For the past week, I’ve been asking people advice on how to pursue other humans, and how to be a good partner. This is what I’ve collected. If you have any other advice, please share it in the comments!
When you’re dating:
Be upfront about what you’re looking for.
Don’t worry about tricks or strategies.
Be okay with rejection. Rejection sucks, but never let it make you resentful. Being resentful of one woman or man can easily lead to being resentful of women or men in general.
For online dating, be unique and put some effort into it. There are so many “Hey” messages, and that’s all they say. I mean, come on!
Respond to messages within 24h: text, email, Facebook, whatever. Respond!
On a first date, keep it light and have an escape plan.
When things get steamy for the first time, be sure to have at least 20 minutes of foreplay.
If you put effort into being a good person and expanding your social circles, dating will be easier.
Don’t be afraid to say ‘I like x and y or z.’ Being open about one thing allows us to be open about more things.
Sometimes a drink can really help to ease the tension, especially if you’re nervous about something. Drinking too much can have undesired effects, so know your limit.
Screw the dating script. There is no “right way” to behave on a date. It is not necessary that a man always pays for dinner or that a woman shows her interest by batting her eyelashes or parting her legs.
When you’re with someone:
Do the dishes: if there are fewer things on the ‘to do’ list you are more likely to have someone’s full attention when attempting to engage in sexual activity.
Be thoughtful enough to surprise your partner, and observant enough to know how they take their coffee.
Social media is your ally and your enemy: know how everyone involved wants to be seen on whichever platforms you are using. Since you’re dating, you should know how much the other shares and is comfortable putting out there. It can get uncomfortable and/or awkward if someone posts way too much.
Saying hi or checking in is always nice, even just to remind the other you’re thinking of them. Beware of going overboard: this is one instance in which communicating wants and needs is important.
Do things that are new to one or more of you.
Do things that you love to do so you can share it with a person you like. This shows that you’re interested in including someone in your life and it can make a really big difference in your relationship. You don’t have to enjoy all of the same things, but there should be some things that you like to do together.
Go out of your way to help your partner, but please, please have your own ambitions, your own plans, and the confidence to carry them out.
It’s okay to have a very high sex drive. It’s also okay to have a very low sex drive. It’s most okay to find someone who is willing to meet your needs, and even whose sex drive lines up with yours. If the drives don’t line up and you’re okay with it, figure out ways to have everyone’s needs met.
Try new things! In the bedroom, with friends, as something romantic, whatever; just, try doing and experiencing and looking at new stuff.
A monogamous relationship is 3 people: You, Me, and Us. Don’t lose one of the three along the way.
Break up; don’t do the fade away. Some people think it’s easier, but it’s cruel and drags it out.
Share your feelings.
Be a feminist. Equality is sexy.
Be honest. That doesn’t mean that you need to share every single thing that you’re thinking or that happens, but you will all be happier and healthier if you are open and honest.
Don’t be afraid to say no.
Be yourself, your genuine self. Don’t try to impress someone by paying bills or acting tough if that’s not you.
Don’t play games: love is not a sport with a winner and a loser.
Learn how to talk to people: not just women, because women are people.
Take a deep breath; no one likes to be suffocated.
Don’t try to change the person.
Don’t expect anything.
Tell people how you feel about them often.
Consent: ask before you kiss, touch, etc. A friend recently said this works for them: “I’d like to kiss your face. Is that something you’d be cool with?”
Don’t try to control the person.
Communicate!!! Often, no holds barred, about all kinds of things.
Funny is sexy. So is dorky. Don’t be ashamed of your weirdness!
Non-verbal communication is just as powerful as verbal communication.
Respect someone’s decisions. If you’re going to question, do so respectfully.
Know your values.
Be confident in your choices, but value your partner’s opinions.
If you’re feeling jealous, try to figure out where it’s coming from. Chances are it stems from some sort of insecurity or the loss of control.
Expect to learn a lot about yourself and others.
Don’t stifle growth.
SO MUCH can be said with tone of voice. Be aware of what you use and what you hear.
Don’t make assumptions, such as those above.
Listen and stop whatever you’re doing when someone says no. This can be super useful in sexual situations: knowing that a partner will change behaviour immediately upon hearing ‘no’ can allow for more trust, greater sexual exploration and bring people closer emotionally. And ‘no’ doesn’t have to mean stop altogether; sometimes it simply means to change one aspect of whatever it is you’re doing.
“Allow both yourself and your partner to be your own individual people. A common contributor to the demise of a relationship is the idea that there is someone “perfect for you.” No one is perfect for you; only you are perfect for you. Now, don’t get me wrong: compromise is a beautiful thing that adds that much more to a partnership, but I do believe very strongly in seeing your partner as their own person independently of you.
Here’s the thing: you will never own or control someone’s identity. A great myth of humanity (and the human ego) is that we are entitled to define other people’s identities. Just because I have known Julia for several years now, does not mean that I have the right to see her as a fixed creature that I will always “know” perfectly. Human beings are constantly growing, changing, evolving, and learning – we must step back and let this happen. People exist beautifully before they come into our circle and they will exist beautifully after and if they leave that circle. The only true agency we will ever have is agency of ourselves. Would I say that I know my sister and my parents pretty well? Absolutely. But do they still surprise me now and then? Definitely.
As for how this relates to dating, if you see your relationship as parallel lines that just happen to walk to almost entirely the same beat, then you will always remember that there are two or more lines and not demand that they turn into one. Our paths will cross the paths of thousands of other people, some for a longer period of time than others. The best part is when we are lucky to find another path that wants to snuggle right up to ours as it travels a very similar and compatible journey. We must avoid, however, latching on to that path in such a way that we become upset when there are slight differences in each path. Most people’s paths go an entirely different direction, so I invite you to be happy when you find a path that still seems to be right beside yours even if it looks a little different than yours. No two people are the same, and this is a beautiful thing that makes the world go ’round. Enjoy embracing the differences, and be that much more grateful for how many similarities there still are.
Go and be your beautiful selves, superstars! If I could wish only one thing for you in this moment, it would be this: find someone who asks you who you are, listens when you tell them, and falls more and more in love when you show them. You are so worth it.” – My dear, dear friend, Mark
So there you have it, friends! Big takeaways: be honest, stay true to yourself, and go for what you want – whatever it may be. Also, keep fit and have fun (Body Break!)! 😉