I know what you’d like me to say right now. When it comes to the rules of dating, there’s only one rule: There are no rules.

If only it were that simple, right? Don’t worry, though. What I’ve got here for you is just as cool, I promise.

Times have changed (thank goodness), and the dating rules have been upgraded accordingly. What used to be considered the norm now is outdated dating advice that serves you no good.

We’re going to stay as far away from that as possible.

Today, we’ll focus on making your first date a success and help you say goodbye to online dating once and for all (which means deleting all those tiresome dating apps ASAP).

I know I don’t have to tell you how complicated modern-day dating can be. Connecting with someone and creating an exclusive relationship without budging on your healthy expectations can be a challenge.

Also, once you finally meet the one, I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your relationship off social media.

There are just so many ways it could backfire. We live in a social-media-crazed world right now, so isn’t preserving your privacy more important than ever?

To me, a healthy relationship means keeping your dating life to yourself. That way, you can create a serious relationship that’s no one’s business but your own.

The rules of dating that I’m about to discuss are a stepping stone to getting just that.

They aim to help daters put themselves first and explore modern dating before they’re ready to leave the dating scene and enjoy their relationship to the fullest.

I’m no dating coach, but having been through one too many hook-ups (plagued by so many red flags), I feel comfortable sharing some handy dating rules.

Never live through a hellish first date again by sticking to these rather simple rules of modern-day romance.

See also: Here’s What To Talk About On A First Date (& 7 Topics To Avoid)

Unspoken Rules Of Dating You Should Follow

New to the dating scene? Sick and tired of matchmaking through Tinder and Bumble?

Worry no more! Follow these revolutionary tips and make your next date SO much more relaxing.

Date as many people as you want (and get it out of your system)

romatic dating couple with the man talking about the wine and the woman listening

Play the field before emotionally investing in someone for the rest of your life. Dating is a journey, not a destination (that part comes after you’ve circled the dating scene first).

So, what’s my point? Date as many people as you want. Date MULTIPLE people at the same time if that’s what you want.

Don’t deny yourself any type of pleasure. Dating is fun; it’s not a chore. My rules of dating are all about liberating yourself from what people might think and doing what feels right for you.

Date men, women, or whoever you want. Do stuff you normally wouldn’t, and don’t be afraid of taking a risk.

Get it all out of your system before you’re ready for the next stage. And guess what? You’re the only judge of when that is!

Clean out your emotional closet before pursuing a connection

young couple dating in a cafe smiling and laughing in an outdoor cafe

Once you decide you’re ready for the pursuit of ‘the one,’ be sure to leave all your emotional baggage at the door.

To have a happy, healthy relationship, you need to be free of whatever your past relationships have caused you. All the insecurities, pain, and self-doubt your ex left you with, face them head-on.

Whatever you do, don’t get into a new relationship (especially a long-distance one) without resolving your past issues.

Sooner or later, they’re going to catch up with you and implode. Trust me. I was on the receiving end of it once. It’s not pretty.

Do yourself (and your potential partner) a favor and work out whatever needs resolving before entering a new romance.

Modern dating can be all kinds of fun, but only if you wipe the slate clean before starting it all anew.

If you’re into someone, don’t be afraid to make the first move

couple talking outdoors dating and biking in the autumn park

I can tell you this with absolute certainty. You’ll never regret making the first move. Not even if you get rejected now and again.

Why? Because it gives you much-needed courage.

You’ll start feeling more capable than ever, and the fear you may have felt before will wither away. What used to seem impossible will now be the most normal thing ever.

Sure, it won’t always result in a date, but that’s just the reality of the dating world. We ALL deal with this, so it’s silly to let it discourage you.

Your next date could only be a phone call away. If you have their digits, call them up. You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain. What’s the harm?

See also: Top 10 Rules Of Casual Dating You Simply Have To Follow

Always be upfront about your expectations

dating couple in bar sitting by the counter with some people at the background

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through online dating and random hook-ups, it’s this: Never go into it with false pretenses. It always finds a way to bite you in the ass.

Sure, some people won’t be on the same page as you, but that’s kind of the whole point. To weed out the no-goers and see who’s on your wavelength.

Not everyone wants the same thing out of a date. Some are into superficial flings (totally okay), some want to find a spouse FAST, and some want a long-lasting romance that can go the distance.

