Wouldn’t it be great if people would just show their true colors on a first date? It’s frustrating to go on several dates with somebody—or see someone for several months—and think you like them, only to have them show a not-so-appealing character trait once you’re already attached. But it happens all of the time because that initial period of dating isn’t rigged to reveal the most important parts of somebody’s personality. Everybody can be on good behavior when all they have to do is drink cocktails and enjoy restaurants. Everybody is going to get along when the only decisions they have to make are whether or not to split an appetizer, or whether to get dinner before or after the movie. But if you’re ready to skip this fake period, and get to know who somebody really is, you may need to mix things up. Here are 15 unconventional dating tips you should try.
No texting allowed
If you have great text chemistry with somebody, it can give you the illusion of having great chemistry. If you make a rule that you and a guy cannot text—you can only talk on the phone or see each other in person—you may be surprised at how the dynamic changes. Can you still feel excited and connected if you aren’t allowed to use emojis and send photos?
No social media allowed
Make a promise that you won’t check out his social media pages if he won’t check out yours. We don’t realize how much someone’s social media influences how we feel about them on a subconscious level. So you’ll know nothing about his social life or what types of vacations he can afford—how do you feel about him now?
Helping each other with a task
Have a date where he helps you fix your leaky faucet, and you help him put together a piece of furniture. When the task is all about helping just one of you, how does the other react? Are they a good sport? Are they patient?
Building something together
If you build something together, you can learn a lot about each other. You could build anything from a birdhouse to a wagon, just make sure it’s totally foreign to both of you. When you have to depend on each other to accomplish something, how do you get along?
Going somewhere totally remote
Vet the guy a bit first just to make sure he doesn’t have a criminal record. But try going on a hike where there won’t be any people, working toilets or electricity. If you want to find out if somebody has a good attitude, make them physically uncomfortable. There won’t be air conditioning or a soft place to sit down. How do you weather that together?
The assumptions game
This can be very interesting. Give each other the freedom to openly make assumptions about each other. Then you can battle it out. Maybe your assumptions are correct, which is fascinating in its own way, but maybe they’re totally off, and the way you react to that will say a lot.
You learn a lot about a person by seeing how they interact with (A) People and (B) totally new people. You can learn if he needs to be the center of attention, if he’s combative, if he’s jealous if he’s easygoing…
Competing against each other
Do something competitive. You can learn if he has a healthy competitive spirit. And by healthy I mean he cares about making it fun, but he doesn’t care so much that it gets weird and argumentative.
Roll out of bed
Make a pact that you’ll show up at your date just as you got out of bed. You can’t fix one hair on your head or remove one smudge of last night’s makeup. It’s a funny way to loosen you both up and take down walls.
The “who do you hate?” game
Everybody is so positive in the early stages of dating, but not everybody is positive all of the time. Cut to the chase; talk some sh-t. Tell each other about people you hate and why. You’ll learn a lot about each other, fast.
Instead of counting your cocktails, just go for it. Some argue that people aren’t themselves when they’re drunk; I argue they show you exactly who they are. If they’re an angry drunk, odds are, they’re just angry. That was going to come out sooner or later.
Don’t be polite
Make a rule that if the person does or says something that you think is weird, you can just confront them about it. No hedging. No dancing around the topic. You can just say, “What’s up with the man purse?”
First, this will show you if your date is even willing to do volunteer work. Next, it will show you how he interacts with people less fortunate than himself. That shows you a lot about somebody.
Do something that scares you
Pick something that terrifies you both and do it together. You’ll be too busy being freaked out to put on any airs.
Sneak into something
Crash a wedding or sneak into a hotel pool. It’s fun to be deviant together. And it shows you how creative or resourceful somebody can be.