4 Things to Ask Before You Start Dating


The rules of dating are pretty confusing, especially when the definition of “dating” fluctuates between “hanging out” and “hooking up.” But there are some hard-and-fast rules that help build a successful relationship (romantic or not). And they all start with you.

So, Smart Girls, are you ready to date? To help you decide, ask yourself these four questions.


Why am I dating?

Maybe your crush finally asked you out. Or you want to meet new people. Or dating just sounds like fun. There are plenty of reasons to date, and yours might be different from your friend’s. Ask yourself “Why am I dating?” so you can figure out what you want from the experience.

Think about all the decisions involved in going to college. Before you even apply, you have to decide if you’re ready to enroll in time-consuming classes, live away from home, and make friends with completely new groups of people. If you’re applying for a job, you have to know its duties and if you’re willing to take them on. If you’re not ready for college or a job, you wouldn’t say yes to an offer.

The same goes for dating. Don’t jump into a relationship you can’t commit to, or fall for someone who is hiding something from you. Once you know what you want from dating, you’ll know who to say “yes” to (and who to avoid like the plague).


What are my boundaries?

As Smart Girls writer Mimi Warnick pointed out, confidence rears its head in many ways. It shows in how you handle compliments and criticism, and how you react when something doesn’t go as planned. It shows in the way you treat others, and the way you let others treat you.

So, Smart Girls, remember this golden rule of dating: Always expect from others what you expect from yourself. If you have boundaries, tell the person what those boundaries are. Maybe you want to go on multiple dates before you open up. Maybe you’re dating around, and you don’t want anything serious.

Confidence comes from knowing what you want and sticking to it. When you start dating, be clear with your boundaries. The only people worth your time are the ones that respect them.

What are my priorities?

You know how it feels when you have a new crush—that rush of excitement when a special someone texts you back or finally asks you out. Don’t get hooked on that rush! If you do, you risk slipping into a dating cycle that shuts out your friends, family, and responsibilities. You don’t want to fall behind in school or ignore your friends because you’re spending too much time with your new flame. If you two don’t work out, you’ll have a hard time making things up later. You might find that your friends aren’t so welcoming when you start calling them again.

Even though dating can be a thrill, don’t get caught up in the game. Remember your priorities, so that if the relationship ends tomorrow, you can pick yourself up and move on.


Am I shooting for the moon?

You don’t walk into your first job thinking it’s the one and only job you’ll ever have. You don’t start a test thinking it will make or break your entire future. You shouldn’t do the same for dating.

Don’t set your expectations so high that you’re devastated if they don’t work out. If you’ve got a crush on someone who never asks you out, just let it go. If they do ask you out, but the dates go nowhere, let go of your disappointment. You can’t force a relationship to work, but you can go into dating with a positive attitude. So, whenever you decide to date, get out there with confidence. You can always learn from whatever comes your way!

Thank you to Instant Checkmate for providing us with this important information!

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