I’ve always had guy friends. I’ve been told I’m “just like one of the guys” more times than I can count, and I helped a lot of them in their dating lives. It’s this that likely made it why I’ve had mostly male clients as a relationship coach.
Men have come to me in every stage of the relationship process (inexperienced to the very experienced), and I’ve heard some of the terrible advice they’ve been given by friends, relatives, nosy old marrieds, etc. When someone’s happily coupled, they often want to tell everyone around them that’s single how they too can be happily coupled, but their advice isn’t always the best.
Here are the top 7 dating tips you should absolutely never ever follow:
1. Be persistent.
Kirk was a guy I dated for only a week. I became aware of something that was a huge dealbreaker for me, and I ended things, but he continued to reach out to me for over a year. The last time I heard from him was after I’d gotten married.
“I know you like persistent men,” he’d told me a few times. “I’ll just keep checking in until it’s our time.”
I was firm and clear that I was no longer interested and never would be. I blocked his number and e-mails. He’d just open new e-mail accounts and message me from those. He sent me message requests on different social media platforms.
Persistence can seem like a nice quality. You know you like the girl and if you just wait around long enough, then she’ll be into you. Jim and Pam from The Office have romanticized this. But not every story of persistence ends with a happily ever after. More often than not, they end up with you wasting a lot of time on someone who isn’t interested in you and will never be interested.
This advice can encourage men to be super creepy (as it did with Kirk) and sounds too much like the next one:
2. No doesn’t mean no.
No means no. It doesn’t mean “not right now,” “maybe later,” “maybe,” or even a secret “yes.” It really does mean no.
Consent is important and sexy. When a woman tells you “no” at any time, you need to honor it because that’s being a good human and showing respect to another human.
Ignoring that her “no” means anything other than “no” is abusive and gross. Don’t be that guy.
3. Be the “nice guy.”
“Nice guys” supposedly slip under the radar, disarming women into liking them. This advice is bad in a lot of ways.
For one, if you’re not already a “nice guy,” then you’re just putting on a facade that you couldn’t possibly sustain forever. People can sense when you’re being inauthentic, and it won’t be attractive to them.
Further, if you’re interested in a woman and you decide to play a role to “slip under her radar,” you’re being deceitful. You’re purposefully trying to worm your way into her life in the hopes she’ll fall madly in love with you. Healthy relationships don’t begin with someone manipulating the other, so if you want a relationship that is happy, healthy, and fulfilling, you can’t begin in a deceitful way.
4. Be an asshole.
I was on a date with a man once who told me, “Your calves are flabby, but I like them.”
I told him that was a shitty thing to say, and he responded with, “Really? I heard women like being told things like that.” I gaped at him.
Then I heard about “negging”, which is when “a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise flirtatious remark to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need of the manipulator’s approval.” The idea is that you emotionally manipulate your date’s confidence and self-esteem to nose-dive, so then she’s just like a little injured bird in your hand.
If you aren’t naturally an asshole, then you acting like one is going to come off as disingenuous, which women will be able to tell. If you are naturally an asshole, then you should reevaluate some things. No woman is going to pine over someone who treats her cruelly, so being an asshole should never be something you strive to be.
5. Just be yourself.
If you’re reading dating advice tips for men, “just be yourself” probably hasn’t been working. Obviously, you don’t want to be inauthentic (like trying to be too nice or an asshole), but you also don’t want to show up to a first date wearing the sweatpants you’ve worn for the last three days and talk about your issues with your dad.
This advice is well-intentioned, but what they actually mean is “Just be your best self.”
We all have a “best” version of ourselves. It’s the self we show up with to interviews for jobs we want. We dress well. We answer questions like, “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” in a modest, self-aware way. We laugh and tell appropriate jokes. We listen.
Be you, yes, but be the very best version of you.
6. Don’t tell her you like her.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely way past the elementary school-age when you may have kicked a girl because you liked her. If you’re past kicking her, then you should be at a developmentally appropriate age to communicate with words that you like a woman.
I realize this is hard and vulnerable and I’m certainly not saying that you should profess your love for her on the first date (even if you feel it). I’m simply saying that you should express your interest. Your date deserves to know where she stands with you.
Some less scary ways of doing this would be to tell her things like, “I think you’re really cool,” or “You have great energy,” or “I’m interested in learning more about you.” They convey that you like her and things about her without jumping to something serious. Being clear is always best.
7. Wait ____ to contact her, OR contact her all the time.
I hate advice like this because it ignores how every relationship is different and makes it seem that dating is a game that you can “win” if just follow certain rules.
If you follow some prescribed advice to wait, say, three days before calling or texting her, she may have already moved on. Women, especially attractive ones, often get asked out a lot. While you’re not reaching out to her, some other guy may have met her, gotten her number, and already set up a date with her. She’ll have already forgotten about you in that 72-hour interim.
Some men take this to the opposite extreme and instead of not contacting for a bit, they reach out constantly. Again, every relationship is going to evolve organically. If you’re sending her four-to-five texts to her one, you should think about scaling back.
A good rule of thumb is to send just one message, and not send another one until she responds. This way you aren’t investing more energy than she is.
I liked it when men I had dates scheduled with would check in with me once a day or every other day until the day of our date. They might send a quick message like, “How was your day?” or “What have you been up to?” It showed me that they were still interested while not coming across as needy or suffocating.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what does and doesn’t work for men who are trying to date women. Be the best, most authentic version of yourself, and remember that women are still just people. We want to be treated the way you want to be treated, we want you to be clear with us, and we want you to hear us. Avoid all the B.S. advice out there and stick to remembering that she’s a human too.
Previously published on psiloveyou
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Photo credit: by Hian Oliveira on Unsplash