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Modern Buffalove: Make your own dating rules

The times, they are a-changin’. And so should the old rules that make you second guess yourself and your strategies for finding love.

Imagine a pool area full of singles all invited to the same party. Some wear a big hat and sunglasses, watching others splash around from afar (not trying). Some have taken off their sandals and stuck their feet in the water (open to dating, but waiting for Mr. or Ms. Wonderful to drop from the sky). The next group is gathered in the shallow end, chatting about the weather, their work, kids. (Trying, but still just a little tentative). The last group is doing cannonballs in the deep end, swimming back and forth, and at times holding their breath.

This last group — like me — is experiencing heartbreak (and is breaking hearts, too) all while trying to figure it out along the way.

Who are you at this pool party? If you’re ready to jump in, then it’s time to let go of the old “rules” and make your own.

Google is your friend

A Google search is the new drive-by. You can find out more about your dating prospect and decide if you are comfortable and excited about who you see. I’m all about efficiencies (and being choosy), and a quick Google search can be a big help. I look for employment status and photos. If I’m lucky, having mutual friends on Facebook gives me a glimpse into the sort of company he keeps.

Sometimes a little cyber stalking is just fun. It gives you a chance to daydream a little and get fired up about your night out. Do NOT, however, friend-request or follow this person on social media sites. He/she is not your friend (yet). It’s important to establish a real relationship before a social media one.

Also consider that your potential date may be cyber-stalking you in return, so check your own privacy settings. Don’t show all your cards — this will help build intrigue. Why would he need to ask what your weekend plans are if that info’s already online?

Social sites can be helpful when used correctly. For instance, I spotted a guy I recognized on LinkedIn. We had once met briefly for a drink, but the timing wasn’t right. A few months later his activity appeared on my newsfeed and I was impressed! I sent him a quick note asking if he wanted to meet for a drink after work.

Kiss on the first date

If you want to kiss the fantastic new stranger whose company you just enjoyed for the past three hours — just do it! What an exciting way to end a great night.

Feel free to send a signal — a simple touch to his arm will let him know you’re interested. If the gesture isn’t returned, he’s either not interested, nervous as hell or simply too cool for school. But at least you met him halfway. If he’s too cool for school, he’s not a good prospect anyway. If it’s just nerves, eventually he’ll come around.

Don’t wait two days to call

If you’re waiting to make contact based on this old rule, then shame on you. Why break great momentum? Hands frozen at your keypad or keyboard? This is a sign you should reach out and trust your positive hunch. Store this message in your phone: “I had a great time last night. I’d like to do it again sometime.” Hit send and sit tight. If he’s interested, he’ll respond soon. But don’t sweat it either way. You have other plans tonight anyway.

Remember: You get to make the rules. You have every right to have your own set of boundaries and expectations. As the weather warms up, go out and wade around the singles pool at concerts, restaurants or online — and be ready to dive in when the moment is right.

Questions for our dating columnist? Reach her at 716lovelife@gmail.com.

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