Rules of Dating

You may not know this: I am not one who operates under some of the social norms and rules of dating and playing the game. This is mostly because I don't know them. Hahaha. Also, when we submit ourselves to select standards of when to call, when not to call, what it means if you call too soon or late, what to say, how much to say, what not to say or think, and et cetera, we don't completely and honestly represent ourselves right away. We start off being something else, operating under others rules, and then gradually become ourselves afterward. I honestly don't know the game and its rules. I operate under instinct, reason, kindness, and the commands of our Lord.

What you see below is my psychology when I enter a friendship or dating relationship. These are rules I petition myself to follow.


I like to start any new friendship or relationship with optimism. If you're not going to start with a positive attitude, you've already started at less than 100%. It's like going to the gym thinking "man, this is going to hurt" or "I'm tired; this is going to suck". You're coming in with a defeated attitude. For some, it's a matter of others. "Oh, I don't know. I don't like people. You can't trust people. They're not reliable." "You just can't trust guys these days. They're all a bunch of creeps." All you're doing is introducing negativity into what could be a wonderful thing. Start out thinking, "This has the potential to be great!" or "It could or could not work, but I'm going to give it my best."

When I start off meeting someone, I see the person objectively. I know the person isn't going to be perfect, for no one is perfect but the Lord. However, I tell myself she is going to be a cool person. We might not completely connect simpatico immediately, but in time we'll build a real friendship and connection. I'd like to get to know who this person is. Perhaps we'll have a nice bit in common and can do a lot of things together. This can and will be fun. I visualize hanging out, going to the movies, eating and talking, and doing our respect hobbies individually, and sharing our results. Some might see that as naive or setting one's self up for disappointment. However, if you come in expecting something positive, you introduce positive energy into the potential friendship. If you come in with no expectations or not caring either way, you come in empty-handed and are more likely to leave empty-handed. If you come in suspecting something negative, you will be introducing negative and it is doomed from the beginning. I should also point out that if you're starting out expecting negative, entering such a friendship or relationship is highly illogical. Why enter something if you expect negative results? It's like expecting the Detroit Lions to lose against the New England Patriots, but betting a month's wage on them anyway. It is better for the other person if you don't become their friend or otherwise; for those who enter with a negative attitude come out with less, and so does the person with home they entered the friendship or relationship.

So, Rule One is enter with a positive attitude or don't enter at all.


The first rule lays the foundation for the rest of the experience. A person with a positive attitude is more likely to communicate positivity. How you express yourself makes a significant difference in how the other person is going to feel. How the other person feels is a critical component in friendships and relationships. If I do not express myself in a polite, open, and accepting way, the other person may not feel comfortable. I know this, as in the past, I have not always expressed myself that way and the individuals did not feel comfortable. If you don't care what other people think or how the other person will feel when you express yourself, why do you want to be this person's friend? True friends take their friends' feelings into consideration. They're still honest with them, and may say hurtful things if necessary; however, that honesty is a part of their care.

Be polite and don't be rude. The Lord gave us one golden rule, and that is to love one other as you would love yourself. Treat people as you would like to be treated. Now, if you're a masochist--unfortunately, many are--be aware of that and make others aware of that when you're connecting.

Be willing and able to communicate and reciprocate kind gestures. If someone takes the time out of their day to wish you a nice day, you say thank you and return the gesture. That person is expressing a kindness, a blessing. If someone asks how your day is going, and they sound genuine about it, that is a good thing. That is care. There are too many people who take such things for granted. Others out there wish a person would address them in the morning with hellos and good mornings and morning beautifuls. There are people who would love to have someone to confide to about what's going on in their day. They want to say something to someone, but sometimes you can't tell the people you work or live with and just want to get it out.

Rule Two is to be the person that expresses kindness and care, and uplifts. If you don't care, why bother being their friend? If you're going to be rude, sit by yourself and figure your crap out.


