Tips for Traditional Dating in Today’s Digital World

couple standing on a bridge on a traditional date

Once upon a time, dating was a chaperoned courtship arranged by parents seeking to marry their children off into the most lucrative—or least troublesome—pairings possible. Nowadays, though, it’s more about swiping left and swiping right, with every budding romance living and dying on the perception of a profile photo. This is bad, and not what dating used to be about!

It’s time for a little history lesson. The term “date” was coined in 1896 by George Ade, a columnist from Chicago Record. In his column discussing the lives of the working class, Ade shared the story of a clerk named Artie whose girlfriend was seeing other men socially. Frustrated by how things were going, Artie was quoted, “I s’pose the other boy’s fillin’ all my dates?”

The institution of dating itself evolved over the course of the last century. The 1920s and 30s ushered in the modern concept of dating. The 40s and 50s offered structure and set the rules of engagement. The 70s and 80s were all about possibilities and doing away with conventions. The 80s and 90s were more about meaningful connections.

Currently, technology has been at the core of the dating arena. Pew Research findings state that 27% of 18 to 24-year-olds are now using online dating sites. This was almost tripled the 10% from 2013. Taking these ideas into consideration, here are tips on how you can take traditional dating back:

1. Diversify Your Dating Strategy

This means meeting people from various channels. This can be through friends, family gatherings, at work or through dating apps and online dating sites. Meeting people offline and online widens your social circle. Eventually, meeting as many people as possible will give way to meaningful connections.

2. Observe and Interact Authentically with People

couple sitting at a table having conversation during traditional date

Make the most out of your meeting and interactions. Focus on people by listening to their stories. Stowaway phones and gadgets and observe your surroundings. Doing this will make you more receptive to non-verbal signals. Someone may want to approach you if not for your incessant phone checking.

3. Positivity and Warmth Attract People

This can be done through simple acts like smiling at someone familiar, holding the door, or saying hello to the neighbor next door. This warm and open demeanor allows for chance encounters which may blossom into friendships.

4. Give Your Date a Second Chance

The downside of having too many options is that we are quick to judge people based on initial meetings. First dates are often terrible, and at best awkward. As long as your date did not cross the “creepy” line, agree to arrange a second date. The second encounter will significantly be more relaxed, free-flowing and authentic. This will offer you better insight on your date’s personality.

5. Keep Your Values Intact

Do not succumb to modern dating errors like ghosting, benching and fading. These errors against politeness and civility were brought about by the vast number of choices online dating and dating apps have to offer. This makes interaction and connections easier to discard when things feel stale or boring. If you feel that the relationship cannot progress to the next level, let him or her know in person. Do not just fade into oblivion and sever the communication.

6. Appreciate the Time, Effort and Resources Your Date Allotted for You

Meeting new people is nerve-wracking for both genders. Some people may find it so overwhelming that they resort to flaking out on your date. Acknowledge his gestures such as holding the door for you or walking on the open side of the street. The appreciation that you accord these gestures will reinforce them. Consequently, you will get to receive it more.


Just like other human affairs, dating is unpredictable and confusing. The chaos of dating colliding with an accelerating technology makes it a more complex matter.  Despite this, dating is still worth pursuing. Why not? Finding that one person whom you can share your life with is a good reason to keep dating alive.

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Imee Rabang is a blogger/writer and bilingual poet from Manila, Philippines. She is an advocate of Philippine culture and supports causes that promote language and national identity. She juggles her time between work, parenthood, and community outreach programs. She also dabbles in photography and graphic arts in her free time.

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