Click here to view the printer friendly version.

The Do's and Don'ts of Starting a Relationship




Many people want to be in a romantic relationship but don't know how to get one started. If this sounds like you, it's important to first examine your reasons for wanting to be in a relationship. If's okay not to have a partner, and there are times in everyone's life when it may be healthier to be single for a while, especially after ending a painful relationship. There are also many benefits to leaving a friend a friend. But, if you find yourself attracted to someone and don't know who to start up a relationship with them, here are some suggestions:



  • Be confident. This is easier said than done, but you can train yourself to be confident by practicing your assertiveness skills, reminding yourself of all your strengths, and working on your self-esteem with positive self-talk.
  • Notice something about the person you're interested in - something you have in common or something that you can compliment them on to strike up a conversation. But don't fake it - be sincere when you give compliments.
  • Ask the person to do something non-threatening, like going to a sports event or a park during the day, or going out with a group of mutual friends.
  • If the person agrees to go out, meet in a public place, and avoid being isolated with a person you don't know well.
  • Show interest in the other person. Ask about his or her likes and dislikes, family and friends, values and beliefs, goals and dreams.
  • Be honest about who you are and what you want out of the relationship. Of course, this requires knowing yourself first.
  • Call when you say you will.
  • Be very careful about meeting through the Internet. If you're going to meet face-go-face, always do it in a public place and bring a friend along.
  • Trust your instincts. If you're uncomfortable with a person or a situation, don't be afraid to do what you need to do to feel safe.
  • Bring your own money on a date and be prepared to pay. It's often awkward knowing who should pay, but it shouldn't be assumed that it's the man's role. Often women want to pay for themselves so that they can remain independent and not feel like they "owe" anything.
  • Be aware of the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships.
  • Accept "No" for an answer. If someone seems unsure about whether to go out with you, take the time try to get to know each other, and if the person seems interested, try again. However, if a person clearly said that they are not interested, respect his or her decision and move on.

  • Wait for someone your're interested in to come to you. It's okay for males and females to make the first move.
  • Use teasing or obnoxious "playing around" to get someone's attention.
  • Play "hard to get" or other mind games.
  • Make snap judgements about people.
  • Be aggressive or come on too strong. Don't try to force someone into going out with you if they are not interested.
  • Go alone to other people's homes or invite them to your home, get in a car alone with them, or become isolated with people you don't know very well.
  • Spend the night talking about your ex.
  • Get drunk or high to "loosen up" and be confident on a date. Chances are you'll wind up regretting it.
  • Send mixed messages, especially about sex. Be aware of your body language and other non-verbal communication.
  • Pressure anyone into sex, or get them high or drunk to get them to have sex. 
  • Do anything you don't want to do, including anything sexual, just because you want the other person to like you or don't want to hurt his or her feelings.