can help you stay true to yourself even when Mr. 6’2′ with perfect hair comes into your life.
Here’s to healthy individuals that make up healthy relationships.