We take comfort in clichés because they’re usually somewhat true. If you happen to agree with a typical dating cliché, like “you should never accept a last-minute date,” it is reassuring to know it’s not just you; many people feel this way.
However, sometimes, when these clichés take up a permanent residence in the back of your mind, they get in the way of your dating life, as they prevent you from saying what you want to say or acting how you want to act.
They serve as a constant reminder of what you, perhaps, should or shouldn’t do.
Some of the classic dating clichés hold more legitimacy than others. Many women find themselves testing the waters to see just how valid a certain familiar tune really is.
Take Mandy Stadtmiller, for example. She is currently putting the top 30 dating clichés of all time to the test, as she searches for the perfect date in time for Valentine’s Day for her project, The Mandy Project.
Mandy is not the only woman searching for love and simultaneously figuring out which dating clichés she should actually take to heart. We are all curious about what certain clichés truly mean.
Let’s turn 15 of the classic dating clichés inside out right to see how much truth we can unveil from them:
1. “Sex on a first date dooms any chance of a relationship.”
Unfortunately, this can be very true. I know you have that friend who is now married to a guy with whom she had a one-night stand, but she is the exception, not the rule.
Speaking of rules, Steve Harvey’s 90-Day Rule stirred up a lot of controversy, but it was also remarkably popular and well-received by the women who tried it.
Steve Harvey suggested women hold out on sex for 90 days upon entering a new relationship, in order to land a man who is truly all in. The men who are relationship-material will be fine with waiting.
I tried out the 90-Day rule myself, and had a lot of success; I found out who was genuinely interested in something real with me, and weeded out the men who weren’t.
2. “Women love bad boys.”
This cliché does hold some validity, but why? Bad boys don't dote on women and they aren’t always the best at being attentive and sweet.
Because of this, women place a higher value on a bad boy’s affection because it’s harder to get.
However, this cliché has a certain shelf life. If a woman dates a ton of bad boys in her early 20s, by the time she hits her late 20s, she will likely be done with bad boys and searching for a nice guy. Timing is everything, which brings us to our next cliché.
3. “It’s not who you meet, it’s when you meet.”
This is another way of saying, “Timing is everything.” It is heartbreaking when you meet the right person at the wrong time (he or she is already taken, or finishing a degree and doesn’t have time to date, or something else).
However, one day, you’ll meet someone great at the right time. This person will have finished school, be settled in a career, will finally be over casual dating and looking for something more serious.
As Miranda says in "Sex and the City," “Men are like cabs. When they’re available, their light goes on.” She explains it’s not fate, but just luck that you met him at the right time — when his light went on.
This cliché holds a lot of truth: When it comes to dating, timing can be everything.
4. “Actions speak louder than words.”
Not only do actions truly speak louder than words, but also, if there is a discrepancy between someone’s words and actions, it is a huge dating red flag.
For example, if someone you are dating claims to miss you and wants to see you, but is not making plans with you, his or her actions aren’t matching up with the words, are they?
The bottom line is always that actions speak louder than words because the proof of the words exists within the coordinating actions.
5. “Men should pay for dinner.”
The truth is, men don’t have to pay for dinner. The reason they often do is because they know women are attracted to gentlemen, and paying for dinner is a gentlemanly thing to do.
Many women are turned off by seemingly cheap men. If a woman is dating a man she really likes, she should offer to pay sometimes, too, out of respect for him.
That being said, men should probably pick up the tab on a first date, especially if the date was their idea.
6. “Don’t kiss on a first date.”
This cliché is not as legitimate as some of the others. Sometimes, not kissing on a first date can ruin your chances with someone. One of the biggest reasons why people lose interest is a lack of chemistry felt on the dates.
However, sometimes, it’s the kiss that leads to that chemistry.
The kiss can be the glue the two of you need, and without it, your connection won’t feel as strong, which can lead to him being snapped up by that other girl who did kiss him on the first date.
