Ask Amy: Dating rules for the newly single

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • November 15, 2013 - 12:16 PM

Dear Amy: I am a 27-year-old female. I just broke up with my boyfriend of 3½ years. I know I made the right decision. We are still friends.

I have been single for awhile now and enjoy going out with friends or on my own, but lately there are times when I feel completely out of the loop when it comes to dating. I feel like dating has changed so much, even since I was last single!

I have a question: Do girls give their number without being asked for it? I have had multiple guys come up to me and strike up a conversation; we have nice banter — then nothing. Before I started dating my ex, I had a rule that if a guy really wanted to see me he would ask for my number. I thought this would help weed out the bad ones and those not really interested.

Many of my male friends say they won’t ask for a girl’s number, even if they’re really interested. They say she’ll give it to them, and if she doesn’t, there will always be another girl next weekend. These guys are in their 30s and are “catches” — and also nice people.

What do you think?

Amy says: This issue might have started with security sensitivities back when cellphones were not quite so ubiquitous. The idea is that asking a woman for her number is something of an encroachment and that if she is interested, she will take the initiative and offer it. These guys are just plain lazy (because they can be).

You get to do what you want to do and what feels right to you. You might try to offer your number to a guy and see what that feels like, but if you had “rules” four years ago, these same guidelines might be good for you now. There are myriad ways to connect with people (aside from cellphones), so any guy interested in you could easily find you on social media.

One observation is that as long as you (at age 27) consider yourself and others your age to be “girls,” you will attract “bros” to you (this whole “there will always be another girl next weekend” philosophy is part of the problem). If you want to date a man, it might help if you started to think of yourself (and refer to yourself) as a woman.

Puzzling diners

Dear Amy: We host an extended family meal semiannually. Some family members have attended the event but have eaten almost nothing. The explanation they gave was that they were hungry and ate at a restaurant before arriving.

This has occurred several times over the past couple of years. What do you think of this behavior? What should we do (if anything), and what should we say (if anything)?

We enjoy getting the family together but find this behavior hurtful.

Amy says: The most obvious remedy is to ask these family members if there is something about the meal you’re serving that they can’t (or don’t care to) eat. They may have food sensitivities, preferences or allergies affecting their ability to partake.

Another way to encourage participation is to ask them to contribute something they enjoy eating to the meal. Sharing their favorite dish might inspire them to participate.

Elder care an issue

Dear Amy: I’m responding to the writer who was caring for an older husband, and his kids were planning to put both of them in assisted living. She should have been told to find an elder care attorney as soon as possible.

My husband is now in assisted living, and I have a small home. Yes, I spent some of the kids’ inheritance on my house, but 20 years of caring for a man who became difficult about 10 years ago (and freeing them from that responsibility) should be worth a lot to them.

They have no idea what caregiving is all about.

Amy says: I recommended that the writer should thoroughly research all of her options; I agree with you that she should definitely consult an attorney.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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