Why Most Dating Advice Does Not Work … and What to Do About It

When I first got into the “dating advice” world, maybe five or so years ago, I started out reading all the conventional wisdom books, like The Rules and others in the same vein.

True to the titles, these books were prescribing various “rules” for dating, such as “never call a man,” “break up with him if he doesn’t buy you a romantic gift for Valentine’s Day,” etc.

I feel a little embarrassed to admit that, for a while, I tried to follow the advice in books like that. And the results were … disastrous. I was already way up “in my head,” and trying to apply silly rules like those only made the problem worse. As if I wasn’t already beating myself up enough, now I could pile on more “beating myself up” for not following the rules properly. It went like this:

So now I’m following all these rules, and men still aren’t into me. There must be something wrong with me. I’m never going to understand how to turn this all around.

Yes, I also bought a number of products that promised “overnight results,” “bring your lover back to your side quickly,” “change your relationships overnight,” etc., if only I would follow their rules. Four quick secrets. Five things men don’t want you to know. Seven principles to bring him back to your side. Blah blah blah. I would not be authentic if I told you that any of them delivered on those promises. I don’t regret buying them because they motivated me to get on the path that I’m on today, but I sure wouldn’t recommend them to anyone else.

I’m here to tell you … as a veteran of pretty much everything the dating and relationship industry has to offer, for both men and women …

Rules do not work.

Let me say it again … Rules simply do not work.

Why? Because they are too inflexible, they kill spontaneity, they are not authentic, they lead to endless game playing and going around and around in circles in your mind, and — perhaps worst of all — they skip over the heart altogether, which is where all real connection begins.

It pains me when I read men or women talking about their love lives and saying, “so I didn’t call him/her for three days, now he/she is really going to see that I’m not a pushover” or “he/she is going to see that I’m busy with my own life and have too much going on to give a second thought to him/her,” etc.

No. He/she is not going to see that you’re not a pushover, and he/she is not going to see that you have too much going on to think about him/her.

More likely, he/she actually did want to connect with you, but now feels a weird energy from you (yes, he/she does FEEL it long distance, even if you don’t call, text, email, or stop by — mark my words) because you are way up in your head analyzing the situation instead of being a real, live, lovable human being who does and says what he/she wants to do.

This “being in the head” thing happens on both sides of the gender fence. I see men hesitate before they approach women, before they call, and before they talk on dates. I see women spin themselves into endless “stories” about his “motives” when he doesn’t call or do the things that would feel loving to her. None of this is helpful.

The truth is that we all do have access to a quiet voice inside that knows exactly what to do and what to say in every moment to have a happy life and great connections. It’s called intuition. The trouble is that way too many of us are not listening to that voice. In fact, way too many of us are not even able to hear it. The quiet voice of intuition has been drowned out by the loud, crazy, frenetic voice of the ego, which is judging, criticizing, and blaming everyone in sight.

It’s very noticeable in my coaching. Both men and women want to have deeper, happier connections, but I see a lot of these two primary “disconnection” patterns:

(1) The Hesitation Pattern.
This is when I ask a question, and there is a long silence before answering. It’s not a connected silence, either. It’s a “I’m in my head” silence. It’s a silence that goes like this, “oh, there I had an intuition of what to say, but now I’m already judging myself for saying that, so I stopped and now I’m going in circles in my mind.”

(2) The Endless Story or “Mental Spaghetti” Pattern. This is when I ask a question, and I get a long story with all kinds of details, and especially full of judgments and analysis of a situation. This I also call “mental spaghetti.”

When someone is following a lot of dating “rules,” I usually see the hesitation pattern. The person is afraid of being spontaneous because they are afraid of being judged. This person is often very concerned about what other people think of him or her.

When someone is trying to distract themselves from negative feelings, I see a lot of the endless story/mental spaghetti pattern. Because staying on the hamster wheel of our endless story about “what happened” and “how awful the other person was” is a way of avoiding deep sadness, anger, guilt, shame, and so forth.

Neither pattern builds true attraction or intimacy. Neither pattern works. And I see very little dating advice that is anywhere close to effective at getting people out of either of those patterns.

That’s why I use energy healing (such as EFT or tapping). I use it on myself and I use it with most people who come to me for help. With energy healing, I can close the “hesitation” gap so that people will be able to start spontaneously speaking their truth, moment to moment. With energy healing, I can also “riff” with a person’s story or mental spaghetti until they sink into their actual authentic feelings, feel them, and release them.

That’s how people become present again. That’s how they become spontaneous and attractive. That’s when they stop analyzing and start living.

