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Dating by the rules – can you do it?

Dating Confessions of a Modern Woman

The New Rules, the dating bible for the digital generation from the multi-million-copy-selling authors of The Rules, gives you an impartial glimpse into living life by the Rules in the book we challenged a group of anonymous women to live by The New Rules and document their results.

Here our anonymous NEW Rules Girl tells us how The NEW Rules helped her look at romance, rejection and cultivating feminine mystique in a whole new light!

Marital status:

Single / dating

Which of The New Rules did you follow and why?

As I am drawing a contrast between a Rules and a non-Rules interaction I have had of late, I have both obeyed and defied the following dating rules, in two separate instances:

  • Rule 3: Don’t Talk to or Text a Guy First
  • Rule 4: Don’t Ask Guys Out by Text, Facebook, Instant Messenger, or Any Other Way
  • Rule 6: Wait at Least Four Hours to Answer a Guy’s First Text and a Minimum of 30 Minutes Thereafter

How long did you follow The New Rules?

3 months

What were the benefits of following The New Rules?

It made me stop and think before messaging a guy, so, even though I did text a guy first to ask him out on one occasion, I did it in the full knowledge that he was unlikely to be interested. Instead, I was purely ‘checking’ that my instincts were right. This meant that I minimised the potential for embarrassment in the message’s content and managed to keep it pretty breezy.

While I might usually worry about not texting a guy back fast enough, especially if I wasn’t sure whether I liked him or not at that stage, perhaps propelled by some kind of strange guilt, The New Rules ensured that I took my time responding and this definitely paid off in terms of maintaining interest. Often I find I am unsure whether I am genuinely interested in someone until it is too late, so it is definitely worth keeping your options open and maintaining the mystique until you have a chance to get to know them better.

What was the most surprising thing you learned from reading and following The New Rules?

Although I am a believer in many of The New Rules, I know that the more you like a guy, the harder it is to stick to them. It’s easy to play hard to get when you’re not all that keen – but what about when you’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for one tiny morsel of communication ALL WEEK? I had two experiences recently which proved this point – but also made me question the way in which I approach romance. Why do I always wait for the ‘lightning bolt’ and tend to mistrust a slow-burn growth in affection? I know plenty of people in happy relationships that started out like that. I’ve always just been too much of a romantic to give that kind of beginning a chance.


About a month ago I had a lightning bolt. I met a guy I really liked and hung out with him for a day. By the end I was convinced we had an extraordinary connection, and he diligently took my number. I have never felt so certain that someone would contact me. I was even mentally shuffling around my plans for the following week (non-New Rules thought process alert!) to try and fit in the date I felt sure he would suggest.


By Thursday I was a complete wreck. I had heard nothing and was utterly confused. How could I have misread the situation so badly? I finally caved and texted him. He responded that evening and I replied the next morning. He then got straight back to me and I responded on the Friday lunchtime. But that was it. My final text put the ball in his court and he clearly just wasn’t keen enough to follow up.


My other ‘dating’ encounter was with a guy I wasn’t so instantly attracted to. He was clearly interested and I went along with it because he seemed like a nice guy. We didn’t exchange numbers but he took my number from a mutual friend afterwards and texted me on the Monday evening, a couple of days after we had met. Texts went back and forth during the week, but he didn’t suggest meeting up. I didn’t mind as I hadn’t felt blown away by him and forgot about it pretty quickly.


Recently I went along to a party with mutual friends of his and him, not thinking much of it. Later that night he said we should have gone for a drink after the previous time we had met. I said that that had kind of been up to him. ‘I know’, he said, ‘but I had literally just broken up with my girlfriend of a year the week before.’ We had a fun time together but I left the party to go to another one and it wasn’t a great wrench for me to leave him behind. He sent me a friend request the next day on Facebook. I don’t know whether I like him or not. But this story is an interesting example of a guy who behaved as though he didn’t really like me all that much, but actually was keener than he seemed. By contrast, the former guy had given every indication of being very keen, but when it came to the crunch he wasn’t that bothered about seeing me again. Naturally, my behaviour in texting him was very non-New Rules and, even as I got in contact, I knew that if he liked me enough, he would have contacted me himself. I just couldn’t square the lack of contact with the experience I had had. I guess the moral of that story is that sometimes guys just change their minds, or have a strange approach to women. And you can’t predict when you are going to meet one of them – or really guard against it. You just have to try to minimise the damage, by not behaving in a crazed, totally non-New Rules fashion.

Will you stick to The New Rules?

I will not follow The New Rules to the letter, as I feel they assume some things of men which I do not believe to be true. I think many men are less romantically proactive but more emotionally sophisticated, complex and sensitive than the way in which they are portrayed in The New Rules.


Having said that, I absolutely agree with the spirit of The New Rules – playing hard to get never did a relationship any harm, certainly at the beginning. I, for one, find a man who seems interested in me much more immediately alluring than someone trying too hard. The book will become a useful mental touchstone, something I can refer to when on the verge of texting someone back very fast or writing something potentially embarrassing on Facebook.


The New Rules is available in paperback and as an ebook from all good booksellers now. Join the conversation online using #TheNEWRules.