Let’s be honest, most of these dating rules are just excuses we’ve told ourselves over the years to avoid the fact that someone we liked simply didn’t like us back. At the end of the day, if you’re into someone, the "rules" don’t really matter. Following the standard dating procedures won’t force someone to like you, but breaking them will certainly help filter out those who don’t. If you, like me, find your old biological clock ticking away more loudly than ever, my advice is this: Spend this new year breaking all the rules that never took you anywhere except back into the questionably stained, black bed sheets of the fuckboy you keep running into at Friday’s happy hour.
Here are 16 millennial dating rules we've convinced ourselves actually matter, and 16 reasons why breaking them in 2016 is a fantastic idea.
16. Wait to text back
While it's true everyone wants what they can’t have, you can’t run away forever. It’s also no fun having to wait two hours to reply with that hilarious quip you came up with on the spot. If you’re quick-witted, you deserve to show that off to anyone willing to text you in the first place. So text with wild abandon, because no one actually believes you’re busy. Half of us idiots “unknowingly” leave our read receipts on anyway, so it’s usually fairly obvious when we're ignoring someone on purpose.
15. Wait to sleep over
If you’re into someone, you want to sleep with them. You know it, they know it, the bartender and the waiter know it. All of your cats know it too. So sleep at their place by the third date, because if you wait too long, they will likely start to wonder if you’re trying to hide something — down there.
14. Be mysterious
We’re often told to avoid oversharing, but if you’re on a date with someone who looks exactly like you ex, just tell them! They’ve probably already lurked your Facebook and Instagram, so they know it’s true anyway. You may as well clear the air. In fact, bringing up the topic gives you the opportunity to rattle off a reason why they are better than your ex in a certain way, and everyone loves hearing that kind of trivia! Be an open book and cut to the chase, because what's the point in slowly introducing them to all the reasons you’re an alcoholic with low standards?
13. Be politically correct
From the time we go on our first play-date until we die, we're reminded constantly we must be kind to others if we're to be liked in return. I'm calling bullshit. If it bothers you that your partner enters every room beer belly first, you should let them know. In the long run, they will be grateful you helped push them toward a healthier lifestyle. You helped make them better! How is that not kind? I argue that the "be kind" rule should be replaced with "be honest." 12. Do not sleep with their friends
Go ahead, be a homie hopper. If things start to fade out, just get with one of their friends. Most people say this is a deal-breaker, but the sense of jealousy and competition it evokes can also fuel great makeup sex. I had a friend sleep with three out of four roommates in a single house. The fourth guy went crazy wondering what he did wrong to get left out and chased her for months, buying her drinks and doing her favors. Smart woman if you ask me.
11. Don’t get too drunk
Get wasted enough so that they have to take care of you. This will tell you if they are a good caretaker or not. Imagine how terrible co-parenting will be with someone if they can’t manage to clean your face after vomiting that last Fat Tuesday’s slush you downed just so you could get the cute pink-and-blue bottle.
10. Don’t “ghost”
It’s definitely rude to ghost on someone, and it’s never the mature thing to do. But some people in this town are going to give you no choice, since the ratio of total weirdos to normal, dateable humans is exceptionally high in South Florida. When the red flags come out, it’s safest to just bounce without explanation. There will also be times when you simply have too many potential hotties vying for your attention at once. After choosing one (or two), what are you supposed to tell the others? “I’m going to table you for now, but wait right here for when my first pick doesn’t work out”? No. You’ll need to avoid any conversation that forces you to cut things off officially so that, if/when things don’t work out with your first pick, you can just shoot them a quick message a few months later saying, “Sorry, I was stuck in a tunnel."
9. Don’t casually hookup without exclusivity
This one is especially hard to follow in South Florida. There are hot bodies walking around everywhere, so why would anyone want to be exclusive? That’s like going to Tap 42 and forcing yourself to drink just one kind of craft beer just because it's the one you tried first. There are like, 100 options on that wall, and there’s a very small chance you picked the best one on the first try. You can’t give away that BF/GF title to just anyone, and if you also can’t hookup without having that commitment, then you better find your soulmate soon or brace yourself for the long dry-spell ahead.
