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LalalaLetMeExplain’s 9 golden dating rules

If you don’t know LalalaLetMeExplain then, seriously, where have you been? The anonymous Instagram educator, real name Layla, brings her candid sex and love expertise to a following of 182,000 on topics like porn, dating as a single mum and, of course, fuckboys (she admits she’s dated a few).

A qualified social worker, she never expected to do her passion full time, but the universe had other plans. When she started the LalalaLetMeExplain page in 2017 as a bit of fun, her frank attitude and well-informed takes quickly resonated with followers who were sick of wishy-washy Instagram infographics and wanted the kind of practical advice you could actually apply in real life. Now, she’s got her own successful podcast, an advice column with OK! and a brand new, debut book, Block, Delete, Move On.

And on that note…do yourself a favour and get your hands on a copy of Block, Delete, Move On. All you need to know about it is spelled out in the first two lines; “Have you ever seen the meme that says ‘Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by your own taste in men’ and raised your hand? Then this book is for you.” Enough said! Block, Delete, Move On isn’t afraid to go there and abundantly delivers the kind of tough love that we all need to navigate the messy and brutal world of modern dating – with its ghosting, West Elm Calebs and breadcrumbing.

To celebrate the book’s release today, Layla took some time to share her 6 essential tips for dating in 2022 from identifying your own needs first, to having fun while you play the field – and seriously, these are *gold*.

LalalaLetMeExplain's 9 golden dating rules

Block, Delete, Move On: It’s not you, it’s them

1. Do the work first

“Unless you want to cost yourself thousands of extra pounds in therapy, I would highly recommend doing the work before jumping fanny-first into the dating pool. Dating before we have figured out our own attachment styles, taken stock of our own red flags, and just generally healed from past trauma, can often to lead to messy and complicated relationships.

When we date from a place of low self-worth or desperation for love we can end up repeating patterns and choosing the wrong people over and over again. Seek therapy if you can, write out a list of some of your previous dates and relationships and what went wrong – see if there are any patterns, and really really work on self-love and on loving being single.”

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2. Get really familiar with pink and red flags

“The thing I regret the most about my own dating history is that I never paid enough attention to the little flags. The pink flags that indicated that there might be a red one coming along soon. Things like a guy not being able to call me in the evenings, not having any social media, and never being able to invite me to his house.

I know now that all those things are a big indication that he already has a girlfriend, but in my previous life as a clown, I did not pay any attention. Instead, I favoured looking through rose-tinted glasses to convince myself that the flags were just unrelated coincidences. Dating is so much easier when you are wise to it all, it means you can cut people off before you catch feelings and you’re in too deep.”

“The thing I regret about my dating history is that I never paid enough attention to the little flags”

3. Don’t move too fast

“Getting to know people and building trust takes time. It is wonderful when you meet someone, and you have that instant reciprocated spark and connection. The lust and excitement can make you never want to be away from them. Three weeks in you can end up feeling like; ‘I am going to spend the rest of my life with this person!’ You can’t envisage that anything could possibly go wrong.

But we must be wary of love bombing. Lovebombing is a tactic used by most abusers. They get you hooked in with an intense whirlwind romance and once you are totally invested in them, they will suddenly change. There will be a shift in their behaviour, they may become volatile, or nasty, or give you the silent treatment for a minor misdemeanour. Instead of leaving when the weird behaviour starts, we tend to want to stick around to try to make the person return to how they were being before, often blaming ourselves for the change. Taking things slowly can help us to avoid being lovebombed.”

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4. Make sure you’re actually a match

“I recently wrote about this phenomenon on my Instagram and many people related. It’s easy to get on with most people on a surface level, especially when you really fancy them, and even more so if the sex is great. But lust can lead to what we think is love with people who just don’t get us.

When I look back at some of my exes, I really wonder what the hell was wrong with me and why I tried to force it with men who were not a bit of me. I forced things because I was attracted to them while totally overlooking the fact that we had nothing in common intellectually. And it’s worse when it doesn’t work out with people like that because you know they’re not at your level. If they aren’t putting in any effort and you don’t know where you stand, or if they cheat, it feels worse because you end up feeling like; ‘Shit, if even this f*cking loser doesn’t want me – then who on Earth will?’ This leaves us in a perpetual cycle of being intimidated by people who are actually at our level for fear of rejection.”

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5. Be Safe

“Be aware that dating can come with dangers, so take no risks when you are meeting people for the first time. Let friends know where you are going and who with, don’t invite virtual strangers to your house or go to theirs, meet in a public place, Google them before you go, and read my book for more safety tips.”

6. Have Fun!

“Dating should be fun, flirty and exciting. It should be something that makes you feel enthused and alive. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the opportunity to meet and get to know new humans and to learn more about yourself. If and when dating begins to feel soul-destroying, exhausting, and just not fun anymore, take a break.”

LalalaLetMeExplain’s debut book Block, Delete, Move On: It’s Not You, It’s Them is out today (10 February).

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