Don’t Play Hard to Get, Play Honest.

dating, relationships, dating advice, marriage, couples, life advice, dating tips, how to, single, how to be single, happiness, lifestyle, romance, couples

As someone who’s followed my heart, worn it on my sleeve, and had it broken many times, I get a lot of dating advice. In fact, it’s pervasive, especially since I’m “still single.” Though well-intentioned, I can’t help but feel ashamed for the decisions I’ve made in the name of love. Is my intuition completely shot? Or are my friends, Reddit, and Askmen.com all wrong?

After some thought, I realized that my frustration stemmed neither from my inaccuracy or theirs, but from the fact that there are “dating rules” at all. By stripping away the details, I found that there is only one guiding principle by which to align your love life: Honesty.

Honesty with who you are, who the other person is, and the situation.

Instead of pervasive guidance, pervasive honesty is the key. Like many truth bombs, it is a simple idea, but hard to enact. Keeping these few things in mind help make it more manageable:

Everything is Situational

Humans are often likened to snowflakes. No two are alike. When humans pair off, each of us takes our own one-of-a-kind life experience, creating a completely unique interaction. It does not make sense to paint any relationship with a static brush such as “the man chase the woman.” Rather, get to know each other thoroughly, HONESTLY, and then act accordingly.

One of the best dates I ever went on was with a guy I asked out. He responded to my initial text inviting me to a show that night, despite it being last minute. Traditional advice would never allow me to be free at the drop of his hat, but it happened I was, and we had a great time. Which brings me to my next point …

Do What Makes Sense 

We met at the venue because it worked out geographically. I know the guy is supposed to get “docked” for not picking me up, but he was a perfect gentleman the rest of the night, so who cares?

The other thing I get shit for is for staying in contact with guys I’ve dated in the past. A guy friend put it best once when I was deciding whether I should de-friend an ex. He posed the very obvious question: “well do you want to keep in touch?” I did, so he said, “well stay in touch then.” There are a handful of guys who I could give a shit about, either because they are pricks or we don’t have enough in common, and so we don’t speak. But the point is:

You get to choose what makes sense for you.

You dated this person, maybe you had sex, or were in love – all the more reason you got to see what you have in common. Would you spend time with this person sans cuddles? Do you both REALLY like bowling and sushi aside from each other? Ask yourself the simple questions, answer honestly, and act from there. And even if the answers are “no”, remember to…

Be Kind

To yourself, as well as the other person. There is far too much hate in this world without us breaking each other’s hearts unnecessarily. When we decide to bring someone into our lives romantically, whether it’s for one night or 10 years, there was something that you loved, if only for an instant. You wouldn’t be mean to a stranger; why would you be mean to a person you cared for at one time? No matter how wrong or right you are, there is always a kind way to act. When we’re hurt, angry, or uncomfortable, being unkind is easiest. Though a more compassionate choice, kindness actually requires more practical thought and does not run purely on emotion.

One of the soundest decisions I ever made was to walk away from a relationship, leaving it open-ended. I could clearly see our mutual unavailability and refused to allow his mental state to detract from my own self-work. But because I know that each person’s path is unique, I gave him the option of healing in his own time and reconnecting if we were both unattached. Denying oneself closure is precarious, but I knew my life would go on – with or without him.

Some call me stupid. Many call me a doormat with low self-esteem. That I’ll never find love because I don’t “let the man win me.” And they could be right. Maybe I’m a fool. Maybe I make it “too easy.” But at least I’m honest and I’m following my own rules.

  • AJMoneyMatters

    As corny as this sounds, honest it really the best policy! I think hating the other person is way too much effort and not worth the stress. The best thing to do is just move on and focus completely on yourself.

  • I know lots of people love the whole newness of dating but I for one and glad to be married. When I was in the dating pool people had all sorts of awful advice about how to act. This post is so true. You’ve got to be yourself. Otherwise, the person your dating doesn’t get to know the real you.

  • Good advice!

  • Forget about what others say. It’s your life, they don’t get to have say what you do with it.

  • Divya @ Eat. Teach. Blog.

    Everyone’s gotta do what works for them. If I wrote my husband off for not paying for my meal or for meeting me there instead of picking me up or for being too quiet on the date, I would have never happily fallen in love with him and married him! <3

  • I like this! And yes, being kind is SO important. I can’t stand jerks.

  • Love all the tips you shared. What a great blog title.

  • Jessica Jacobowitz Weinberg

    These are all such great tips! I always found that it was best to be honest and not play games!
    xo Jessica

  • Jewels Rhode

    Such a timely article! At the end of the day, you are right, it’s absolutely about what works for you. Dating isn’t a one size fit all situation.

  • Brittany Harris

    Great blog post! I think that most of the time we’re taught to play it tough, but wearing your heart on your sleeve and being yourself is the best way to get to know someone.

  • Sarah Jean

    I tend to lean traditional in dating rules (although am married now) but you’re right – it is not a magic formula and being honest is key!

  • Love this so much! I’m so honest and upfront with my feelings- wish more people were the same way!

  • Honesty is always best. I’ve learned this as I’ve grown up and I try to be as honest as possible. You can’t expect everyone to guess how you feel. This is great advice 🙂

  • I think being honest is important. Even if the other person isn’t. Payback is never a solution. Because, at the end, you are important. You have to live with your conscience, your decisions. Don’t get any dirt on your hands, because you don’t know how hard it is to clean them.

