Some dating stories can put the best horror movies to shame in number of gasps, level of scare and potential for nightmares and long-lasting trauma they cause.

If you do a quick search online - or even ask your friends and family - you can find any kind of scary story. Maybe you even went through it yourself! Bringing their friends - or even family - along on the date, always leaving you hanging, making sexist comments, making demands and telling you how they expect you to behave, being married… There’s a horrible dating story for every taste.

If you don’t want to end up wishing you stayed home eating ice cream and watching Scream, instead of investing your time going out on a horrible date or, even worse, multiple dates with someone who turns out to be terrible, read on to learn about the dating guidelines you should be following.

Know what you want out of your dating experience

Don’t go into dating without knowing what you want out of it. If you’re looking for something casual, be clear about it.
If you’re looking for your forever person, be clear about it. When you go into dating while you’re still figuring out why you’re actually dating, you put yourself and the people you date in an unfair situation. You might end up going on a few dates with someone who’s looking for a long-term relationship while you’re actually just looking to have some fun and meet once in a while, making them waste their time and end up feeling frustrated and hurt. Or you might invest your precious time and emotional energy on someone who’s just looking for something casual, hoping they will eventually meet your long-term relationship expectations - and end up dissapointed, upset and still single when they don’t.
Being clear on what you’re expectations is what will allow you to identify the people you actually want to be spending your time with and rule out the ones that don’t serve you.

Get to know them before

Before you make the decision of going out on a date with someone, make sure you spen enough time getting to know them. No, you’re not meant to figure out their favorite ice cream, get to know their ins and outs and memorize the family’s names. It’s about getting a good sense of their vibe and wether your first impression of them, or whatever lead you to consider a date with them, matches who they really are. If you found this person online, text for a while, show off your personality and values and see what kind of response you get. Have a phone call before so you get a better sense of their energy. If a friend is recommending you go on a blind date with someone they know, ask questions. Ask why they think you would be a good match, where they met, what kind of relationship they have.
Getting enough information before meeting someone in person is not only a matter of safety, it can save you from awkward, tense and uncomfortable moments.

Be aware of your patterns

Has a bad date or even a bad relationship happened one too many times with you?
If you find yourself matching with weird people online, meeting with people who are a terrible match for you, or dedicating your time to dead-end relationships, more than once, you should probably try to look at your dating process from an outsider’s perspective. Be introspective and reflect on the kind of people you’ve been interacting with, the kind of interactions you’ve been having, and the energy you’ve been putting out. Try to see where it went wrong and if you’ve been repeating the same mistakes without realizing. Are you selective enough when you’re finding people online? Are you spending enough time talking to people? Do you keep going for people with the same traits? Do you feed connections even when you feel something isn’t quite right? Recognize your patterns and address them before you set out on another date.

Don’t ignore the red flags

Sometimes, we’re so invested in making it work that we overlook very clear signs that this is not the person we want in our lives.
They were rude to the waiter but “they’re so cute”. They keep making negative comments but “they maybe just had a bad day”. They keep showing up late and don’t seem to care much but “the traffic really is crazy”. They text you all the time and use loving terms way too soon but “they’re probably just sweet”.
Try to keep yourself grounded when you’re dating. You’re meant to take time and put thought into the process of introducing someone new into your life. And why the rush? You’re not desperate. There’s no reason you should try to find excuses to justify problematic behavior so you can allow yourself to keep this person in your life.

If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it

A lot of dating horror stories happen because someone didn't want to be rude or hurt someone else's feelings.
If you don't feel the chemistry, if it doesn't feel good to set up a date, if the relationship is not unfolding the way you expected it to - don't go through with it. It's totally okay to let someone know you don't think it's going to work out and that you should either be friends or just go your separate ways. There's no need to sit through an awkward date, feed uncomfortable interactions or even put your safety and emotional well being on the line to protect someone else's feelings (or ego).
If it doesn't feel right, let them know and move on. You'll be saving both of you some precious time and emotional investment.

Dating horror stories can be great conversation makers in social gatherings, but it’s easy to argue that that doesn’t make up for the fact that it’s dreadful to be the main character trying to come up with the escape plan.

Like in horror movies, even if you do everything right, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll have a happy ending - it’s possible that even if you take all the right steps, you still come across someone that doesn’t give you the best experience. But! Following the tips above will ensure you minimize the probability of becoming the main character in the next great dating horror story to a minimum and focus your energies on finding your perfect match.

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