7 Old-Fashioned Dating Rules & Traditions We Should Bring Back

by Carina Wolff
Ashley Batz/Bustle

With the internet and dating apps galore, dating in the modern world sure has changed since our grandparents' time. Although there are definitely benefits to this new way of courtship, some positive aspects of dating in the past have become lost, and there are a number of old-fashioned dating rules and traditions we should bring back. Don't get me wrong — all the rigid ways of thinking about relationships and gender roles can stay in the past — but I'll welcome phone calls and exchanging love letters back with open arms.

"People can benefit from old-fashioned dating habits because in the past, dating wasn’t as clinical and impersonal," dating and relationship expert Samantha Daniels tells Bustle. "People actually interacted more directly, had more personal conversations, and got to know each other one-on-one and face-to-face instead of relying on Google, dating app profiles and the internet. Dating and falling in love is the most personal thing in your life, so how you fall in love and how you date should be personal as well."

Although there are some dating traditions that can most definitely stay in the past, there are some we hope stick around. Here are seven old-fashioned dating rules and traditions we should bring back.


Calling Instead Of Texting

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Back in the day, there was something special about bonding over the phone rather than over text. "With texting, people hide behind their phones instead of extending the sweet gesture of a call," matchmaker Rori Sassoon tells Bustle. Instead of relying so much on texting, Sassoon says to jump on the phone, and discuss your day that way.


Bringing Over Flowers (Regardless Of Gender)

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There's no harm in brightening someone's day with a little something special. "This never gets old but there are so many [people] who don't do this out of fear that [the person] will think this is too cheesy," relationship coach Sameera Sullivan tells Bustle. It doesn't always have to be flowers, but by giving your partner a small gift, it lets them know you're thinking about them.


Being Specific With Getting Together

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Everyone hates the vague "we should go out sometime," suggestion. "When asking, always ask for a specific date, time, and activity," etiquette consultant Jodi RR Smith tells Bustle. "This allows for plenty of face saving. If they accept, all is well. If they decline, but counter with a different date, you know they are interested. If they decline and do not offer any additional information or propose alternative dates, you know they are not interested, but you can end the interaction without your ego being too bruised." This way, no one is left hanging.


Little Polite Gestures (Regardless Of Gender)

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Though habits like holding opening doors for people used to be associated with gender norms, repurposing them for modern dating can come off as polite and make a person feel taken care of, regardless of gender. "Small gestures show that someone is caring and considerate, and many [people] will give a [person] a second chance," matchmaking and dating expert Stef Safran tells Bustle. By taking stereotypical assumptions out of these gestures, they can definitely be used today.


Hand-Written Notes & Cards

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"In this day and age of electronics and 140 text characters, it is so rare to get a hand-written note," relationship coach Martin Kupper tells Bustle. "Although a long love letter is something very special, a simple card with heartfelt sentiments really shows your partner how much you cherish them."


Family Introductions

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Today, it's totally normal that a parent has no idea who their child is dating, but that wasn’t the case back in the day. "Potential partners were introduced to immediate family members early on," lifestyle coach and relationship expert Fila Antwine tells Bustle. "That was helpful in seeing how daters behaved around respected members of the family and what family members thought of the dater, and it created an overall sense of security and safety for everyone involved."


Sitting Through A Whole Dinner

Grabbing a quick drink can be convenient, but longer face-to-face contact gives each person more of an opportunity for chemistry to happen. "Everyone wants things to happen so fast," says Sassoon. "What happened to having dinner and being generous with your time in getting to know someone? Go slow, be curious, and don’t sum them up so fast. You might be pleasantly surprised. The more time you spend, the more time you’ll know for sure."

Of course, not all habits from the past will work for modern dating, but by integrating some of these tips, we can help grow a stronger, personal connection in our relationship.