Alright people, buckle up your seatbelts, grab a Red Bull and get ready to hop on this straight-up, no-BS guide to love, sex, and dating in NYC. In the next 7 minutes, you’ll get some of the most straightforward advice we’ve gathered from our readers and dating experts on how to navigate the turbulent waters of dating in NYC. PS – RSVP for our party for singles who hate online dating but love partying HERE.

Dating in NYC is filled with tropes and arbitrary guidelines. You can’t text immediately, or you look desperate. You must be somewhat busy or the other person gets bored. You can’t have sex on the first date or you won’t be taken seriously. Who the hell is supposed to pay on the first date? Forget all those tropes – we’re here to share all of our favorite rules (beloved and hated) with you for navigating the hell that is dating in NYC. We surveyed you, our ciaooo! Readers, our friends at BOUNCE and went to experts left and right for the ultimate guide to making your dating, sex and love lives the best it can be.

All “Men/Women/Insert Noun here” Suck

If this is a statement that you believe to be true, then you, my friend, may be the problem.  While we’re sure you’ve had your share of subpar dating experiences, you should know that dating is supposed to be shitty.

On top of that, if you believe that everyone sucks, then everyone IS going to suck. Statistically speaking, it simply can’t be that there are no, “GOOD” people out there in the world. Just look at Beyoncé! You don’t want to miss out on your Beyoncé because you encountered a few wannabes along your way. On that note, it’s time to take an honest look at yourself. Are you the self-aware, living life to the fullest, loving person out there? Or are you one of these people who hate their jobs, their friends, their dating lives, and possibly, even themselves? If your mindset is negative, you will be negative. If your mindset is positive, you will be positive. Your dating life will reflect your dating life entirely. So you have to ask yourself, would you be dating yourself? We reached out to dating expert, Cora Boyd for her take on how to improve your dating lives. She had this to say,

The people who are most successful in dating are the ones who make a habit of taking micro risks on a consistent basis. Dating takes courage and proactivity.

Cora Boyd – Dating Coach

You’re simply not going to meet someone if you’re in the same routine all the time. You have to be proactive in meeting more people. “I talk to people all over the country and almost everyone thinks dating in their city is the worst…you have to participate whether it’s striking up a conversation with that dude in line at FedEx who looks kind of like Billy from Stranger Things or asking your friend’s cute friend for their Instagram handle so you can “stay in touch”.

Think about yourself as an outsider. Would YOU be dating yourself? Maybe it’s time for some self-love and reflection before even trying to dive into the world of dating. Jordan Scott, founder of idktonight, a site that curates unique, fun dates for couples in NYC had this to say, “It’s so clichè, but the universe will throw someone at you when you’re feeling best about yourself and couldn’t be less interested in finding a romantic partner”. So there you have it, be the best YOU for yourself first.

How to Put Your Best Profile Forward

Photo by from Pexels

Dating apps are tough. 

According to a nationwide survey on singles done by, the internet was the #1 place where singles met their last first date. We’re all familiar with the process where we go through a few weeks of mindless swiping, go on a date or not and get frustrated. Delete it. Then re-download it a few weeks later only to go through the process again. Here are a few things to make the swiping process a little more in your favor.

Here is a list of NOs for your profile

Unsolicited Dick pics. Inadvertent requests for Sex, Nudes, or seriously lame sexual innuendos. Pics with fish, tigers or Machu Picchu. Shitty captions like “Live, Laugh, Love”.  Over these pics of you at your best friend’s wedding. Blurry pictures with sunglasses, entire profiles with all group photos, pictures with exes, pictures and basic ass profiles that simply do not genuinely reflect who YOU are. 

If I didn’t ask for it, I promise you, I don’t want to see it”


Here is a list of YESS!!!

Profiles should be an honest portrayal of you and who you are. Try not to only go for pictures that you look good in (like a bunch of selfies or insta-thot pics) but instead, images that showcase what you are like in your natural habitat. Enjoy hiking? Throw in a hiking picture. Obsessed with tacos? Grab that taco pic. Curating a “perfect” looking profile is so overrated and useless in grabbing the attention of the people who may have the same interests as you. Go ahead and show off that quirky personality of yours, at least, it will draw in the type of person who can appreciate it!

