Your married friends mean well when they give you dating advice.
But damn, are they off-base sometimes. That’s especially true if they’ve been out of the dating pool for more than a few years. Sure, they may have been exposed to Match.com way back when, but a lot has changed since then. (For one? The proliferation of dick pics. Fun.)
To provide singles with a little comedic relief, we asked writers, dating coaches and comedians to share the most misguided dating advice they’ve ever received from a married friend. Here’s what they had to say:
Go to church! There’s men ... and free food.
“My married friend told me I should get involved in a church or religious organization in order to meet a guy. I’m not personally religious, but she said this didn’t matter. She also cited the free food as a potential benefit (I worked at a tech startup at the time — there was a ton of free food). I said I wondered if it would affect our future relationship if he found out I’d been using religion as a tool to meet men, and she said I should just never bring it up. Anyway, I’m a Buddhist now (for other reasons) and have yet to meet a guy.” ― Ginny Hogan, author of “Toxic Femininity in the Workplace”
Date guys who remind you of a dad!
“My married friend told me, ‘You should totally date that guy. He’s so sweet and he’d be a great father.’ When single, I’m not looking for a daddy. I’m looking for a fun partner that makes me feel things all over my body. Married people forget that there are so many more things that are part of the selection process when you are single. It’s not about this guy just being sweet or that he’d be a ‘great dad.’ Those are things that are highly important once you’re coupled up. Even though this advice is probably the advice that should be taken, it’s not the advice that resonates with anyone who’s single.” ― Marni Kinrys, dating coach at the Wing Girl Method
Get your rose ceremony on.
Just wait for it, God will make it happen.
“A married couple I know told me, ‘Just be patient, God will eventually put The One in front of you.’ This was especially ironic because: 1. I didn’t want ‘The One.’ I just wanted someone. 2. They met at church. 3. They met while they were both engaged to someone else and cheated on their partners with one another. It’s great that they got married, I guess. This was 10 years ago; now they’re divorced.” ― Brendon Lemon, comedian from Detroit
Keep dating a schmuck!
“My bad advice came from two friends. My married friend Rochelle asked if I’d like to meet her single friend Dan.‘Go out with him, he’s nice-looking,’ she said. When I questioned her what ‘nice-looking’ meant, she said, ‘He’s not bad looking.’ I talked to Dan on the phone and made a date for the upcoming Saturday night.
When he picked me up at the train station, I was questioning whether Rochelle needed glasses. Unfortunately, Dan resembled an owl. This was a disaster since I could tell that he was attracted to me based on his persistent need to touch my thigh throughout the date.
I tried going out with him one more time based on my married guy friend Neil’s advice. ‘Try it one more time, sometimes chemistry has to grow.’
What I found out was that chemistry doesn’t grow if you’re immediately turned off. The ‘nice-looking’ guy went on to find a girl who saw him more like a peacock and less like an owl.” ― KarenLee Poter, host of “The KarenLee Poter Show” on YouTube and co-host of the podcast “Sex Talk With My Mom”
Establish dominance early on.
“My male co-worker told me not to take out the garbage, wash the dishes or do anything domestic when I started getting serious with my now fiancée. His reasoning? Power move to assert dominance. I told him it wasn’t the ‘Mad Men’ era anymore and I was more of a Danny Tanner-type guy ’cause I like to clean. And yes, most people reading this will have to google Danny Tanner, I’m guessing.” ― Joshua Womack, comedian in Cleveland
“At Yom Kippur this year, my great aunt told me to ‘date a younger man.’ All of her widowed friends say it works out better in the long run. We quickly changed the topic at dinner.” ― Jenny Gorelick, comedian in New York City
The trick to making it work? Lying.
“I grew up in southwest Missouri, and a lot of my friends growing up got married in their late teens/early 20s so they could be ‘allowed’ to have sex finally. Being that they weren’t even real adults yet, I’ve heard some less-than-stellar relationship advice, a lot of it from married men who didn’t seem to know what they were getting into. I had a drinking buddy once tell me, ‘Marriage is all about secrets,’ after explaining how he hides porn on his smartphone. A guy from my hometown church had gotten into a squabble with his wife, and after she stormed away, he shrugged and said, ‘Eh, she can’t be mad forever!’ You guessed it: Both these guys are divorced now.” ― Tyler Snodgrass, comedian in Brooklyn, New York
Listen to your heart.
“I only have two married friends and their names are MOM and DAD. OK, that’s a lie; I may be young, but I’m also from Texas, so I have a handful of married friends from home. The worst dating advice they typically give is to ‘listen to my heart.’ Literally ... no. If I’m coming to a married person for relationship advice, it’s because I recognize that they have found lasting love and thus know something that I don’t. I don’t want to listen to my heart, I want to listen to yours. Your heart seems way smarter than mine.” ― Allison O’Conor, comedian in Brooklyn, New York
Find out his net worth.
“Being that I write about love and dating for my career, I’m always inundated with unsolicited advice (including to just never get married at all ― projection, much?), but the worst is probably being told to marry for money instead of love. For me, time is worth more than money, so if I’m going to spend the rest of my life with someone, the return has to be greater than some dollar signs.” — Bruna Nessif, author of “Let That Shit Go: A Journey to Forgiveness, Healing & Understanding Love” and founder of TheProblemWithDating.com
Put on a red dress and hit on men at hotel bars.
“I was talking to an engaged friend about the struggles of online dating and how I wished I could meet more men in real life. She told me that she had an idea: I should go buy a red, floor-length gown, head to a local hotel lobby bar, and then just sit there with a martini making eye contact with every eligible man. She proceeded to show me her stare-down technique to conclude that it worked like a charm. She had good intentions to get me out and about and to stand out in a crowd, but a red dress at a hotel, staring down every male in sight? I broke it to her that there was a better chance that I would pick up someone looking for a paid escort rather than my future boyfriend. She still thinks this is why I’m single.” ― Julie Krafchick, co-host of the “Dateable Podcast”
Make sure she has a criminal record.
“On a night of substantial drinking, a recently married friend of mine caught me swiping on the apps and told me to ‘find someone with a criminal record so you’re more likely to get custody after the divorce.’ Five years later, he is still happily married with zero children.” ― Derek Graff, comedian in Chicago
Go big or go home.
“A dear friend of mine has been with the same woman for nearly a decade. On top of that, he works in children’s literature, so not only does he believe in love, he believes that love is magic. He left the dating pool long before the dating industrial complex created Tinder and Bumble and turned the whole thing into an impersonal swipe-a-thon. So his dating advice was simple: grand, vulnerable gestures.
When I started dating a woman I was bananas for, both his timeline and method for saying ‘I love you’ for the first time were as fantastic as they were absurd. He reasoned, ‘Of course you can tell a woman you love her after three weeks, just design a scavenger hunt where the final piece is in your breast pocket, right next to your heart,’ or ‘etch a poem into a mirror and give it to her so whenever she looks at it, she can see herself behind your words.’ Obviously, I did neither of these things. Instead, like an adult, I waited several months and just spoke from the heart. I have no idea how his over-the-top version would have turned out, but last month I proposed to that amazing woman and we are now engaged, so I’d say we still got the fairytale ending we hoped for.” ― Bob Gurnett, author and comedian in Brooklyn, New York
Responses have been lightly edited.