1) People will always complain about the dating scene. Always.
No one I know loves the dating scene in any city. I've never met a person who's said "Geez, the dating scene in San Francisco sucks, but, man, Detroit is really where it's at." It's not really a game of shits and giggles for anyone.
2) Dating is a game of luck and numbers.
It's a miracle if you find someone you like, who likes you at the same time, who bathes frequently, has a job, isn't annoying or creepy (and doesn't have cats). A miracle. If you think you've found that person on the first date, ask them on a second date.
3) It's okay if you're not compatible with someone.
Look, not everyone is a good fit. Actually, most people aren’t a good fit. Both science and logic tell us that. Even when I'm well-rested, I'm a sarcastic, adventure-loving introvert who hates the mornings and has random food allergies. And those are my good qualities.
4) If you feel like texting, just do it.
Should you text him? Should you wait three days before contacting her? What should you say?
OH. MY. FREAKING. GOSH. STOP. If you like the guy, if you want to see the girl again, if you're wondering how their weekend went, send them a text already. If you want the other person to respond, ask a question. If you want to say you had a good time last weekend, I recommend the always brilliant “I had a good time last weekend”. If you absolutely must, get feedback from intelligent, well-grounded individuals. And send the freaking text already.
5) Quit obsessing about that text you just sent.
It's 2014. Your smartphone works. If you sent a text/facebook message/email/snapchat assume the other person got it and go about your day. Let's just say I've seen too many normal and fun-loving individuals turn into sociopathic insecure stalkers while waiting for texts. You are strong. You have a life. You can do this. (And on the off chance you don't actually have a life, you might want to give the allusion that you do.)
6) Don't give out your number to someone you don't want to call you.
Why? Because inevitably that someone will call you. And let's just say you pick up your phone (even though you don't recognize the number, which is stupid. Yes.) What proceeds is (at best) an awkward conversation with someone you can't quite remember. At worst, you totally remember the guy and the thought of him makes you want to change your number.** Actions have consequences. I feel like we all learned this in elementary school and conventionally forgot once we turned 21.
7) Don't ignore people.
It's 2014. We KNOW your smartphone works. Don't ignore someone simply because you don't have the guts to tell them you're not that interested. And if you were never interested, then please see #6.
8) If a guy likes you, apparently, you'll know.
It took me forever to figure this out. Literally.*** Forever. There was this one time I hung out with a guy, watched Hitch together, made dinner together at my place…and then was completely blindsided when he told me he liked me. It turns out we were dating, but no one told me. If a guy keeps showing up, if he listens, if he's not married or already dating someone else, if he finds excuses to hang out, then he just might actually like you. Surprise.
9) There doesn't have to be an obvious reason to end things with a person.
Human beings are complicated and there are nuances when two people get together. Sometimes you can tell it's not a good fit but can't quite articulate why. You know what? That's okay. And that's a good enough reason. And yes, it sucks to be on the other side of that explanation. Sometimes it doesn’t work. That’s okay.
10) It’s okay to collect more data.
Sometimes things don’t work out, but you’re not sure why. See #2. And #9. And #3. However, if you’re not sure how you feel about someone, it’s okay to keep
*I was only homeschooled through junior high. My naivety most likely stems from my conservative upbringing and lack of actual dating; the homeschooling is just the icing on the awkward cake.
** Hypothetically speaking, of course.
***And by literally, I actually mean figuratively.