You want to really know a person? Watch how they act on a date.

Not all dating rules are written down – in fact, the most important ones aren’t – but here’s how you’ll know you’ve broken them: your dating life sucks.

But the reverse is also true. Follow the unwritten rules of dating, and watch your endless string of bad dates transform into “relationship-potential” matches. Here’s how:

  1. Be here now:  being present on your date means staying focused on the person you’re with, even if you don’t feel that initial ‘spark’. The sparks that matter are the ones that build over time.
  2. Be real:  in today’s digital-obsessed world, its easy to start thinking of people as simply online profiles & photos. Don’t. The true essence of your perfect match can never be distilled into words and images – only in the real world.
  3. Slow is the new fast:  everything seems to happen at the speed of light these days – but truly connecting with someone takes the same time it took 200 years ago.  If you’ve met someone you like, hit the pause button on meeting other people and take some time to really get to know them.
  4. Be honest but kind:  leading someone on is not the way to go – but nor is making them feel bad. If you’ve met someone you’re just not into – even if they’re into you – be honest with them, but do it in a way that makes them feel good. A sincere compliment is a good start. Introducing them to a friend, even better.
  5. Device distraction:  I get it, we all love our phones – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But here’s the thing, unless you plan on marrying your phone you’d better start putting it away when you’re on a date. Any questions?
  6. Second date mindset:  instead of going on a date thinking “I’ll only see them again if its a spectacular date.” – try this instead: “I’ll plan on seeing them again – even as friends – unless the date is a complete disaster.” This was an unwritten rule until this moment  – now that you have it in writing, make it happen.