Try to also add interesting information that makes it easier for people to start a conversation. Are you totally boring and ordinary? No, absolutely not! So why should your profile be? Remember, people are not looking for perfect, they’re looking for compatibility.

When it comes to talking to people, remember, consistency is key. You have to prioritize dating if it’s something that you are serious about. This means following through on dates, being active and vocal about what you want.

How to Meet People in Real Life

Photo by Adrian Bacolo at one of the monthly ciaooo! Trivia Nights

You know that coworker that keeps inviting you out? Or the neighbor that said to come through to their dinner party next Friday? Say yes, and go – even if you have to go alone. Most of the people that we meet, the opportunities that come our way, come by way of our outer circle. Our best friends and family want the best for us, but we generally know those people and their networks already. It’s the outer circle that offers up vital connections that we may have never crossed otherwise. The same goes for jobs and connections. Attend events that tie into your interests and are have large groups of people. Like comedy? Take a stand-up class. Love soccer? Join Zogsports. Like happy hours? Come to our trivia night!

The New, Hard, Fast Rules to Texting Your Date

Listen up, world. Texting and taking a day or two or never to respond is unholy and RUDE. We live in a society where we take craps while scrolling through Instagram, you’re not THAT busy. Of course, there are rare situations where you genuinely were too busy, but that should be seldom. Taking forever to text back means one of two things: 

  1. You have fallen into the toilet and can’t get up.
  2. You clearly do not respect the other person, or their time, to respond back and are rude AF. 

So – do us a favor and respond back. Preferably in less than 4 hours.

On top of that, embrace the idea of the daily check-in, or maintenance text. Let’s say you’ve chatted a bunch on an app, or exchanged numbers in person (yes! It still happens), and have a date planned for a certain, ambiguous date. This requires a daily check-in because well, you want to get some sort of excitement ready for the day. And not some basic, “hey, how’s your day going?” bullshit. That’s boring. Pop in with an inside joke or reference to their profile, the upcoming date, or something you guys have chatted about. Putting in a little bit of effort will put you above all the countless lazy daters out there. Just don’t get obsessive or tell your entire life story or dating history, keep things light and interesting so you can have some real conversation on the date. 

“Everyone is too busy all of the time, so it’s hard to make schedules match ever.”


Go To Responses for Slow Texters

Is someone responding 4 hours later “playing the game” or are they simply not interested? Texting is difficult to translate, we have our friends look everything over and spend hours poring over hidden meanings and intentions. You then take 6 hours to respond in rebuttal, and then both spiral into a game of “texting chicken” until the world implodes and you never meet up. Slow texting may seem innocuous at first, (because everyone does it), but after a while, if someone does not prioritize you to respond to you on time, they don’t prioritize you. If someone wants to talk to you, they’ll talk to you. No matter how busy they are. If after a large amount of effort from your end, and you’re not feeling effort from them, then it’s time to drop it.

There’s no easy way to call out lame texting, especially in the beginnings of a nascent relationship. Here are a few ways that we can try:

“Four hours later…lol”

“Sorry, I made plans when I didn’t hear back from you. Let me know in advance the next time you want to go on a date/hangout/meetup.. :)”

“Oooh, you were being a flakey texter so I made plans.”

Or next time, while you’re in person, bring it up in conversation, admittedly not pointing them out as the person, but pointing out how it is in fact, a shitty characteristic of people in general.

“Slow texters and people playing games are such a turnoff.” 

“I’m a stickler for time. Yea, one thing about NYC is how flakey everyone is. 

Premature Excite-lation

We’ve all fallen for the pre-date excitement. The text convo is popping, their photos are cute and they seem to be way better than anyone else out there…and then comes, the reschedule. “Next Thursday?”, becomes two weeks later and the whole conversation has gone limp dick in a cold shower. In our survey of ciaooo! Readers, most people stated that the biggest pet peeve besides “ghosting” was flakiness.

