We are a group of GAFfers very much interested in your personal love life. It is our mission to help you find love, get laid, talk to that special girl/guy, or anything else that falls into the spectrum of dating. Basically, we don't want you to be GAFman. We can also help out with relationship advice, though that isn’t our direct forte.
You may ask, why have a whole OT for dating? Given the amount of threads you can see in Off-Topic pertaining to relationships and dating, it seems fitting to have a thread to help with the more… minor scenarios and basic questions of what is an ultimately confusing and emotionally driven aspect of most people’s lives.
Before we talk about dating itself first, though, there’s something important to talk about before you begin on your arduous dating journey. It’s a simple question, really:
Would you date yourself?
You need to be okay with yourself, and what you have to offer before you can pursue in a healthy manner. If you are unhappy with yourself, others will pick up on that, and that’s practically repellent. Not everyone needs to travel around the world, is fluent in 20 languages, or saved a third world country from starvation, it’s more having the confidence and ability to love yourself before you can love another.
What do you bring to a possible relationship? What do you have to offer? Can you share interesting experiences with someone? Are you physically attractive so that you're aesthetically pleasing? Are you highly emotionally intelligent and sensitive to a partner's needs? Are you great in bed? Are you experienced in relationships, so that you know exactly how to support someone? Do you make people laugh?
Far too many people erroneously presume that a relationship somehow completes them, or that a relationship will add value to their lives. Sure, they add value, but only through the mixing of its shared component parts. If you bring nothing to the table, you're going to have a very shitty, codependent, dysfunctional relationship. The stock answer of "But I'll love her!" isn't enough; it's all too often that people with good intentions have terrible execution. And execution matters.
If you’re not in the right mindset to date, that’s okay. It’s not the end of your dating life, and you can learn to love yourself so that you can love others. However, that’s not quite our area of expertise… though there are plenty of other places to get help! We have the Mental Health OT that provides a lot of support to others suffering from depression and anxiety, and if you feel you need to whip your body into shape, the Fitness OT is full of friendly macho men and women to help you get started.
Now that that’s out of the way…
While dating and its experiences will be somewhat unique to everyone, there are a lot of common scenarios that many will face while looking for a significant other. Let’s take a look.
Should I/How do I ask them out?
Sometimes the hardest step is the first one. You have a girl or guy you like—maybe longtime friends, or a “love at first site” deal. You want to go on a date, see if the sparks fly, but you’re just… not sure how to do it. Does she like me? Will he laugh in my face? Are they already taken?
The only way to know is to ask them out. The new OT is almost called “just ask her out already” for a reason; instead of anguishing over whether or not it’s the right move, just… do it.
Also, make it obvious that you want a date. Don’t rely on assumptions and ‘signs’ to get your point across. Use the actual word ‘date’.
Bad example: “Hey, uh… I was wondering if you’d like to hang out with me sometime?”
Good example: “Hey, I was wondering if you’d like to go out on a date sometime, maybe coffee on Saturday morning?”
In the bad example, the intentions are very easily misconstrued, and can very easily be seen as someone just wanting to chill as friends. In the good example, it’s quickly established that this is a date, as well as an actual date planned if they say yes.
Wait! What about that cutie in the bookstore? Or the co-worker the next cube over?
Asking someone out in any kind of work setting is iffy, whether you are co-workers or you're a customer pining after an employee.
Let's start with co-workers. The phrase "don't dip your pen in the company ink" exists for a reason--work romances can, like any other relationship, can go south, and as a result it can lead to workplace drama that most would very much rather avoid. Such drama can even cost you your job. The Office is not real life, after all.
That's not to say that relationships that bloom from the workplace are impossible, or that they are destined to fail. The best advice is to tread with caution. If you two work in different departments or different floors, the potential for workplace gossiping (and there will be gossiping) will probably be kept to a minimum. A good rule of thumb: Is this job important to your career? If yes, consider a workplace romance very, very carefully. If no, go for it!
Now, if you're, say, a regular customer and a clerk or cashier catches your eye, it can be really hard to ask them out. They're at work, in a position where (typically) being rude to another person is very frowned down upon. A common mistake is for a person to misinterpret a worker's friendliness and customer service skills as flirting, and asking a worker out while they're at work can make for an awkward situation fast.
But, that shouldn't stop you completely in your tracks. You just need a bit of more subtle way to ask them out, so that you don't make them in an uncomfortable position. Most suggest that the best thing to do is just put your number on a piece of paper and pass it along to them. It puts the onus on them to contact you if they want to go out, but doesn't put them in a bad position if they are not interested.
