6 Unwritten Rules for Dating a 20-Something

06/30/2015 12:47 pm ET | Updated Jun 30, 2016
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The Supreme Court has ruled, and now love is indefinitely in the air! With love brewing across the country, I thought this would be an appropriate time to have a little crash course on dating.

Dating is, in one word, stressful. The whole getting-to-know-someone process mixed with "trying to act the part" so you don't look crazy has gotten a bit out of control. I remember when the movie, He's Just Not That into You came out, unfortunately so many people could relate to the struggle of establishing romantic relationships. Following the unwritten rules of dating is intimidating and overwhelming. Let's explore.

1. Text turnaround time.
I think it is safe to say most of us have been the one on the other end waiting for a text to come through. To make matters worse, now there is a feature on most phones that shows us when someone is typing (talk about bringing crazy to a whole new level). So, what is the appropriate amount of time to wait before you text a love interest back? Is there a rule of thumb? Is it dumb that we even have to talk about this? Here's what I think -- if you want to text someone, you should. If they don't respond in a timely manner, should you panic? No. However, know that if you are the one "holding out" to text back because you think that's what you are supposed to do you will probably have an angry receiver on the other end.

Some food for thought: Since texting can send mixed signals why not actually talk, like for real? I'm saying you take his/her number, and actually dial it. I know some people say talking on the phone is not their thing, but guess what? That's what you have to do in real life, so why not practice!

2. Making plans.
I am going to make a generalization here about millennials -- making plans is not our strong point. If you plan on asking someone out, you need to give them more than a few hours' notice. I am not sure when this shift was made, but it is nice to have a heads up if you plan on asking someone out. With that being said, people also enjoy spontaneity. Tell your date that he/she should be ready by a certain time and that you have the day or night planned out. It shows you took time to plan something you think they would enjoy... major brownie points in my book!

3. The two-drink maximum on a first date.
I think Patty Stanger of the TV show Millionaire Matchmaker said it best, a two-drink maximum is a good idea, especially on a first date. Being blackout drunk because you were nervous is not attractive (to anyone).

4. Social media.
It is pretty easy nowadays to figure out someone's whereabouts based on their social media channels. When someone is posting on Instagram and not responding to your text messages... that's a tad irritating. Another question -- how long should you wait to add who you are dating on social media? This one is tricky... I would say if you are thinking it is going somewhere, why not? Take that with a grain of salt because once you open up that can of worms there is no turning back. The same goes for your friends adding this person.

4. Don't just talk about yourself.
The whole point of dating is to get to know another person. A nervous twitch for some is to dominate the conversation, and try to fill every awkward silence. Instead, have a few things in your head that you want to talk about, and be ok with a little radio silence. Chances are the other person is equally as nervous as you are. I always used humor or sarcasm in these types of situations because sometimes all it takes is a silly joke to break the ice.

6. Be thoughtful.
The first gift I ever received from my now-husband was a quart of Birthday Cake Remix ice cream from Coldstone. As funny as that sounds, it sealed the deal for me. He had been listening to me and my love of sweets, and surprised me with an inexpensive gift that made my whole day. It really is the little things that matter most!

With all that being said, get out there and do your thing. Remember, life is too short to be anything but happy.