As has been stated time and time again by many and all, communication is the most important thing in a friendship or relationship. That is because, no matter how positive your attitude is or how much you may care, if you cannot appropriately express it, reciprocate it, or interpret it, you are at a loss. Worst than that, if you can not communicate things appropriately, things can be taken out of context or misinterpreted, and that's where you get confusion and assumptions.

I'm very fond of written and oral communication for different reasons. With written communication, outside of text messaging (which is horrible!), you can put all of your thoughts down, go back over them, make corrections, reiterate select points, and make sure your message is clear before it is provided to the other person. You can do all of this typically without interruption. Written communication is easier to organize and look back on. If you made an error, you can see it and explain it. If there was a misinterpretation, you can go back to it, re-read it, and adjust your previous interpretations. Unfortunately, not everyone is capable to clearly communicating their feelings on page. It is easier for the person to be misleading, as you cannot see facial expressions or hear a voice. In addition, when the person is not there in front of you or over the phone, it is easier for either person to be a coward and rude.

Oral communication is harder. Unless you have an impressive memory, you cannot recall everything that was said by the person. You cannot address every point of what the person said. You cannot easily go back and correct what you said. Your words came out, ut oh. If you speak slowly, pause, and contemplate what you're going to say, that's great. However, unfortunately, we'll more than likely say things before we have deliberated with ourselves the overall message we're intent on communicating. Of course, on some occasions, that can be a plus. Relationships are built on honesty and having the person right in front of you instigates tells. Your heart races faster. You sweat. You can get nervous or feel a rush a passion. It's real and exciting talking. If you two connect, you will communicate with each other so there aren't as many interruptions and you can both relate. You can't necessarily go back to re-read the transcript; however, you're living in the moment.

My strong suggestion is to communicate through phone and email, when not in person. Text only for brief thoughts or simple pleasantries. Get an earpiece and talk over the phone with your hands-free. If you're in the middle of something, don't be worried about long silences. It's about spending time with each other. It's about investing time. If you don't feel like investing time talking to a person, I worry about how much you value that person.

With this being said, I am strongly against text messaging. It limits what you want to say to 160 characters. It forces you to compress your thoughts into too few words. If you're a skilled wordsmith, it's easier to do. However, there is still a lot of necessary data lost. I've found when you cannot completely express yourself, the other person is forced to fill in the gaps with their own idea of what you're saying. That leads to misinterpretations and assumptions.

When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.

Ask questions! If you do not understand something, ask questions. If you're confused by what someone said, or what it might have meant, ask them! Listen, human beings, if you ask person B what person A might have meant when they said something, what person B believes or says is not equal to what person A meant to say unless person A is a very literal person. Please, for goodness's sake, if you don't understand what person A meant when he/she said something, ask person A what he/she meant. No one except the Heavenly Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and that person completely and truly knows what that person meant. So, ask one of those four, but please do not ask another human being, for they could be more flawed in perception than you, and make an interpretation worse than yours. Worst means further from the truth.

Communication is key! Do not leave your mind to assumptions but listen listen listen, ask ask ask. If you feel you may have said something wrong, clarify yourself. Think on it, then express it clearly. I would rather someone ask me what I said or meant seven times than have them get it wrong. Wrong, in this context, means to think something not true.

It is also important to express your feelings. If someone says or does something that upsets or offends you, you let them know. When you say that, I feel this. When you act in a particular way, it makes me uncomfortable or frustrated. I told someone recently: "Sometimes, when you're not responsive, I feel uncomfortable."

Now, if that person does not want you to know something, ask them why, and remember that not everyone feels comfortable being an open book. If you maintain a positive attitude, care, express kindness, listen, and properly/clearly communicate, things will come out in time.

Rule Three is communicate clearly, listen, ask and answer questions. Most of all, in your communications, be honest.


Now, not everyone operates on the same set of rules or logic. We're all very different people. We're not all going to connect or click. However, the point of these rules is to make the experience pleasant and open for everyone involved. Getting to know others requires patience to their inequities. We all have many. Be patient. Everyone makes mistakes. Apologize and forgive.