That’s when they can throw all the rules out the window.

And it feels soooooooo liberating.



And you know what happens when you clear all that crap out of your vibe? Precious little moments like this, which never used to happen to me, ever:

I was having trouble getting a taxi yesterday and saw one parked on the side of the road, so I gestured to ask whether he was available, and he waved me off. Well, my internal dialogue was not “oh that sucks” or “that jerk.” I just kinda shrugged and smiled and went on my way.

The taxi driver pulls out and picks me up on the next corner. He says that actually he’s not a taxi driver in my city at all, he works in a neighboring city, and he was waiting for his friend, but he’d like to give me a ride anyway. So I get in, thank him, express how happy I am that he picked me up. Then I notice that the meter’s not running. I say, “Oh, no meter. Ok, I’ll just pay you what I’d normally pay a taxi here.” He says, “no, there’s no charge. I didn’t pick you up for the fare. I picked you up because you seemed sweet and you needed a ride.”

I felt so touched. But this is the kind of thing that happens to me ALL THE TIME now, since I cleaned up my own vibe with energy healing.

I want everyone to start experiencing this beautiful life.

About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

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  1. Hi Tinque,

    You make a good point. When I refer to "spontaneity," I'm referring to a different energy than what you're talking about.

    Many people have stifled their spontaneity because they haven't learned ways of expressing negative feelings like anger, fear, frustration, without blaming or attacking another person. So there is this reflexive

  2. In theory what you say is great, but spontaneity can get you into trouble IF you are responding to someone from a fear place. When in fear it's easy to misinterpret and say something that's not only unrelated to what was presented to you, you may also say something you deeply regret later.
    I have taught myself to "hesitate" a moment if ever any anxiety which is simply fear

  3. Quick, it's been nice to see you back on the blog. Welcome back.

    Bethany, I just want you to notice that even evaluating the conversation as "lackluster" is being in your head a bit. Do you see that? When we get all the voices in our head integrated, which doesn't happen overnight … even working with a skilled practitioner there may be a lot of mental spaghetti

  4. Anonymous says:

    Interesting: I am totally a "baby" at EFT and just learning, but I tapped this morning discreetly at my desk about my anxiety and feeling like I always screw up my relationships and "oh my god I've messed everything up beyond repair now and it's never going to get better" (oooh, feel that still, better get tapping on it some more), and then I felt sort of freed up…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Erika–love this. I know that is totally my problem–being too in my head and panicking and letting my mental spaghetti run me. It seems like what you're advocating is a practice for a way of being in the world instead of making oneself smaller. –Bethany

  6. Miss Mercedes says:

    Hmmm…I have 20 "Rules" on my blog that I follow (and created because of all the things I learned from my own disasterous mistakes) and they work. They are my rules to live by…they are my boundaries…they are my desires. They come from my heart and they work. I do love this article, but I must say…some rules are good and applying them to your life can change things in ways you

  7. Aldonza and Anonymous,

    Thanks for the great comments. I may write another blog article to expand on this.

    Anonymous, the other person is not really "losing interest." Usually what's happening is YOU have disconnected emotionally (by going in your head) or YOU have rejected yourself (by judging yourself). For most people though this is happening at a

  8. Hey SMoKeLioN,

    Lol, nice try, but … EFT cannot be used for evil. It can't be used to manipulate anyone either.

    I will say this, though … your thoughts (conscious and, more importantly, subconscious) are creating everything you see. So if you get YOURSELF in the mood that you're hoping to create in someone else, you're much more likely to see that mood

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Erica! I needed that! I think this is why I have been screwing up my relationships. I think too much! I want it to be perfect and then those thoughts lead to them losing interest.

  10. I wanted to comment on all the really good stuff you have here, especially about "the rules". Even Rori's stuff sometimes gets me too much "in my head" trying to remember what I'm supposed to do instead of being authentic.

    But then you commented on the taxi thing, and my honest thought was, "yeah, things like that happened to me all the time when I was

  11. Anonymous says:

    YEAH YEAH!!!

    I hate those female dating community products!!

    thanks to that some girl is pulling a retarded strategy on me to get me. fuck those strategies, theres no need for strategy when ur a hot and pleasant :P


  12. SMoKeLioN says:

    Hi Erika,

    Is it possible to use the scripts (ie the series' of qualifiers, without the tapping) from EFT to create or bring out a subpersonality in someone so they will play a role?

    If not, are you aware of any other ways of bringing out subpersonalities/roles in new people (strangers)?

    And yes, this information will be used for evil.

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