Digital Dating Rules

Fein and Schneider have even enlisted the help of their teenage daughters, to add their own take on romance in an over-connected era. But it's the overuse of technology that is the problem. They're addicted to answering guys back in nanoseconds and they're not getting dates. They're getting more texts and Facebook messages and no dates. A Rules girl is busy and disappears between dates. If you're horrified at the suggestion, clearly you're part of the generation this latest book is aimed at.

For the rest of us, it's a welcome return to anonymity, to relinquishing the constant anxiety over whether you should be publicising how cool you are by tweeting your global positioning reference every time you enter a cool new bar or restaurant. Fein and Schneider also suggest various techniques for leaving an online chat or email chain as quickly as possible, to retain your mystique.

One of these is "my internet is acting funny", which one male acquaintance suggested was about as seductive as Google chatting with his mum. Essentially, The New Rules deals with social media and our increased interconnectivity by ignoring it all and pretending humanity was at a comms high around the time Rapunzel was locked up in that tower. The advice, which ranges from micro-management to maternal instruction, takes the tone of a maiden aunt.

Much of it makes sense — "Don't answer texts or anything else after midnight"; "Don't get wasted on dates"; "Don't relocate because of a guy" — while many chapters, such as "Don't talk too much in the first few weeks", might make the modern woman recoil. The central premise of the Rules is that if a man likes you, he will approach you. Any communication you make independently of that is an initiation of contact that would never have happened were it left up to him.

This, the authors argue, is what means women are disappointed again and again by men who are perfectly happy to accept your advances and all the, ahem, perks they might bring , but who won't follow through with a second date or who can't commit. We say go ahead and run a marathon and buy a condo and start a new business, just don't chase guys. Too much Googling can trip the creepy alarm.

It's good to make sure your date is a real person, and that they aren't wanted by the law, but Tessler says keep the pre-date Internet stalking to a minimum. And that gets so tough because I feel like you'll forget what you learned about them in person and what you learned about them online. Your date gets up from the table; you check your phone. The notifications from your dating apps are screaming from your lock screen.

But resist the urge to peek. Save them for after the date. Don't do it," Tessler says of Tindering or the like in such situations. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. How soon is too soon?


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Rules for dating in the digital age

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