With the internet and dating apps galore, dating in the modern world sure has changed since our grandparents’ time. Although there are definitely benefits to this new way of courtship, some positive aspects of dating in the past have become lost, and there are a number of old-fashioned dating rules and traditions we should bring back.
Back in the day, there was something special about bonding over the phone rather than over text. “With texting, people hide behind their phones instead of extending the sweet gesture of a call,” matchmaker Rori Sassoon tells Bustle. Instead of relying so much on texting, Sassoon says to jump on the phone, and discuss your day that way.
There’s no harm in brightening someone’s day with a little something special. “This never gets old but there are so many [people] who don’t do this out of fear that [the person] will think this is too cheesy,” relationship coach Sameera Sullivan tells Bustle. It doesn’t always have to be flowers, but by giving your partner a small gift, it lets them know you’re thinking about them.
Everyone hates the vague “we should go out sometime,” suggestion. “When asking, always ask for a specific date, time, and activity,” etiquette consultant Jodi RR Smith tells Bustle. “This allows for plenty of face saving. If they accept, all is well. If they decline, but counter with a different date, you know they are interested. If they decline and do not offer any additional information or propose alternative dates, you know they are not interested, but you can end the interaction without your ego being too bruised.” This way, no one is left hanging.
Though habits like holding opening doors for people used to be associated with gender norms, repurposing them for modern dating can come off as polite and make a person feel taken care of, regardless of gender. “Small gestures show that someone is caring and considerate, and many [people] will give a [person] a second chance,” matchmaking and dating expert Stef Safran tells Bustle. By taking stereotypical assumptions out of these gestures, they can definitely be used today.
“In this day and age of electronics and 140 text characters, it is so rare to get a hand-written note,” relationship coach Martin Kupper tells Bustle. “Although a long love letter is something very special, a simple card with heartfelt sentiments really shows your partner how much you cherish them.”
Today, it’s totally normal that a parent has no idea who their child is dating, but that wasn’t the case back in the day. “Potential partners were introduced to immediate family members early on,” lifestyle coach and relationship expert Fila Antwine tells Bustle. “That was helpful in seeing how daters behaved around respected members of the family and what family members thought of the dater, and it created an overall sense of security and safety for everyone involved.”
Grabbing a quick drink can be convenient, but longer face-to-face contact gives each person more of an opportunity for chemistry to happen. “Everyone wants things to happen so fast,” says Sassoon. “What happened to having dinner and being generous with your time in getting to know someone? Go slow, be curious, and don’t sum them up so fast. You might be pleasantly surprised. The more time you spend, the more time you’ll know for sure.”
Of course, not all habits from the past will work for modern dating, but by integrating some of these tips, we can help grow a stronger, personal connection in our relationship.