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In modern-day India, dating is a minefield. Pop culture has leaked into our everyday lives, opening up minds and horizons for more exciting dating lives. The flip side? Bad dates, questionable behaviour and the ever pertinent ‘what-if’ scenario. And speaking of, what if you become one those bad date stories?

Live and learn with this list we’ve put together to help brush up your dating skills:

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1. D-A-T-E

What do you need to get through the ever-awkward first date? D: a little Dutch courage, A: an appointed emergency caller (for a quick escape), T: the willingness to try something new, and E: no expectations.

Also, whether you’re a man or a woman, always at least offer to split the bill. This is the 21st century people; no one likes a freeloader.

2. Spell It Out

People aren’t mind-readers, so sometimes you have to say the thing you may not want to say.

Do you want her to stop flirting with other men when you two go out? Speak up. Do you want him to spend less time on his iPhone when he’s around you? Approach directly, but not confrontationally.

Are you simply looking for a casual relationship? Tell it like it is. Open communication, although potentially uncomfortable, will get you exactly what you want while saving you hours of grief.

3. The Friendship Beacon

The fact of the matter is that most of the time, your friends are right about your potential SO(s).

You may not be able to see through the oxytocin haze, but they see everything as it is, and will tell you so (pro tip: don’t get defensive).

Are they always right? Definitely not, but consider them a great yardstick for your happily-ever-after. If you’re constantly ending up with people your pals can’t stand, it may be time to evaluate your dating patterns.

And when it doesn’t work out, they’re the ones who’ll get you through it — so listen to them!

4. Leave the Risky Business Outside Bed

If you’re a millennial constantly going out with people, you’re probably having sex. And no matter how much you’re into the person you’re seeing, avoid the big bad wolf of the bed: unprotected sex.

It’s unsafe, naive (no matter what they tell you) and can be particularly uncomfortable if you contract something from them. Be prepared — carry condoms — and you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.

Like Rhea Dubey, 25, child psychotherapist in training, wisely puts it, “No glove, no love.”

5. Sometimes You Don’t Want Them & That’s OK

When you can get a date on at least ten different online platforms, in addition to meeting someone at a bar or a class, or being introduced to them via a friend, you’re going to be dealing in double digits.

When that’s the case, you’re not going to like everyone you go out with, and vice versa. It’s just the reality, so the sooner you learn to roll with it, the better.

Don’t take rejection personally, and if you’re doing the dumping, don’t lie to them or ghost. It’s tacky and unkind. People can handle the truth; give them a little credit, yes?

“Seeing as I am polyamorous, open communication is the most important tool I have in my arsenal, so that everyone involved is happy,” concurs Lakshman Parsuram, 28, an audio engineer based in Mumbai.

6. Boxes Aren’t for People

If you spend all your time trying to fit someone into a (metaphorical) box, it ain’t ever going to work. Same goes for you — don’t change who you are because you think it’ll make someone love you more. Eventually, you’ll tire of playing the part, and they’ll see you’re not right for them.

“If things aren’t meant to work out, they probably never will, no matter how hard you try,” says Amrita, 30-year-old publicist based out of Mumbai, on trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

What’s one piece of dating advice you’d like to share with other millennials out there? Tell us in the comments below.

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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