It’s always a good idea to be upfront about these things. Otherwise, you might fall head over heels only to soon find out they’re not looking for anything serious.

Don’t be afraid to speak about what you expect. People have the right to know, and you’re less likely to be left heartbroken.

Go for someone who isn’t your ‘type’ and see what you’re missing out on

cropped image of a dating couple in coffee bar

Don’t wait for Cupid and his matchmaking skills to toss the perfect person into your orbit. This is real life, not a movie.

Dating apps have taught me one thing. Guys I’d normally give a hard NO to, ended up being quite interesting choices. So don’t necessarily stick to what you know. See what else is out there!

You’d be surprised how many intriguing people are out there who you’d never consider giving a chance to.

Let this be a new journey. Let it take you where you’d never normally go. Forget about your type and go for anyone who might seem like they have something to offer (intellectually, emotionally, but also physically).

Life starts outside of your comfort zone. I think it’s high time to start exploring it.

DON’T discuss past relationships early on

dating couple enjoying coffee and chatting indoors

This is a major red flag, but I’m sure you’re already aware of that. Either way, it never hurts to double-check.

Keep the ex-files in the drawer where they belong. Nobody likes listening to their date ramble on about their toxic ex.

While your pain might be legitimate, wait for a reasonable amount of time to pass before bringing it up. If this person is worth the bother, there’ll be a time and place to discuss these matters.

Until then, keep it on a more casual level and slowly uncover more about them.

If they habitually flake on you, lose their number

woman looks intently at her phone and relaxing on the red couch inside livingroom

Believe anyone who keeps proving to you that they’re not worth your time.

Things come up, and plans get postponed. It happens. But if this person seems to flake on you more than they follow through, lose their number.

They don’t care much about you and your time. Don’t give them the chance to keep playing you for a fool. You’ve got better things to do.

See also: First Date Questions: 210+ Questions For First Date Success

It’s about how they pursue you, NOT how quickly they pursue you

young man looking at his phone standing at the city street

Here’s something worth knowing: It’s not about how quickly they respond, but HOW they go about it.

If they make you wait a whole week before they hit you up with a follow-up text, and it ends up being just “Heyyyyy,” they’re not worth it.

However, if they take the same amount of time but offer a reasonable (and not far-fetched) explanation as to why it took them so long, give them a chance.

People are busy, and sometimes a week goes by just like that. If they seem like they care about seeing you again, they probably do!

Anyone can type up a one-syllable text a week too late. But a legitimate text about wanting to see you again means a lot, no matter how many days it took them to send it.

See also: 17 Creative Third Date Ideas To Make Your Date Memorable

Don’t put out on the first date (wait until you know their intentions first)

pensive woman sits on the bed wearing a big hoodie with hand on her face

Wait a bit before inviting them over to Netflix and chill.

If you’re into a serious relationship and all they want is to get some, it might not be the best idea to put out immediately, as it’ll leave you hurt.

However, if you’re looking for a fun fling, by all means, do whatever the heck you like!

Just make sure not to do anything rash that might end up biting you in the ass. It’s smart to know their intentions before taking it too far. At least in my experience.

Treat dating as a fun experience, not an interrogation process

beautiful couple dating laughing and working at the same time in an outdoor cafe

I’ve already said this, but I’ll say it again. Dating should be fun. Sure, these rules of dating might make it seem not so, but don’t be fooled. These are here to make the process MORE enjoyable.

I’m not telling you to go on a date with a list of questions and follow them blindly. There has to be some spontaneity.

It’s great if you want to be prepared, but don’t let it overtake the majority of your date.

Have fun, ask follow-up questions, and see where the conversation organically goes. IF it doesn’t seem to go anywhere, resort to your prepared dating questions and see if they help it move along.

See also: 16 Eye-Opening Things To Know Before Dating A Widower

Keep your phone in your pocket during the date

young couple drinking red wine during a date in a restaurant

I can’t stress this enough: Don’t keep your phone on the table for the duration of your date. It’s rude, and it’ll make your date feel that they’re not important enough.

Keep it on vibrate and put it in your purse or pocket. You want to pay attention to your date and what they’re saying.

That’s hard to do if your phone is on the table and it keeps going off. Manners never go out of style, and people appreciate these little gestures.