As I said earlier, I like to believe that most of us are works in progress. We are not complete. I encourage you to weigh your discomfort and comforts. If you communicate clearly with the person, you will get a general idea as to whether or not you're compatible. If you feel you are compatible, go out, communicate a lot, get along, and don't spend your time cataloging each other's weaknesses. Catalog and help build on each other's strengths. It's much easier to be patient with someone when you see them growing. It's easier to feel accepted by someone they are being patient and supportive.

It is important that both parties feel accepted and wanted by the other. (Don't forget to express how much you adore the person.) There are some things you can't accept or be patient about. When that happens, you communicate it. They'll either be willing to change or have to go. Be patient. Accept them. Help them. Hopefully, your weaknesses and strengths compliment each other. In that case, don't insult them for their weaknesses. Simply accept them and apply your strengths in their weaknesses. When you have a weakness, appeal to their strength and applaud them for it. They will be more accepting of your weaknesses.

Control your ego. You both have flaws. Don't make it a mission to fix them. Make it a mission to constantly improve yourself. Don't make it a mission to show them what they're doing wrong or how much better you are than them. Be correct. Don't make yourself better than them in your mind. Better you think you two are equals, strong in different ways.

Rule Four... no one is perfect but the Lord. Be accepting and patient of others and compliment their weaknesses with your strengths, accept their strength in your weaknesses.


I've been inspired by others time and time again to be a better version of myself. If you don't feel like trying, don't. However, don't look down on others for "trying too hard". What is that? When did wanting to be better and give more become too much? ( People, take a good gesture as a good gesture and don't exaggerate it or turn it into something bad.) Don't stress about how the other person is going to see you. Don't try to impress them, necessarily. Just don't be anything less than your best.

I get frustrated when people don't try to be nice or put forth extra effort to make a positive impression. Everyone wants to be all relax and chill and whatever. If you like me, whatever. If you don't, whatever. Why are you being so nice? My answer: Aren't you supposed to be? Everyone has rough days. However, don't be blah. I don't want blah. I don't deserve blah. Neither do you. You deserve someone who knows they're not perfect, but isn't so settled in their imperfection. You deserve someone willing to put forth the extra effort to be better when they're with you. Male or female.

(I'm not suggesting being ingenuine. If you're not a nice person, I'm not implying that you fake being a nicer person so you can please someone. I'm saying, be a nicer person. Take what you are and turn it up a notch. It'll be better for both of you.)

I get personally offended when someone isn't making an effort to pay my kindness, respect, and care with mutual kindness, respect, and care. I'm a very caring, emotional, nurturing person. I could have just met you, but if I like you, I will see to it any emotional support you need can be tended to. That's me. I'm not expecting the same, but I'm expecting more than blah.

Now, again, I'm an optimist. Sometimes I have my expectations set too high, but I am fairly aware when there is effort and blah. I accept effort. I do not accept apathy, indifference, blah. We all get busy and tired. If you're busy and tired, say so. If you're so busy and tired you can't give any effort, communicate that. There are those who like tending to the busy and tired with tender love and care. Just don't be blah.

Rule Five is be yourself, but your best self. Don't settle for giving less than your best self. If you truly care and value that person (and yourself), you'll show initiative.


Here are the rest of my rules of dating:


Later on, in another blog, I may go into the ideology of love, relationships, and what I would expect and make out of it. A lot of us don't know what we want or what others want. If you cannot see what someone else wants, how can you know whether you two want the same things?

ASK, of course, and TELL what you want. If they agree, they will. If they won't agree, they don't agree.

I hope you enjoyed my long overdue, self-important, but hopefully relevant and helpful rant. Have a great day!


  1. Awesome post, Antuan :) I think you made some very good points, especially concerning how people consider relationships a "game" and "play by the rules." Doing that makes us forget who we are--and who we are is what matters, not the fronts & poses we make to catch someone's attention. I think a lot of relationships fail because both sides put on a show, but when they're finally alone together they realize they're nothing like the other imagined. You said it best: be yourself, but be your BEST self.

    Can't wait for you to go places to I can be like, "I KNEW HIM BEFORE HE WAS FAMOUS!" :)

    Your friend, Jackie


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