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13 Pieces of Old-Fashioned Dating Advice That Still Apply Today

These classic relationship tips can help pave the path to a long-lasting romance.

When it comes to dating, there are countless pieces of antiquated advice that you're probably better off ignoring. After all, why insist upon picking up the check all the time or waiting for three days to call back when it's not actually making you or the person you are dating any happier. That said, you shouldn't brush off all bits of old-fashioned dating advice, because some of them are actually worth following—and with the help of top therapists and dating experts, we've rounded up the best ones.

Hold the door.

young asian man holding door for woman while shopping
Shutterstock/Dragon Images

While your date is likely perfectly capable of opening doors on their own, there's something distinctly romantic about taking this task off your companion's plate. And while it may have once been thought of as something only men should do for their partners, certified mental health consultant and relationship expert Claire Barber says "it's a caring gesture that can work both ways."

Write love notes.

woman reading old love letters

Texting a love interest "Netflix and chill?" isn't exactly as romantic as you might think. Handwriting them a love note, on the other hand, is an old-fashioned practice that's every bit as charming today as it was a century ago.

"Sometimes, it is not only easier to write feelings, but also often easier to read them, over and over," says Barber.

Give sincere compliments.

An interracial couple is siting on a park bench. They are embracing and enjoying the day.

Those greeting card compliments aren't going to fly if you're looking for authentic romance. Instead, giving a sincere compliment—one that picks up on something distinct about the person you're saying it to—can make all the difference.

"Whether it's a new sweater, a new perfume, or their contagious laugh, it's important to notice each other and show that you care," Barber says. "It's often the smallest things that count the most."

Dress to impress.

putting on a suit

Dressing in a manner that's sophisticated while still being classy and fashionable seems to be something of a lost art—and one desperately begging to be found.

"Many times people try to dress to impress with sexiness, but when dating for love that is not what you lead with," says behavioral relationship expert Tracy Crossley. Instead, she suggests wearing an outfit that's comfortable, but that's also classy and makes you feel confident.

Don't play games.

woman laughing and calling someone on the phone

You've likely heard countless folks say not to play games when you're dating, and that advice remains true to this day.

"Manipulating another person by not calling back or responding or pretending you're too busy does not make someone fall in love with you," says Crossley. Instead, she suggests being "open and honest" from the beginning to foster a happy, healthy relationship.

Don't rush into having sex.

older asian couple kissing

While you shouldn't be shamed for getting intimate on your own timeline, it's not necessarily such a bad idea to heed the old-fashioned advice to take your time before having sex.

"It is best to have sex when you are emotionally ready and the relationship is in a stable place," Crossley says.

And don't drop everything for them.

young woman using smart phone in cafe after work

Even when you really like a person, and all you want to do is spend every second you can with them, it's important to take a deep breath and remind yourself that there is no need to rush it by devoting all your time and attention to them.

"Relationships are like fire. If you want them to last long, they need a healthy dose of oxygen," says celebrity life and love coach Mona Green.

Pay attention to how they treat the wait staff.

man yelling at waitress on date while upset woman looks on

If you want to know how someone will treat you, observe how they treat others, particularly people in service positions you encounter when you're out on a date. Someone who yells at the waitress for not bringing the food quickly enough? Probably not such a charmer overall.

"The interaction will tell you a lot about their character and subconscious beliefs," Green says.

Get to know them before anything else.

two young indian men laughing together on the street

It's easy to act on impulse when you are attracted to—or put off by—a potential love interest, but that's not always the wisest way to go. Instead, really try to get to know someone as a person before you introduce romance into the equation, or dismiss the idea all together.

"People reveal themselves at different paces," says Rachel Levenson, PhD, a clinical psychologist at CLARITY in New York City. "Give potential new partners a chance to show you who they are before making a quick judgment."

Keep doing new things together.

young interracial couple bowling together

While continuing to do new things together may seem like an obvious practice when dating, following this antiquated advice is actually a pretty great way to keep the spark alive once you're past the initial dating phase of getting to know each other.

"New experiences activate the brain's reward system, causing a flood of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine," Levenson says. "These same brain circuits are responsible for the 'butterflies' of early love. So when couples get into the habit of trying new things together, they activate parts of the brain that re-ignite romantic feelings."

Argue in person.

Upset disappointed thoughtful gay couple sitting on the floor back to back with crossed arms

As things continue to progress and get more serious with your new significant other, it's inevitable that the two of you will have disagreements and even argue or fight from time to time. When these issues arise, remember that even though it it may be easier to handle them over text, it's far healthier for the relationship if you do it the old-fashioned way and talk it out in person.

"Bickering over the phone is toxic to a relationship because emotions can't properly be expressed and issues can't fully be addressed," says Carmel Jones, relationship expert and founder of The Big Fling.

Apologize with a gift.

30-something black man giving girlfriend flowers
Shutterstock/Rocketclips, Inc.

What's the best way to resolve these arguments and fights between you and your partner? Well, an apology is a good place to start. But if you really want to step it up a notch and show your inner old-school romantic side, bring a little present along for good measure.

"This is still very much appreciated," says Jones. "It's a gesture that shows someone is willing to put in an investment into their apology and turn over a new leaf."

And never go to bed angry.

older woman looking upset in bed while man sits behind her

What's wrong with going to bed when you and your partner are still mad at one another? According to Jones, doing so should be avoided at all costs, "even if it means talking out issues late into the evening, because going to sleep in a foul mood will allow that negativity to bleed into other aspects of someone's life and the relationship as a whole."

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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