  • MK

    People want to date you for who you are, not for who a magazine or website says you should be. Being honest and okay with yourself from the get go sure makes life a lot easier. It also allows for quickly determining if someone you’re dating is a good match or not. Who wants to waste a bunch of dates with someone they aren’t actually compatible with?

  • Exactly. Sometimes I wonder where people get their dating advice. No relationship based on dishonesty is going to last.

  • Honesty and kindness is key, not only at the dating part but also years into a relationship. If something starts from 2 person’s games, it could end as soon as they realize the real self of each other…

  • Author Brandi Kennedy

    I love not only your honesty about the way you see things and the reasons behind what you chose to do (or not do) in relationship, but also the clean and unapologetic acceptance of your own views. So many people spend so much time riddled with self-doubt – it’s refreshing to read posts like this, where the message is quite simply, “Be who you are.”

  • Kaitlyn Brough

    I really love this post because I think honesty is so important in a relationship. If you don’t have honesty, how can you really trust each other? Once I finally figured this out in the dating scene, I felt like it got so much easier because I was worried about playing stupid games. Great post!


  • Katie Kinsley

    I never really dated before I started “online” dating. It was never fun and everyone I ever met that I liked (and wanted to pursue) didn’t like me in the same way. It was a total bust.

  • I hate playing hard to get and I hate mind games. I would rather people be upfront and honest with how they feel.

  • Ohbeehave

    I completely agree with you, it makes me think of the old “honesty is the best policy” saying. I think being yourself is the best thing you can do and I don’t see any reason to make yourself available if you want to go out on a date… so long as you’re not fobbing off friends or cancelling other plans I don’t see any point in “playing hard to get”. When my husband and I first met we were both upfront about what we wanted and it just “was what it was” and eventually (after 5 and a half years!) we decided to get married. It’s nice to let things just play out in their own time 🙂

  • So many people play silly little mind games and then it backfires on them. It is best just to be honest with the person you are dating instead of wasting each other’s time. Also don’t worry what other’s think because sometimes other people’s opinions makes the situation worst.

  • themotheroverload

    Honesty is for sure the best policy with anything in life!

  • JeeYoung

    So refreshing! Honesty is so crucial, who has time for games?! Great advice for those in the long term dating scene

  • As everyone else mentioned, I agree that honest is the best policy too. I mean relationships are already a lot of work and adding mind games to them is just more work on top of work. That don’t make sense. Kudos to you for living by your own terms.

  • kdwald

    Totally agree — although full honesty can be really difficult. Bottom line: You will still be with YOU throughout and after any other relationship, so you need to be okay with your own decision.

  • I love this post! I met my husband in high school, and it’s been so rewarding to see us grow together as a couple and as individuals. It’s so important to stay true to yourself!

  • Alison Rost

    This is so great .. I’ve never gone wrong when I’ve followed my gut and been honest with other people. Thank-you so much for the reminder

  • Amanda O’Brien

    i agree on honesty – but them I am also single!!! But I think everyone meets someone at a different point in life – we just haven’t hit ours yet

  • I think this is very lovely. There’s nothing like being honest to yourself and to the person that you’re seeing. Whenever I date, i make sure that i stay true to myself, if the person doesn’t like me then that’s just fine, it only means they’re not for me.

  • Marceline Dementori

    This is important, it’s a good reminder for everyone who’s out there dating. If you want your relationships to last you have to be honest and show who you really are. i think it’s a wonderful message. I enjoyed reading this post.

  • Robin Rue

    This is so true that you must be honest with yourself. Then you can move on and be honest with others with your dating life.

  • TColeman

    Staying true to who you are is so important. You should never play with your real feelings or ambitions.

  • You just have to be you! You can’t keep up an act forever. Great read!

  • Amanda Marie

    I don’t think you are a fool at all! Seems to me like you have this whole dating thing figured out! And honesty is the key to any successful relationship!

  • Sandra crespo

    I love this we have to be true to ourselves ! I also love he snowflake ❄️ analogy it’s so true !!

  • Nicole Cochingco Escat

    Yes, in the end you weren’t lying or cheating. And you’re also very right about one more thing: there’s alays a better way to do things.

  • Kiyshia Goche

    Honesty is a fundamental ingredient in any given relationship. People always seem to abuser this in the name of ‘ not wanting to look desperate’ or ‘not wanting to be the only single in the room’ But if you’re honest with yourself, the other person and the situation, then you will be able to move forward and do what works for you. Love the post! thanks for sharing.

  • mail4rosey

    I think it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. You’re the one that has to live your life, so of course you should make those decisions your way.

  • Chrissy Mazzocchi

    Honesty is always the best policy. It’s a must-have in any relationship.

  • Carrie Chady Rundhaug

    Honesty and trust is fundamental in any relationship. Without these two elements any relationships are doomed. These include being able to trust yourself and being honest with yourself which is probably the hardest thing in the world.

  • EverythingAliex.com

    Honesty it is very important, it does not matter whether this is in romantic or professional relationship.

  • Honesty is absolutely one of the most important things in a relationship. If it’s not there .. it’s hard to build anything on top of it. Thanks for the reminder

  • To be honest anyone that says you are a doormat is a fool. I don’t like playing mind games either and don’t believe in the concept of making someone work for my attention. If I like someone and they like me then go for it I say x

  • Pratik Jain

    Honesty by and enlarge is very seductive as it grows on other person and they remember you even if you hook up for a small time..
    Secondly it allows you and other person to be responsible for the choices they make as they they know what they are getting into..
    i have written a blog post on why honesty is a seductive..

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