Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dating in Toronto

Every time I write a new book about "urban" relationships in Toronto, I leave the process with a new perspective on a particular situation or series of events. Through my characters, I learn about potential consequences for actions, the results of communication patterns, and I use these fictional examples as general experiences that hopefully anyone can relate to.

As a result of my Urban Toronto Tales, and the trial and tribulations of my favourite characters (from Delia to Abigail to Symone) here are a few tips I have come up with for Dating in Toronto...or dating anywhere, really!

1) COMMUNICATE - Make sure you express your feelings clearly, and be honest at all times. It's much easier and less of a hassle to just be straight up and say what's on your mind. Phone calls, FaceBook, texts and BBM are great tools, but nothing beats face-to-face conversation where possible. Don't be afraid to say what you mean, and mean what you say!

2) BE HONEST - Keep it real about your feelings, your life, who you are, and who you aspire to be. If someone can't handle your truth -- your real truth -- then you probably shouldn't be with them in the first place. You can't guarantee that others will not lie to you or about you, but you can control what you say.

3) SOCIALIZE - Maintain a healthy network of friends and associates outside of your relationship. While it's important that you spend time with your significant other, it's equally important that you have other people that you can talk to and have fun with. Alleviate some of the pressure of always having to make plans with your significant other by having options and staying busy--with or without him/her.

4) DON'T TELL your friends every damn thing about what's going on in your relationship. There's nothing wrong with confiding in close friends that you can trust with 100% certainty, but remember that anything you say can and will be brought up again, or possibly used against you later on in the relationship. It's too much work to keep everyone up to speed on everything. Pick and choose what you reveal carefully: if this relationship is close to your heart, it's probably best that you keep it there, instead of putting the details out on Yonge Street!

5) MIND YOUR BUSINESS and try not to get involved in other people's drama either! Again, it is important to have healthy reflective conversation with your friends about life and choices, but beware of getting so caught up in other people's situations that it begins to distort the reality of your own. Everyone loves a good story, but focus on your own business instead of the choices your friends are making...or the choices they are avoiding. Let them learn at their own pace, as you continue to learn at yours.

6) BE POSITIVE - Where possible, always try to uplift your partner, be supportive, encouraging, and empathize with their situation whatever it might be. Everyone can use a system of inspiration in their lives, positive energy and loving vibes.

7) SHOW SOME RESPECT - Whether you're from the same part of Toronto, from the same island back home, neighbourhood or ethnicity in general...be sure to respect your partner's heritage and family. Chances are that people from the westend might move differently than people from the east (it's true!), South Asians might have cultural differences from West Indians, or Jamaicans might have different customs and characteristics than Bajans...but no need to disrespect anyone in order to big up your own heritage or background. We have the unique benefit of intimately experiencing so many different cultures in Toronto that we should embrace and celebrate our differences, and teach each other where possible.

8) NO GAMES - Despite what has worked in the movies, on TV, with your friends, or even what seems like a brilliant scheme in your mind, wherever posisble, try to be straight up and not play around with someone's emotions. Deceipt and manipulation are addictive...don't get pulled into those bad habits!

9) BE CREATIVE - Just because you live in Mississauga doesn't mean that you have to stay to that end of the city. Branch out to Markham for the day, or wander around new parts of downtown on the weekend. Toronto is a beautiful place from east to west, so get out and explore what's out there with your partner. No need to get comfortable chilling in the basement, or going to the same old AMC theatre. Drive around, and change up the routine if you can!

10) BE YOURSELF - Show your true colours from day one. If you have things to hide, habits to be ashamed of, and personality characteristics that you are trying to avoid displaying, realize that they will eventually be seen. You can't help who you are naturally, so you might as well come real with it from the beginning. If s/he can't love you for who you truly are, then s/he just can't love you, period.

Whether you're in Brampton or Oshawa, Ontario...in other locations across Canada, or anywhere...hopefully these are generic enough dating rules that they can apply. But I can only speak about what I see, and that's Toronto...God bless Toronto because the many situations I have seen and heard have helped me to create my books: all inspired by this wonderful city.
Please click the logo below to purchase one of the novels in my Urban Toronto Tales collection, "Stories about the Life YOU Live"...


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