Breaking the Rules of Dating

By Tito Torres

“Bruh, don’t pay if they are not worth it.”

“You think they’re down to hook up??”

“Just meet me there, I’ll see ya”

“Get them to Netflix and chill”

These are just some of the lines that I have heard surrounding dating by some of my friends and their friends at MC. This may sound like I am stereotyping, but I promise you that I am just setting the stage for you.

The truth is that many people at our school don’t really know what they are doing when they get the chance to date someone- especially if they really want to get close to someone.

It’s not their fault, they are new to this, just like you, and they are also still becoming more comfortable with having a social life after the year and a half of Covid life that robbed crucial social development from many of you during high school.

I was that confused and excited young man once too and I remember everything that I felt when I was 19-22. For me, it was exciting, nerve-wracking, and important, but “I can’t make it too important…” right? Right…

I had all the advice from the world’s #1 experts on… video gaming.

But that’s all we know when we are that age because no one really cared to pass their wisdom on to some teenagers, and we probably wouldn’t have taken them seriously anyway because they don’t know what it’s like today. I was wrong about that last part.

Today’s dating world is completely different because of dating apps, but more so because of the way that we desire to be perceived by social media and people in person.

This leads us to be what we believe we should be like, just to be “safe.” In other words, we are controlled by what others may think or how we will be judged.

Even worse, we are controlled by fears of rejection or of not being good enough. As a result, we can come to believe that it’s just better to play it safe to shield us from any embarrassment and disappointment.

But what if you didn’t play it safe? What if you did what you felt instead? What if you showed them what this date means to you and, more importantly, what they mean to you? What if they could see how excited and happy you were to be able to take them out on a date when you thought you didn’t have a shot in hell before?

“OMG! Then they will know that I LIKE THEM! And then they will probably not talk to me because it’s cringe to be too clingy too soon!

They will probably tell EVERYONE too, all their hot friends will know too, and then I’ll never be able to get with anyone afterward! Nope! Not doing that!”

These are known as our intrusive thoughts. They are dialogue in our heads that tell us what to believe as reality when in fact they are not reality at all. These are assumptions that we have made about the outcome of our actions, and while they “could” be true, nothing is real until we make it real.

In reality, it’s all in your head. Seriously. Calm yourself, it’s going to be OKAY. I PROMISE. As a matter of fact, it’s going to be the best date they have ever been on! It’s going to be the best date that YOU have ever been on! You wanna know why? I’ll tell you why, it’s because you are not everyone else.

Women are typically more emotional than men, however that does not mean that men cannot be more emotional than someone you are with too.

A woman’s emotional intelligence is one of her strengths, it will help her discern who she will choose to feel anything for and who she will feel nothing for.

So why in the world would you try to just “be the man!” as I used to believe, when instead to them you could be “their person?” It’s because of our Ego, and we must learn to turn it off and to trust our real selves instead of our egotistical selves.

So how do we do that? Simple, be REAL, be YOURSELF, and express yourself HONESTLY. This means that before we go on the date, our mindset better be right. Are you going out with someone that you really wanna go out with, or is this just a whatever thing?

And if it is, do they know that too? And if it’s a whatever thing, then you are just wasting your time, money, and energy; and worst of all, you are wasting their time, energy, emotions, and

possibly hurting their emotional and mental health. So, ask yourselves if this is really what you want first, hopefully the answer is YES!

Next, ask yourselves this: How do I show them that I really value them and want us to have a memorable time together? The keyword here is “Memorable,” you know why? Because you don’t want them to forget the effort that you are about to put forth for them.

But even more importantly because you believe they are WORTH IT. Thinking like this is how they will know that you value them, and a person who is in tune with their feelings is truly valued by them. They want to feel SPECIAL.

And that does not mean go buy them gifts and spend $200-300 on dinner, it means do all the little things that matter to them and not doing the same things that everyone else does like going to Rio, or staying in Montgomery County for a first date.

To be clear, it’s not a mistake if you do stay in the county, but you know that you could do better if you put forth more effort, and they would notice that too.

First let’s talk about the little things. Offer to pick them up (if you have a car), let them know you value them by being their escort and picking them up and dropping them off.

The plus side to this is more time together in the car, it’s a better way to break the ice and begin to talk if you might be shy or nervous because you are not face to face yet. Many people can speak more freely because of less eye contact which reduces any anxiety or pressure that you may feel.

In addition to that, you can have some nice conversations on the way back home if the date goes well, which will be nice for both of you. It’s also a golden opportunity to tell them just how much you enjoyed sharing time together tonight, which will go a long way by leaving a positive lasting impression.

Another little thing is leading. If there is a crowd, take your person by the hand and lead them through a crowd. Whenever they may feel lost or don’t know where they want to go next, if you can make the decision then you can just offer your hand out and say “come on, I know where we can go” or “I got an idea, come with me.”

Making that hand contact is huge because it can establish more comfort in being around each other. Just do not hold on all the time, be aware of the vibe and also if your hands start to get sweaty because its ok to let go for a bit or until the next time you can lead again.

So where are you going and what are you doing to show her that you value them? And how do I do it on a college student’s budget?

The short answer is “Think outside of the box!” You can Google “Events in my area” or “Unique date ideas in the DMV”. Adopt the following mindset when planning your date: DC, Virginia, Baltimore, and Frederick County are not off the table! These are the places where you should invest some time to look up what’s going on!

That is the kind of effort that will make you stand out from the everyone else, because this kind of effort shows that you value

them, that you care, and that you are not another basic, average, or typical date.

With the internet, you can find so much more, especially if you have some money to spend. While all of these are free, that does not mean that you can’t add a meal or some additional feature to it that may cost a little more.

For example, in DC I would recommend electric scooter rentals for the monuments because it adds an element of excitement and fun to your experience! And if you really want to see something mind blowing, check out the Artechouse in DC for an immersive experience of art and technology all round you.

Buy your tickets in advance, they are about $25 each and it’s located waking distance from the DC Wharf too for more walking around and finding great food to enjoy together.

As I mentioned before, at the end of the date you can openly express how the date went for you and ask them if they enjoyed themselves.

By opening up and telling them that you had such a great time with them really goes a long way towards establishing something more real and it creates more compatibility and connection if you both did enjoy yourselves.

Keep the conversations light and try to think ahead so they do not have to make many decisions except for what they want to eat maybe. It’s not hard to be a wonderful date to someone, you just have to care enough about the other person that it makes you want to put forward the effort to ensure that you both have a great time together.

At the end of the date, if it is not meant to be, that’s ok too, because at least you still enjoyed doing an activity that you picked out yourself and also wanted to do. On top of that, now you know that this place exists and it’s a great future option for when you do meet that special someone.

But for what it’s worth, I hope that sharing wisdom from my experiences gives everyone a better chance at connecting with a person. And also have a chance to share an intimate connection with someone who shares your common vulnerabilities.

We are not that different from each other, remember that! Best of luck to all of you and may you find that special someone to share a great date with!