8. Don’t waste your time with a fuckboy/girl
We all know one, and some of us will probably be one to someone else in our lifetime. Fuckboys (and their female counterparts) are definitely irritating, but not necessarily always a waste of time. This year, you should chase someone who isn’t into you, because honestly, what do you have to lose? They already don’t like you enough to introduce you, and you never took them seriously to begin with. A lot of the fun in relationships is in the chase — sometimes, you get the prize, and sometimes you don’t. Use this time to learn a few things from your fuckboy, like how to not give a damn about anyone around you. It could be enlightening.
7. Listen to your friends’ advice
Your friends have hidden motives whether you want to admit it or not. Just because Jessica thinks her boyfriend's best friend is the perfect man for you doesn’t mean he actually is. She just wants you to stop being third wheel and will say whatever she can to convince you he isn’t a racist alcoholic who's currently sleeping with your other friend’s cousin behind your back. Friends can be good for general guidance on relationships, but you should always trust your instincts. Because if your best bro has a bit too strong of an opinion on why you should break up with your girl, it’s probably because he wants to bang her too.
6. Don’t send or respond to late-night texts
Why do we get so offended by a late-night booty call? I’ve got thousands of Facebook friends, Instagram followers, and contacts in my phone. If, out of all of those options, I chose YOU on a Friday at 2 a.m., you should be flattered, not insulted. Most of the dudes I match with on Tinder end up messaging me only at night, either because they only want sex, or because they’re vampires and just woke up. Either way, I almost always respond. It never goes anywhere, because once I’m in my PJ's, it doesn’t matter how attractive you are or how nice your dick pic was — I’m just not interested in "watching a movie" with a stranger. But a little bit of flirting before bed never hurt anybody, right? Give it a try next time you get booty-called during your pre-sleep Instagram ritual. I guarantee you’ll wake up with a bigger ego and better attitude, which is a great way to start any day.
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5. Wait until things are serious to do "serious" things
For those of us who have fun family members or are a bit strapped for rent, it doesn’t make much sense to wait a year or two before introducing them to the fam or moving in together. Rent in Fort Lauderdale is expensive, especially in the places with central air conditioning, so if you've found someone who wants to sleep with you AND split the rent, well then do not pass that up.
4. Don’t be nosy
Next time you’re on a first date, just cut to the chase and ask the real questions: How many people have they slept with? Is your hairy backside going to be a deal breaker? Once you’ve powered through enough boring, going-nowhere, small talk conversations with your dates, you really start to appreciate the ones where you go straight into listing off all your worst habits. But once you get past that stage, you should still remain vigilantly nosy. Because trust me, it’s better to find out your partner is into butt stuff by lurking their browser history instead of waiting for them to accidentally let a finger slip.
3. Don't look for your next date at a bar
Besides the fact that you all like to drink, is it really that surprising you'd find some more substantive things in common with the people you meet at a bar? Being a little bit tipsy also helps increase the chances of you and your new boo breaking rules 15, 11, and 9, which will only lead you on the path to success. Bar lighting is flattering for almost everyone, and you both have the opportunity to bond over how you "never do stuff like this" when you go home together. The soulmate search can be hit or miss at a bar, but since statistically I’ve made the same number of regrettable decisions inside as I have outside a bar, I see no reason to stand by this rule.
2. Don’t send nude photos
In this day and age, we need to be careful where we send our risqué photos, because you never know where they could end up. But, if you're as horrible at sexting as I am, then snapping a few nudies is your only option for digital foreplay. Sending nudes is easier and more fun than sexting because it doesn’t require any actual brain work and the end result includes indisputable evidence on how hot you are. Nudie pics also remove the element of surprise, and this is a win-win for both parties. My after-Halloween-party hookup could’ve been a lot less awkward if I had just sent him a titty snap before. I was dressed up as the "cool mom" character from Mean Girls and consequently had three push up bras for my crush to remove, to his obvious disappointment. Just remember to practice safe snaps, and always cut your face out.
1. Be yourself
This is by far the worst and the most dangerous rule of them all. Without a doubt, you have some horrendous personality traits that should not be forced onto those around you. We’re all works-in-progress, and being yourself isn’t always the best strategy just because your parents told you so. The only reason they told you that is because they didn’t have a solution to the fact that you are annoying as shit. So channel your alter ego whenever you can. No matter how awesome you think you are, remember that Superman still had to be Clark Kent at times to get the girl.