Dating Etiquette:
Just What Are Today’s
New Rules?

Dating in the modern age isn’t like the courting days of generations past. We’re no longer set up by parents or mutual friends (though that may still occasionally happen).

Instead, more and more people are turning to Internet dating sites or apps to meet potential mates. Sure, there are still chance meetings at the grocery store or karaoke bar, but the technology and attitudes of today have turned the dating world upside down.

With so many different ways to meet people, do dating etiquette rules still even exist? And if not, how do we even begin to navigate the 21st century dating world in a way that is truly authentic?

Current Dating “Rules” – Good or Bad?

There are plenty of advice columnists out there, but today there’s no real and reliable rule book or “Emily Post’s Official Guide to Dating.” Nevertheless, there still seem to be several unwritten “rules” in the dating scene today.

For example…

  • Wait three days to contact someone after a first date
  • Don’t text twice if the other person hasn’t responded
  • Don’t show up unannounced
  • Above all, don’t act too needy!

But are these really even “rules”? If you’re playing by these so-called rules, are you really letting your date get to know you? Or do these rules dictate a somewhat inauthentic way of expressing our emotions to one another?

Truth is, we each live by our own set of individual rules. What’s most important is expressing yourself authentically…but how?

Communicate About Your Date

When it comes to paying for a date—especially a first date—the general rule throughout history was the gentleman pays for the lady. As time wore on, it became more popular for dates to “go Dutch” or split the cost of the meal or bowling shoes or what-have-you.

But nowadays, as people go on lots and lots of first dates, it puts men in an awkward mental (and financial) spot, wondering things like…

  • Do I always need to take a first date to an expensive place, then pay to show I’m a good guy?
  • Should I assume I’m paying unless she suggests splitting?
  • What about just going on “cheaper” first dates…is that weird?

Truth be told, honesty and clear communication are the best way to solve this age-old issue. Yes, talking about money is awkward, especially when you’re first getting to know each other.

If you want or expect to split the tab—go ahead and talk about it! Getting it out of the way will make things much easier for both of you. And if expensive dates are genuinely your style—go for it. Just be sure you express your enjoyment with your date and don’t focus on the cost of the date if you choose to treat.

Don’t forget that some “cheap dates” can also be super fun! Try a trip to the local zoo or a picnic by the lake. A “cheap” date could be the best night of your life—dating is really about meeting and getting to know the other person, so it’s a great way to be sure the check is the last thing in your mind. Plus, casual dates ensure those nice expensive dinners and concerts later on are more special, instead of just the norm.

Whichever type of date you prefer, just be honest about it. Set up a reasonable date that most represents your authentic self. And hey, the financial cost of your date doesn’t equate to the value of the experience. Above all, simply enjoy the person you’re with and see where it goes.

Communicate a Clear Ending

Comedian Aziz Ansari recently polled his fans to determine how most people let their date know they’re not interested in going out again. The majority of people answered that they simply stop texting or emailing and hope the other person gets the point. Ouch.

“Breaking it off” is a completely common scenario when dating. In fact, all of your first dates except one—the one who ends up being your lifelong partner—will lead to a breakup, so don’t put so much pressure on yourself to stay together if it’s not working out! Either party may want to break it off, but if they never communicate their feelings, the end of the relationship is left hanging, or worse, they end up dragging it out for months, only half-engaged the entire time.

Chances are if you’ve ever had someone call you or speak to you face to face and simply explain why your relationship wasn’t working out, you most likely felt relief. Sure, confronting someone to break it off may feel uncomfortable and awkward, but it’s the right thing to do.

Why? Because the truth is, if the relationship is obviously going nowhere someone has to end it. When you authentically communicate that to another person, you may be surprised to find how much better you feel.

So empower yourself to be direct and honest with your feelings. It’s far worse to be dishonest and stay with someone just because you want to avoid confrontation or to go the old “flake out, avoid texts” route. Respect the other person and tell them it isn’t working for you—and let them know your feelings while you’re having the conversation. Remember, the other person may not be feeling chemistry either. Clarity and honesty instead of avoidance should definitely be the rule and not the exception.

The main point? When it comes to modern romance, the current so-called “rules” could be debated for hours. Looking inward at yourself and analyzing how you tend to act and feel when dating can be the best way to start defining your own set of rules. Above all, express yourself authentically through clear communication at all times while in any stage of the dating process—from your first date to your last!

To learn more ways to improve communication skills and get what you need, visit Wright Now. We offer an array of courses geared to help you learn more about yourself, your career, and your relationships. So don’t miss out on the life you want. Go for it now!

Monica is the Admissions Coordinator and Marketing Specialist at the Wright Graduate University. As the admissions coordinator and head of marketing for WGU, Monica oversees recruiting, student admissions, customer services and marketing efforts.

