Hardballing is a new dating term for someone who is being clear about their expectations from a relationship - and whether they are looking for a serious long-term partnership, or a casual fling.
Online dating is hard. And it seems like every time we look, there's a new dating trend to keep up with. First it was ghosting, then breadcrumbing and (remarkably) cushioning. But now, there's a new kid on the block: Hardballing.
Want to find out more? Here are some guidelines for those of us who want to join the ultimately rewarding game of Hardball.
Only date others who are serious about relationship goals.
To be clear about your relationship goals, you must get clear on what you want from a relationship. You should decide whether you want to get married, if and when you might want to have children in the future, and what compromises are acceptable in terms of career and personal goals.
You also need to know what kind of person is right for you before deciding whether they're worth dating seriously. If someone isn’t committed to finding their life partner and settling down (or even if they just aren’t ready quite yet), it could be a deal breaker at this point in your life - especially when it comes to starting a family.
Don't waste time with casual daters.
The next time you go on a date, make sure you're dating someone who has sincere intentions. This is your future we're talking about - so don't waste your precious time with people who are just looking to hook up. If they're not serious about relationships, make it clear that you are, and move on to someone who is.
Be honest with yourself and others about your relationship goals. If you want something casual but keep getting into relationships that are more serious than what you were looking for, maybe it's time to take a step back and look at how you present yourself from other people's point of you. Wasting other people's time is simply not fair.
The same goes the other way: don't assume that others want something casual - they might in fact be seeking something deeper, but be hiding their intentions: be brave enough to have the conversations that truly matter.
Find others who have the same relationship goals as you do.
If you already know what you want from a relationship, don't worry about the other person's expectations - just make sure that your partner is on the same page as you.
If the two of you are not on the same wavelength, it can lead to resentment and frustration (and often, heartbreak) further down the line, when one of your needs or life goals cannot be met.
Discuss what you truly want from a relationship in early in the early stages - and talk about it again when both people are ready for commitment. It's best to discuss how far each person wants to go physically as well as emotionally, because these things affect both daily life and longer term goals - for example, sex before marriage, and building a family in the near or not so near future. These things matter.
If this no-nonsense approach to dating interests you, then Hardballing might be the way forwards for you, when it comes to finding a more meaningful and fulfilling relationship in the future.
As new dating trends go, we're all in favour.