If you’re frustrated at the lack of accountability, be accountable. If you’re worried that no one is looking for something serious, own that you want something serious. You have to set standards and speak up for yourself.

Cora Boyd, Dating Coach

You can’t control how other people act, but you can control what you do. Be accountable. If you’ve been texting for two weeks and haven’t gone on a date yet, it’s time to drop that. There simply shouldn’t be that much time spent before getting together, and it’s a sign that they are either attention texters or simply incapable of being reliable. That’s why brother and sister duo, Dylan and Laura Petro decided to start Bounce, a dating app that connects you to other people who are looking to go on a date that night.
“A lot of our friends were unhappy with the dating experience in NYC”, Dylan says. “Most were pretty locked in on apps. They found themselves spending a lot of time swiping compared to the time spent dating”.

Now, Time for the Date

Photo by Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club. Find unique places with games for more fun

Schedule dates close to when they’re proposed, ideally within the same week – especially if your job has an unpredictable schedule where you randomly have to work late or travel.

Dylan Petro BOUNCE Dating App

Dating should be fun! But grabbing drinks is lame and devoid of effort. Everyone and their mother has gone on a date that was “grabbing drinks”. And hey, if you’re taking someone to the same bar for all your dates, believe me, they’ll know. Let’s bring chivalry, creativity, and fun back into dating. People always appreciate the effort. Bike rides, exploring new neighborhoods, taco hopping, playing bar games, and exploring a random event are all fun ways to engage that quite frankly, might even be cheaper than getting drinks. Both parties should invoke fun ideas. You can always use our guide to CHEAP fun dates for some inspiration.

Dating Behaviors We All Hate – Ghosting, Flakiness & Lateness

We’re not sure who needs to hear this but DON’T CATFISH online. At least OFFER to pay for the first date (this applies to both men and women), and try not to be tardy. Try not to be flakey. We know that we’re all very busy in NYC and there are a million and one other things we could be doing, but if you’re going to make a plan with someone, be respectful of their time. 

Honesty is the Best and Only Policy

If you’re still in a relationship with someone else — do NOT tell people otherwise. Hell, you shouldn’t even be going on dates or on any dating sites. It is completely unfair to both parties that you are still with someone. If you are still not over an EX, and you find this out while on a date, it’s ok to tell them that. If you recently started seeing someone and are in that limbo of “together but not official”  – and you went on a date with someone else, but realize you’d much rather be with the original person – tell them! And, if there was something weird that you didn’t like, their insane obsession with Trump, just set the whole place on fire and get the fuck out.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Don’t be afraid to talk about sex. Don’t be afraid to ask about past relationships. Don’t be afraid to ask what it is they are looking for. Just don’t do it all within the first 15 minutes of meeting one another. All of these can feel taboo, but it also allows you to get a gauge of what is going on. Sex should be a topic that one can speak about early on if you both feel like it’s something that you guys are on the way of doing, then bring it up. What do you like? How do you prefer it? It’s insane to expect someone to instantly know what you like or need. It’s almost like blindly searching for a treasure map, you need to have the conversation either before or during. Try,  “What do you like?” or, “I love it when you do that”. At least, this way you can guarantee you’ll both have a good time.

Ghosting, Ghosting, Ghosting

Ghosting is by far the #1 hated act by our surveyed singles.

Ghosting. Oh, Ghosting. How we hate you so. 

When we surveyed our readers, the #1 largest pet peeve was GHOSTING. Here’s what some of you said:

“Be an adult and just tell me you’re not interested. It stings less that way.”

“It’s just not that hard to text someone and let them know you’re not interested”

“I hate it so much. Just be assertive, honest and give people the peace of mind they deserve after fucking with them.”

“If you’re ghosting…F U and learn to communicate your f-ing feelings!!!”

