Having spoken to many singles over the past 20 years, I've certainly come to understand some of the dating approaches that work and some of those that don't. Everyone will have their own style and strategy, and it needs to be authentic and genuine if it's going to work.
Having said this, there are particular things that all singles need to avoid if they're going to improve their chances of meeting Mr or Miss Right. Here are 10 key dating bugbears to stay away from:
1) Coming on Too Strong
It might sound like a great idea to pursue your new love interest with urgency, but it always ends up back-firing. Texting and ringing too much, pushing to meet their friends and family, and expressing strong feelings for them will only end up scaring them away.
2) Not being prepared to travel
Dating requires you to get outside your comfort zone and to be flexible. If you're not prepared to travel and to make a real effort to catch up then the whole dating process will become too difficult and it will ultimately fizzle out.
3) Close ended communication
There's nothing more frustrating than short close ended messages. The person on the receiving end of this will feel like it's one-way traffic and will eventually lose interest. (Them) Hi, how you doing?; (You) Hey (Them) What's been going on? (You) Nothing; (Them) You got anything planned today? (You) Not sure (Them) I was thinking I could drop by and catch you for a coffee. You around? (You) Not sure..
4) Talking about your ex
It's never a good idea to bring up your ex too much in the early stages of dating. It sends the wrong message to your new love interest. They'll think you're not over them, that you've got too much baggage, and there's an ongoing competition between them and the ex.
5) Being rude to wait staff
There's no greater turn off than general rudeness and being a bully to wait staff. Manners are very important in terms of making a good first impression. So treat the hospitality staff around you with respect and kindness. Take the time to be polite and show people that you are considerate.
6) Argumentative/ always right
Dating is about getting to know each other and exploring likes and dislikes, beliefs and values, goals and dreams. You're not there to prove your partner wrong and put them in their place. Remember, dating is not a point scoring opportunity, but rather a chance to understand one another, learn and see if you're a good fit together.
7) Being a sex pest
Talking about your sexual fantasies, constantly bringing up the topic of sex, trying to touch your new partner in public, and pressuring them to have sex early on is a turn off. Being a 'sex pest' doesn't increase the levels of intimacy in your relationship, it pours cold water on things. It also suggests you're only looking for casual not serious.
8) Being scared of commitment
If you're genuinely looking to find a long-term partner, then you need to send out the right messages early on. That means when you meet someone hold back on saying things like 'I'm not looking for anything serious.' 'I'm really bad at relationships.' 'I don't know if I'm ready right now.' 'I'm really busy and have a lot on my plate at the moment.' 'I'm just coming out of a bad break-up and still processing things.' This will very quickly put on the brakes, and it tells your new love interest that you're scared of commitment and they need to be wary.
9) Poor punctuality and sloppy appearance
An absolute double 'no - no' in the dating game! First impressions count and one of the quickest ways to tell if someone is keen and putting in the effort is when they show up on time and looking great! If you're late and you haven't put any thought into your grooming and appearance then you're starting on the back foot. So get prepared and know exactly where you need to be, at what time and wear something that makes an impact.
10) Bad phone etiquette
Technology has completely overhauled and improved the way singles meet and connect with one another. However it has also become a big obstacle for dating in terms of distractibility. There's nothing more frustrating for your love interest than to see you head down in texts, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram while they're trying to have a serious conversation with you. It leaves them feeling rejected, unimportant and embarrassed. So manage your phone carefully when you're dating, and make sure that you're always paying them attention and staying in the here and now.
John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on the hit show Married At First Sight, and on Ch 9’s Today show, Today Extra and A Current Affair. He is a best-selling author, regularly appears on radio and in magazines, runs a private practice in Sydney, and is a sought after speaker. (www.johnaiken.com.au)