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One of the most common gripes I hear from gay men is the complete lack of social etiquette or regard they feel they receive from dating prospects on the singles circuit. This is disheartening.
As an already disenfranchised and stigmatized community, why can’t we treat each other with more compassion and kindness? We are, after all, in this together.
Whether it be fear of rejection, hurting someone’s feelings, ignorance or blatant bad manners, we all have a responsibility to treat our fellow gay compatriots with common courtesy.
One of the most important dating skills is the ability to date with integrity. Not only does this foster better human relations, but it’s also just plain decency.
It helps in protecting each other and strengthens self-esteem and image because you (and others) know you’re conducting yourself with class. It also minimizes unnecessary hurt and drama.
Integrity means maturity. It means behaving with honor and class. It also means being an adult.
Below are some characteristics of dating integrity that can be helpful to aspire toward. As you read through these, what are your particular strengths? What are some areas you’d like to improve?
A single gay man with dating integrity possesses the following:
This means you consistently follow through with what you promise. If you say you’re going to call him, you do. If you schedule a date, you show up for it. “No-show” is not in your vocabulary.
By doing this over the long term, you’re demonstrating strength of character and that you are someone who is loyal and can be trusted.
He shows up for experiences as he is. He doesn’t lie about his age or weight. He doesn’t hide behind a computer screen.
He tries to build face-to-face relationships. He puts his best foot forward, flaws and all, and is unapologetically himself.
He is honest about who he is and is proud of his identity and accomplishments. He’s not shallow and he recognizes that perfection is a fallacy.
“All it takes is treating
each other with more respect.”
If someone sends him their picture on a dating personals site to see if there is physical attraction and compatibility, he sends one back of himself, even if he’s not interested in taking things any further because that’s the fair thing to do.
He shares the responsibility of calling a dating prospect, footing the bill or planning get-togethers. He returns phone calls promptly.
If, after a first date, he realizes a love connection was not established, he communicates this fact to the guy he met with tact.
He doesn’t string him along, leave him hanging by saying he’ll call and then never does. He recognizes this as cowardice and cruelty to the other person.
Conversely, if he is interested, he isn’t afraid to share his thoughts and feelings so that everyone is on the same page and no misunderstandings are present.
He knows what he’s looking for in a partner and relationship and screens dating prospects accordingly.
If he finds significant value differences to exist with a new dating partner, he doesn’t continue dating him because he’s hot. He knows this will only end up stringing him along, causing deeper emotional investments that will ultimately lead to heartache.
He considers the impact his actions have on others and sets appropriate boundaries as such.
While these seem like common sense examples of good manners, these qualities tend to be surprisingly absent from the dating repertoire of many in our gay community.
All it takes is some conscious intention to change this around to begin treating each other with more respect and kindness.
What are some additional characteristics of dating integrity that you practice?
What are some pet peeves you have about the way gay men treat you that you believe should be changed in the way we date and treat each other?