Ghosting is that excruciating act where someone simply stops responding or hitting you up to date/text meet, leaving you in a perpetual limbo of, “WELL, WHAT DID I DO WRONG?” that resembles one of Dante’s nine circles of Hell. There’s no clearly defined, YES, I’m into you and there’s NO, We simply don’t click. In our opinion, ghosting is the most cowardly way out of handling something because it means you either a. Simply can’t handle emotions to talk about them respectfully so, therefore, shouldn’t even be in a relationship or b. Simply RUDE AF and can’t even give someone some peace of mind.

Ghosting also leads us to think that most people are simply not mature enough to deal with confrontation. Simply throwing a, “Hey! I had a great time, but I just don’t think we’re the right fit. I wish you the best of luck” is a fine text to throw that will cut the person’s turmoil.

A survey from BOUNCE dating app found that 64 percent of people found ghosting appropriate early on with varying degrees of acceptance between 1-3 dates. Anything MORE than that though, deserves a full explanation, especially if you have slept together, been intimate or fingered each other’s buttholes. Why? Because if you’ve been intimate enough to see each other naked, you owe it to one another to be respectful so they are not sitting there wondering what they did wrong.

When asked why people ghost, our readers provided the following:

“Sometimes it can just happen, you get busy and time passes and you’ve not gotten back to someone, and that person hasn’t been active…I’m not gonna out of the blue be like “hey, sorry I’ve been busy and you actually assume I’ve not been interested in you but I guess you didn’t pop into my brain in my time of business so that’s a bad sign on how we’d progress”

“It’s also tiring to tell every person in great detail why it’s not working between the two of you, especially if you’ve been dating a lot of people over the year.”

Defining the Relationship

How do you approach the, “what are we?” conversation?  You need to communicate what you want and what your expectations are. Just ask.

People tiptoe around the topic because they’re scared of what will happen, or seem clingy. Maybe they don’t want a relationship, maybe they don’t want to be with me. Yes, there’s a chance, of course. But you have to be OK with the outcome, and when you are confident in what you want and respect yourself and your boundaries, then it means they have to deal with that as well and learn to respect you. One of the common things we see in relationships are people giving themselves away entirely to each other-sacrificing themselves and their identities for the relationship. Make sure to voice your needs from the beginning and if it doesn’t work out — then you dust yourself off and try again. 

Dealing with Rejection

So, maybe it didn’t work out. You had what you thought was an amazing date, talking and drinking till the end of the night and having a straight-up Notebook esque makeout session or National Geographic level sexcapade. Sometimes, the other person will tell you, “sorry, this just isn’t it”. Sometimes, they’ll just slowly fade, falling off the planet into the world of unresponsive texts. The truth is, sometimes you’ll never really know why it didn’t work out, and it’ll make you doubt yourself. A lot. There’s no way around it other than to simply allow yourself time to mope. It’s part of the human experience to be upset, to feel, even if it wasn’t a serious relationship, it still hurts. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Everyone goes through it and so we leave you with the words of sex therapist, Esther Perel.

 “Today people want to anesthetize their life from all these experiences. They want sure bets. This is life. You’re going to be in pain, you’re going to suffer, you’re going to feel rejected, you’re going to feel loved… you’re going to feel all kinds of things…And, gradually, you learn to build resistance, to become resilient in the sense that you’re going to beat back and move forward through these experiences of life so that you’re not just a fragile creature.” – Esther Perel

So what’s the final word here about dating? Listen, dating sucks in general. But, through it all, you will learn so much about yourself. You’ll learn to grow, and figure out what it is that you want from a relationship, and what you can offer. You’ll learn how to become closer to the person that YOU want to be, first and foremost. And a few years later, you’ll forget some of the worst dates, or at least, have a great story to tell at a party. We can’t make the dating world easier for you, but we can all try to make the dating world a little better for a place through our own actions. If we’re all a little kinder, I’m sure, we’re sure it’ll be a butterfly effect. 

Good luck New York City. And hey, we’re throwing a party for singles who hate online dating but love to party on August 15th at Sweetwater Social. You can RSVP here!

Chau Mui

Chau is the original New York City stoop kid who cut her teeth hanging out in Union Square, ate soup dumplings in Chinatown and explored this great city by train, foot and everything in between.

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