What’s a good first date?
The best first dates are ones that you can interact with each, and get to learn more about each other. A common misconception about dating is that you have to ‘know’ the person before asking them out, but often times (especially when online dating comes into play), this is not the case. So, usually something like coffee or drinks at a quiet bar is the best option, as it’s cheap and forces the two of you to talk and learn about each other. Movies are generally not recommended, since you can’t talk during movies and any conversation after the movie will probably be about… well, the movie, and not about each other.
I’m nervous! I’m not sure if she’s having a good time…
Remember, body language and tone are important to dating. Learn to both pick up and give out signals, and you’ll do a lot better in the dating realm.
It can be difficult to figure out what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to do with body language during a date, but it’s as they say—practice makes perfect. And it makes you less nervous too.
Your nonverbal communication on a date should be showing your romantic intentions. Playful and casual touching. That should escalate as the comfort level increases. I used to never touch women on dates, and now I'm making physical contact as soon as possible and as often as possible. Be honest with yourself and your intentions, and let that honesty manifest itself through both your verbal and nonverbal communication.
No hover hand, also.
When should I text/ask for a number/call?
In it comes to things like “should I wait x amount of time to text back”, “when should I contact them again”, and so on, there’s no set rule for any of those things. If you want to text someone, you don’t have to wait 4.65 hours in between each text, or something. Go for it!
However, make sure not to come off as too clingy. One big problem seen a lot in this thread basically goes like this:
“I sent my date a text about four hours ago, but she hasn’t responded yet! I’m thinking she’s just ignoring me, it’s frustrating! So, I sent her another message, and I guess I’ll send her another one tomorrow morning, just in case she didn’t get the first few messages.”
Don’t do that. Obsessing over messages comes off as extremely clingy and needy, and oftentimes people aren’t on their phones all day. Clingy-ness can and have ruined long lasting relationships… being too clingy when you first begin dating is one of the quickest ways to get ghosted.
They stopped replying to my messages/ghosted me! Why does this happen, why can’t they say they’re not interested anymore?
In online dating, a lot of times people just… disappear. Everyone’s having a great time, the date was fantastic, and just… *poof*. Gone forever.
This can be immensely frustrating. Many people often take sudden ghosting or even an initial ignore as a slight against them. They wonder if they did something wrong, or why they don’t get any closure on this sudden break of communication.
It’s probably not your fault. There can be a billion different reasons that someone ghosted you, anywhere from ‘they didn’t feel chemistry’ to ‘I don’t feel like talking to you any more’ to anywhere in between. In online dating, neither party is owed a response. Silence is not consent in this situation—if someone ghosts you, it’s time to move on.
As for ‘why don’t they just say they’re not interested’, unfortunately, online dating seems to bring out the worst in some people, that cannot take rejection well. Insults and threats are abound, and unfortunately a few rotten people can ruin it for everyone. Remember that in the end, you two are still relative strangers, and they won’t know how you’ll react to rejection.
This person I really like told me that they aren’t ready for a relationship now, but say they’ll be ready later. I’m going to wait on them.
Please don’t. Remember, in the end you want to make you happy. While there are cases that someone isn’t ready for a relationship and will be later, you have to respect your time. Waiting for another person is simply not respecting yourself. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and waiting for one to decide to be ready is like trying to catch Moby Dick.
Additionally, this is another way many people try to gently reject someone, without explicitly saying ‘no’. See above about how some people don’t take rejection well.
I need to let this person down, but I don’t want to hurt their feelings. What do I do?
When you’re dating, you’re going to run into people that you aren’t compatible with. Don’t let it get you down, it’s just how it goes. But, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, which is a natural reaction to meeting someone you don’t feel romantically compatible with, but think they’re nice otherwise.
Well, honestly the best thing to do is just rip the band-aid off, so to say. If you’ve been on a couple dates, just tell them that you think they’re nice, but don’t feel you two are compatible. The other person’s feelings probably will be hurt, but it’s far better to cut it off when you feel it won’t work out, than to try to keep it going to spare feelings. Oftentimes it just makes whatever is not making it work even more, and fosters feelings of bitterness.
If you haven’t even met up it, ghosting is completely acceptable. You’re not required to give a response, just as others aren’t required to give one to you.