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

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How to be Comfortable
with Confrontation

We all know how difficult it can be to confront someone about a behavior or situation.

Confrontation will never truly be comfortable, but, just like conflict, it’s a frequent and necessary part of work and life. Understanding the roots of confrontation and conflict, evaluating yourself as well as the other party’s personality, and weighing the value you place on the outcome and your relationship can help you forge your path to a win/win situation.

Why is Confrontation Uncomfortable?

Confrontation is naturally difficult because as human beings, we want to move away from pain and towards pleasure. So when you have to confront someone who’s doing something you don’t like or don’t agree with, you’re already uncomfortable because something is bothering you—but now it’s even worse because you have to talk to that person about it and you probably want him or her to approve of you.

This is the uncomfortable part: you want the discussion to go well—but confrontation means taking a risk because you may be unsure of the other party’s feelings. We may be afraid of rejection or afraid of not getting what we want. Not to mention that little uncomfortable voice in your head after the confrontation…you may feel guilt or shame, or even question why you decided to stand up in the first place. Confrontation is difficult because we have to face our fears—and ourselves.

What Types of Conflicts Are There?

When people are in conflict, they’re mainly concerned with one of two things: 1. Their relationship with the person they’re confronting, and 2. The outcome of the situation.

Those more interested in the outcome of the confrontation tend to be vehement—they won’t stop until they get what they want, potentially damaging the relationship involved. Thus, this is called a win/lose approach. You won the outcome but lost the relationship.

When people are more concerned about the relationship, they tend to be more muted in their tone and less aggressive. They create a rapport with the other person with the overall goal of understanding each other. In this situation, you are pleasing the other person so much that it becomes a lose/win situation—you’ve lost the outcome but won the relationship.

If the confrontation lies somewhere in between and you want to both achieve your outcome and maintain your relationship, this is called negotiating and it’s a you-win-some/you-lose-some situation.

If you simply don’t care about the outcome or the relationship at all, that’s called avoidance and it’s definitely going to be a lose/lose scenario.

Now, people who are concerned about both gaining a positive outcome and maintaining a positive relationship are going for the win/win approach. This creates a synergistic situation, as the overall goal of both parties is betterment for all people involved. Yes, it’s tougher and it takes more time and more skill but the result is a rewarding and creative win/win outcome.

What About the Social Contract?

The social contracts and relationships we have and build throughout our lives are unique and based on the individuals involved. For example, you certainly wouldn’t talk to your CEO the way you talk to your teenage son. Before acting, ask yourself, “What is the social agreement I have with this person?”

If you just met a new person and you don’t yet have a real contract established, this can be a dangerous situation. You risk displaying the wrong attitude—you might be too confrontational or not confrontational enough. Scope out the situation and feel out what types of social relationships the party has with others and engage in conflict and confrontation in a way that helps you win.

Use Awareness and Social & Emotional Intelligence to Win

Your personality also relates to who and what makes you uncomfortable, so you can’t ignore your own conflict style when approaching a conflict. The same is true for the other person involved: consider their feelings and how they may react to your confrontation. This should signal how you speak and what language you use.

The situation itself is also important to consider when planning a confrontation. If the cost is going to be great and immediate, you may need to confront full-force. But if the situation is minor and doesn’t affect your productivity, focus on developing the relationship. Circumstances play a great deal into whether you confront or not and how you do so.

There are many times when maintaining a relationship is far more important than confronting someone over a small irritating behavior.

When you’re aware of yourself and the other person, and you take the time to understand the potential short-and long-term outcomes, you’ll know the right way to approach every confrontation.

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Is Your Self-Esteem
Negatively Affecting
Your Relationship?

The term self-esteem in and of itself is based on you, so your relationships—both romantic and otherwise—are only as good as your own self-esteem. In fact, our relationships are a mirror of our own self-esteem.

You can learn a lot about how good you feel about yourself depending on well your relationship is going. However, this doesn’t mean you should depend on others to validate your self-esteem worries.

Self-Esteem Should Be Checked and Honestly Communicated

Focus on yourself and what you want, but don’t blame your partner if you don’t feel good in your relationship. You may need to recognize your own feelings instead of pushing off your bad feelings onto your partner. It’s not just about your partner’s reactions to you; you also have to be aware of your own “junk” and how you communicate within your relationship.

Being up front with yourself and your own insecurities can help you be more honest when communicating. The other person’s job isn’t to boost your self-esteem or change the way you feel, but open communication can help you reach a good place with your partner.

It happens to people in all stages of relationships: you may be concerned that being too open and offering advice may make your partner feel as if you’re trying to control or manage them. This fear—as with many insecurities—is common in newer relationships and needs to be addressed within yourself first.