7. “Trust your gut.”
Sometimes, your gut just tells you there is something different about this person – something special. Maybe he or she isn’t even your usual type, but you’re just drawn to him or her. You should always trust your gut; this cliché is extremely valid.
It ties in with the concept that if you dream about someone a lot, it’s your gut telling you that you have subconscious feelings for him or her, and you should definitely do something about it.
If you like someone, don’t wait four hours to text back, or wait five days to see him or her again.
You don’t have to be so calculated, and you should, instead, do what comes naturally, which is part of trusting your gut and not playing games.
8. “You’ll find someone when you stop looking.”
This one is interesting. Sometimes, you do find someone when you least expect it, like at some boring event, where the last thing you expected was to meet someone.
Or, ironically, you’ll be looking for love on Plenty of Fish or Match.com, but then, you end up meeting someone in person on a night when you just wanted to have fun with your girlfriends.
However, considering how many millions of success stories those dating sites boast, clearly you can find love when you are looking, too.
9. “Love like you’ve never been hurt.”
This dating cliché might make you cringe, but it does hold some truth. Let’s say a woman meets a great guy, someone relationship-worthy.
If she has been hurt, she might not fully let him in, thereby damaging her chances of a relationship blossoming with him.
The walls she puts up weakens her connection with him. To test this dating cliché for The Mandy Project, Mandy went on a date with a guy and did not mention her past or her exes – at all.
This allowed the two of them to get to know each other, and she probably let him in more than she would have if she was hung up on her past relationship failures.
10. “Opposites attract.”
If this cliché resides in your subconscious, you might make some bad decisions.
You could decide to stay with someone with whom you have zero in common because somehow, you were taught that all of his or her conflicting viewpoints balance out yours, and together, you are the perfect couple.
Sometimes, it’s nice when someone’s outgoing nature balances out your shy nature. Opposites can be good together, but more often than not, you’d be better off with someone with whom you have more in common.
11. “Whoever cares less, wins.”
It’s both intriguing and disconcerting how much validity this cliché holds. It ties in with the classic dating cliché, “Play hard-to-get,” in the sense that the less interested you play it, the more interested your prospect will be.
It works in your favor to “care less,” both while trying to land someone you like and afterward, too. In a relationship, if you care less, you hold more power because you’re not as emotionally driven.
If you are emotionally driven and care more, you’re more likely to cave to your partner’s desires because emotionally, you can’t handle the idea of fighting.
This cliché is irrelevant if both people are mutually very into each other and, therefore, both care a lot about each other, which is the ideal.
12. “If you can’t love me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”
This one is true. We all deserve a partner who is willing to be there for us during hard times, even if we aren’t at our best.
If someone wants to avoid you while you’re mopey, that’s fine, but they don’t deserve you at your best if that’s the case.
13. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
One time, I went on one date with a guy, and I was trying to be polite and sweet since it was a first date. I got a text the next day saying, “It was great meeting you, but you’re not really my type. You seem kind of vanilla.”
You can’t know someone well enough to judge after only one, two or three dates – and yet, people are constantly judging and writing others off without so much as a second date.
Give someone a chance to prove you wrong instead of being so quick to judge.
14. “Love is blind.”
Whether we want to admit it or not, we all love the concept of this cliché. If you love someone, you don’t tend to notice his or her faults.
If there’s something annoying about him or her, or a just little weird, you won’t notice if you’re into him or her.
If the person gains weight, for example, you won’t notice or care. You’ll be blind to these things because you’re in love. While this can be a sweet cliché, it’s also a dangerous one. Since some people let too much slide, there should always be a line.
15. “Everything happens for a reason.”
This is the most comforting of all the clichés.
That breakup was meant to be so you’d be able to meet the right person in the future. Your date canceled on you so you could go out with the girls and meet the man of your dreams.
Always keep this cliché as a reminder that, sometimes, doors close for a reason, and sometimes, that reason is to open a door to something better.