If the date doesn’t go well, you’re free to get up and leave after giving it a solid chance. But before you do that, make sure you were present and invested in the conversation.

Always be authentic (don’t put on a front)

young couple on a date drinking wine near the bar counter

As cliché as it sounds, always be yourself. That way, your date knows exactly what they’re getting themselves into!

Joking aside, you don’t want to build a romance under false pretenses. Putting on a front and constantly pretending to be someone you’re not won’t do any good.

Not to mention how tiresome it gets. Isn’t it just easier to be unapologetically yourself and let your date get to know the real you?

No one is perfect, and no one expects you to be. Just be who you are because that’s all anyone could hope for. Also, I’m saying this from personal experience, stay away from married people.

The rules of dating a married man (or woman) are a whole other story. Like all modern-day, kickass individuals know, barking up a married person’s tree seldom brings good news.

Been there, done that, DON’T recommend it. So, just stick to the singles, and give it an actual shot.

Don’t stress about meeting the perfect person right off the bat

beautiful young couple looking at the smartphone during a date with lights in photographic effect

It takes time and lots of practice. It’s highly doubtful that you’ll meet your perfect person on your next date.

If you’ve carefully read these dating rules, then you probably understand why that is. You can’t build a lasting connection right off the bet. These things take time to build.

Enjoy those first dates and try to make each one of them count. They might not end up what you wanted, but they’ll give you a great chance to see what you’d like in a person.

When you least expect it, you’ll meet someone who’ll finally seem like the real deal. They’ll check all the boxes, and the vibe will be on a whole new level.

So, don’t stress about how long it takes. Enjoy the process, knowing that it’ll all be worth it in the end.

DON’T stalk them on social media

romantically clasping hands of the dating couple inside a cafe

Why? It takes the mystery out of the equation! It’s so much more gratifying getting to know them as you go along.

If you’ve already done your research and know everything there is to know about their family tree, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Give THEM a chance to tell you their story.

You probably already have preconceived notions that aren’t allowing you to give them a real chance.

There’s more to people than what their social media accounts say. There’s more to people than what people tell you.

If you want this to work, you need to hear everything from them. You wouldn’t want them to judge you based on something they’ve stumbled upon online, right?

Dating is only fun if you get to know them bit by bit, allowing for elements of surprise. This is an experience, not a project.

Go at your own pace and resist the temptation to have an entire binder on them. That sucks the fun out of the whole thing.

See also: Find Out If You Should Post Your Ex On Social Media & MUCH More

Trust your gut feeling

multicultural couple dating in the cafe with blueberry cheesecake and coffee on table

Last but not least, ALWAYS trust your gut feeling. It’s there for a reason.

It doesn’t matter how awesome this person appears on paper. If your gut is telling you something’s off, believe it.

Sometimes, it’s hard to explain these things. You meet a person, and they seem to check off everything from your ‘list.’ They should be a good fit, right?

But something just doesn’t feel right. There’s no vibe, or better say, you don’t feel that ‘click,’ but since they fit your criteria so well, you keep giving them chances. DON’T.

If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. They might be a perfectly nice person, but just not perfect for you! And that’s okay.

Wait for someone who’ll want to show you off. Someone who won’t be able to keep their hands off you. Someone who’ll gush about you to their friends without holding back.

When you meet someone like that, you’ll see why it never worked out with anyone before.

Life’s too short for a half-assed romance. Either they’re all in, or they’re out the door (there’s NO in between).

See also: 21 Signs Of A Good First Date & How To NAIL The Second One

Put Yourself Out There – No Risk, No Fun!

couple in the breakwater talking during the sunset

It’s very simple, really. The rules of dating are here to help you have the most enjoyable experience possible.

When you think about it, they’re kind of common sense. Why? Because the ultimate goal is putting yourself first and getting the most out of the dating experience.

Why not date multiple people before you’re ready to settle? Why not go for someone you wouldn’t normally look at twice?

That’s the whole beauty of it. Take those tiny risks and see what you’re missing out on. If you don’t, you’ll never know the fun you might’ve had.

What I want you to take from this article is that it’s all about you. If you’re not feeling it, leave.

If you can’t be yourself around them, stop wasting your time. And if you’re into someone, make the first move!  It’s 2020, for Goodness’ sake. If not now, when?

See also: Beach Date: 10 Things You Must Know For A Fun, Successful Outing