However, asking directly for what you want from a partner can be even more nerve-wracking because they may not only react negatively but they also may not be willing to give what was requested. Remember that your relationship is a mirror of your own self-esteem and that a potential match should reflect the best parts of you—not the worst. Respect is worth a heck of a lot more than love itself.

Is Competition Between Couples Always a Bad Thing?

Whether it’s a rousing game of tennis on a Saturday morning or dueling career paths, partners do tend to compete with each other on some level. For example, imagine you’ve been a stay-at-home mom and your husband has been the primary breadwinner for years. Now, when you’re back in the workforce, you’re beginning to feel as though you have to prove yourself as a career-driven woman. This feeling may stem from an underlying insecurity about not feeling good enough or smart enough, mainly because you always stayed at home while your partner handled the business.

However, on the flip side, consider your husband’s feelings about how hard you worked while raising your children. There are often subconscious competitions in relationships surrounding the kids: maybe Mom got to spend more time with them and therefore Dad has feelings of guilt leading to competition for affection and adoration.

The main point: A little healthy competition is ok, but none of these aforementioned competitions work toward a positive goal—this type of behavior only rewards insecurities. Couples need to work to better themselves both alone and as a team and keep practice keeping lines of communication open and honest.

What about Competing for Attention?

Have you ever became jealous when your significant other starts talking with a friend of the opposite sex? All of a sudden the attention is off you and onto another person, which can cause much discomfort for many men and women alike. But unless your partner is actively engaged in flirtatious behavior, the issue here is the worry that this other person may be somehow superior to you—it reflects back on whether or not you’re still okay as you are.

This again comes back to self-esteem as it relates to how you see yourself. That validation has nothing to do with the mixed sex conversation—it needs to come from within. It will never be 100% possible to have your partner there to boost you up at all times, so it’s important to always keep checking in with yourself to keep your insecurities at bay.

Remember: it’s your self-esteem. You’re responsible for it.

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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Use Conflict at Work

When most people hear the word “conflict,” they usually cringe. Visions of heated arguments and grudges may come up or perhaps anxiety about solving problems.

This can be especially true in the workplace, where tensions often run high as it is. Not all conflict needs to be traumatizing though—in fact, there are ways to be perceptive enough to use conflict to your advantage.

The ability to look above and beyond a single conflict and analyze your role in it isn’t easy at first. This social and emotional intelligence skill is based in an existential psychology study from the University of Chicago. Researchers found that people who are aware and live with a sense of meaning and direction tend not to get sick as often when under stress. Therefore, people with a sense of purpose who live consciously are robust and strong, and tend to fare better in conflicts. These people have a sense of direction and meaning, allowing them to recognize their role in conflicts and thus use conflict more effectively in all areas of their lives.

3 Questions to Ask When in Conflict at Work

#1: Am I taking responsibility?

When faced with conflicts, especially at work, it’s easy to play the blame-game. When asked why a report wasn’t in on time, you may immediately report that your colleague dropped the ball. However, take the time to examine your role in the problem. Perhaps the colleague was not instructed correctly on how to complete the report and changes must be made within team structure or workflows. Take personal responsibility and own it…even if it’s someone else’s problem. Remember: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Period.

#2: Am I aligned and acting with purpose?

While examining your role in a conflict, determine whether or not you have the company’s best interests at heart. In the example of the late report, the repercussions could have been an unsatisfied client—and an unhappy client could mean a lost customer. This could lead to losses for the company as a whole, and that affects everyone. When you determine your role and live and act with purpose, you prevent unnecessary conflict. After all, purpose is why we do what we do…and just surviving isn’t a very interesting purpose. Live with purpose and your colleagues will know you’re obviously invested in everyone’s success and you’re taking the future success of your business to heart, too.

#3: Am I working toward a solution?

Engaging in drama can be a huge time-waster—and it can make the process of solving a problem or resolving a conflict take forever or go nowhere. Finding directionality is key. Are you really searching for or working toward a solution? When approaching a conflict, ensure you’re doing your homework. Examine the whys and hows of the situation as a whole. By examining the situation, you’ll become empowered enough to have direction toward a solution. Ideally, your resolve will be directed at improving the company as a whole, as well as the jobs and wellbeing of your coworkers.

Conflict: A Fact of Life (and Work!)

Most people don’t like being involved in conflict—whether it involves coworkers, processes, or personal choices. However, the reality is we’re all constantly faced with conflict every single day of our lives. Conflict is a fact of life; we might as well embrace it! So make the choice to make the most of each conflict and use every conflict to your advantage: to learn and grow.

Remember to own your role in any and all conflicts, keeping the company’s interests—and your own personal awareness and personal responsibility—at heart and in mind.

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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.