My date flaked on me and left me hanging for two hours, I’m so angry! I’m gonna tell them how I really feel—
No, stop. Getting angry is just being childish at this point. It sucks, and I can understand your anger, but be the better person here, just delete their contact information and move on.
Okay, so, during the date, at 5:52 PM, my date moved her legs 5.7 degrees closer to me, and gave me a slight smile. Right before that I said “so, how do you do”. After that she glanced over at the table next to us and then back to me, then to another table before back to me again. I think I noticed a slight aroma of steak. At 5:55 PM our meal came out and she said “it looks so good!” I’m worried she meant something more than that, last time we went to eat she got chicken and said it looked good, but this time it’s salmon. I’m thinking she’s trying to tell me something. Am I overthinking things here?
I have a lot of questions about online dating, it’s so overwhelming!
I can understand, there’s a lot to online dating, and even stuff that doesn’t apply to typical social norms. Thankfully, my GAF twin Jhoan runs a sister thread to our own, the Online Dating OT thread. While we’re here for more general dating advice, the Online Dating OT is more for the specifics of how to function and succeed in the virtual dating realm. We’ll answer questions of course, but for a lot of things (like profile rating/advice, picture advice, what apps to use, and so on), we generally ask that you go to the Online Dating OT.
Are there any outside resources I can look at for dating advice?
Of course! Not all of them are good, though. Good thing we know what we're talking about and have some stuff to show you:
Fuck Yes or No by Mark Manson
The Brad Pitt Rule by Brett and Kate McKay
10 ways to have a better conversation - TED Talk by Celeste Headlee
Modern Romance by Aniz Ansari
Be the Person You Want to Find by Cheri Huber
Models by Mark Manson
Shyness: What it is and What to do about it by Philip Zimbardo
The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book about Relationships by Neil Strauss
Also, feel free to look at the old OTs, which have a lot more great advice!
|OT1| |OT2| |OT3| |OT4| |OT5|
Bonus Round! How to Dress Yourself
We here at Dating GAF want to succeed at dating and relationships, and a lot of the hurdles can come from the first date itself (and getting to that first date). With the first date, you really want to make a good impression… and a big part of that is knowing how to dress well. We are primarily a gaming community, so we get a lot of people in here that don't believe in 'fashion' and that their gaming graphic tees and 10 year old sneakers are all they need in life, but we're here to tell you that's a terrible mindset and you're just setting yourself up for bad first impressions.
First off, read this fantastic article on Men's fashion. Also check the Men's Fashion OT. It'll help you give some good guidelines on what's good to wear in a casual-ish setting (hint, it's not cargo shorts). When dressing for dating, it's important that you dress well—typical at home loungewear generally doesn't cut it. It leaves a bad impression, that you can't bother to spend ten minutes putting on a decent outfit for your date. That said, you don't want to overdo it either… showing up to a coffee shop or bar in a full suit isn't really appropriate.
The most important thing to realize is that you have to buy WHAT FITS. Not just something that'll make do, but clothing that actually fits and complements your frame. This isn't the easiest process, and you might have to even get some nicer items tailored to you. This takes time and effort, trying on clothes and finding what brands work for you. It can even be discouraging, but once you finally get down what works for you and what doesn't, shopping for clothing becomes a much easier process.
Also, don't neglect your shoes! While they may not seem important, bad looking, dirty, or worn down shoes can clash with an otherwise stylish outfit and ruin the entire look. Again, check the Ashley Weston article above for good essential recommendations.
Our GAF regulars have a few recommendations as well:
There are clothing subscription boxes that send outfits to you and you can try them on to see if they're to your tastes. If you don't like them or they don't fit properly, you can send them back! Here's an article with a few options at different price ranges.
Also here's an article on creating a minimalist wardrobe. It's a nice read in conjunction with the essentials article above—it can be overwhelming redoing a whole wardrobe but if you're smart about it, it can be easier than it looks… and cheaper! Oh and here's another recource to look at. There's a lot of them!
Additionally here are some good starter places to shop at, with their own distinct price points, depending on your budget:
Finally, bonus tips:
- Remember basic hygiene. Shower, shave or trim your facial hair, make sure your nails are trim and don't have dirt under them.
- If you use cologne, just a spray or two, don't overdo it. Don't use Axe, the commercials are lying to you.
- I don't care if you think you smell fine, just take a shower. Make sure your clothes are wrinkle free and clean as well.
Now that you've MOST DEFINITELY read the whole OT, enjoy the rest of the thread and the "charming" company of our regulars. Good luck out there!