Dating Games: The advice brigade

Our loved ones – especially those who have been married more than 10 years – usually haven’t a clue about dating in today’s world.

advice brigade_521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
advice brigade_521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Because of what I do for a living, many of my single friends – male and female – are constantly asking me for dating advice. A lot of the time, their family and friends have also been asked for advice, or have offered it (being typical Jews, it’s usually the latter).
But when my friends relay to me the advice they have received – and sometimes even followed – I am flabbergasted!
From advising singles to reveal too soon to their dates how they feel, to telling them to lay all their baggage out on the table, our loved ones – especially those who have been married more than 10 years – have no clue about dating in today’s world.
Ask enough people for their dating advice, and eventually you’ll hear contradicting statements.
My favorite is when moms tell their kids to “stop looking, and you’ll find someone.”
Um, no. Actually, not actively looking is detrimental to your dating life. The amount you’re out there looking is directly proportional to how much you’ll date.
If you’re not on one of those Jewish dating websites, or going to a Jewish singles event, or accepting blind dates – or all of the above – then you’re not going to meet anyone.
Only in the movies do people meet on the subway or at the gym.
Sure, it happens in real life every once in a while – but why sit back and wait for love to come to you? Go out there and find it, otherwise you’ll be waiting a looooong time!
The other popular piece of advice I can’t stand is to be “a challenge.”
If you play hard to get, then how will you be gotten? I’m not saying to lay it all out there, but anytime you’re trying to not “try too hard,” you’re going to fail.
When you pretend not to be into someone, your date is going to think just that – that you’re not into him or her. Pretending that you’re always busy will make the other person think you don’t have time, and are not willing to make time for them.
Had I played hard to get with “S,” we wouldn’t be together right now. There wasn’t time for either of us to be a “challenge.” True, I had a flight back to the US scheduled for a week after we met, so we had to act fast and decide if we wanted to take a risk; but you don’t have to have such a deadline looming.
Since I was overseas, I didn’t have the convenience or the time to ask anyone for their advice, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’m sure many of my loved ones would have been skeptical about me moving to Israel after knowing someone for a week, but both “S” and I had to follow our instincts.
I extended my flight on a whim without consulting anyone so that “S” and I could spend more time together. And when he asked me to move to Israel on my last night in the country, I said yes before he could finish speaking. I didn’t need to hem and haw, talk to my girlfriends and my family, or debate the topic – I knew how I felt and how “S” felt, and I was going to dive into the relationship head-first.
No more dipping my toe in the water, I didn’t need anyone to push me over the edge with their advice… I was going to jump in all on my own! In addition, nothing anyone said was going to keep me from moving here. No warning or personal account was going to stop me from following my heart.
Although I have always had my bubbe’s advice in the back of my mind (“Accept every date you’re asked out on”), I often don’t even have the patience to listen to advice from couples who were either married young and don’t have a lot of dating experience under their belts, or were married before the advent of the Internet and cell phones.
The former group doesn’t know what it’s like to be single well into your 20s, or even 30s and 40s, and how desperation starts seeping into your world; the latter doesn’t understand Internet dating, cyber-stalking, caller ID or text messaging.
Without experiencing and understanding those concepts, it’s hard to give advice in this day and age.
If you’re offered advice without having asked for it, or if you ask for advice but totally disagree with the answer, don’t get into it with the other person. It’s not worth it. Merely thank them for the advice and say you’ll take it into consideration.
Married people think that because they’re no longer single, they know it all. But just because a technique worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for everyone else. Even dating experts such as myself get it wrong sometimes.
Singles can give advice left and right – but they’re still single! If they’re not taking their own advice, why should you? Above all else, you need to follow your instincts. All the dating advice in the world won’t matter when you meet the right person, at the right time, and just go with the flow.