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The Tiers of Dating

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The Tiers of Dating

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We’ve already seen that levels of commitment can compare with the Terrorist Warning System. Well, the other day I was thinking I could break it down even further. We can group different dates into tiers. Furthermore, attacking one of these tiers too fast can lead to disaster for a guy.

One Xmas, my sister got airline tickets from her boyfriend for a trip to Italy. I was impressed with the gift, but my sister had a lukewarm reaction. Unfortunately he had done what my friends and I refer to as “TFTF” – “Too far, too fast”. My sister and her boyfriend were broken up soon thereafter.

So, I’d like to lay out my dating pyramid and solicit your advice—not only on whether I’ve divided them up correctly, but also on the timing of when you think I can move to the next tier.


TIER ONE (One to Three Months In)

Things are pretty sensitive here. It’s easy to overwhelm and look too interested or too fired up...or to go TFTF. I would assume keep things simple, almost cliché. Stick to dates that girls are used to, and places they feel comfortable:

Group Outings – Heading to the bar keeps things casual and gives her a base because her friends are involved. It also helps her get a sense for who I am because she can meet some of my friends (usually not a good thing for me actually). Too much of this will make things too friendly, so I think it must be used at appropriate levels.

Dinner – Everyone likes to go out to dinner, and actual “dates” are rare. Eating is a sensual experience, and it’s fun to try out new places around town.

The Movies – Another cliché date, but it’s best combined with dinner. There is a lot of talking during the first three months, so you don’t want to end up in silence at the movies all the time.

Ticketed Events - This can happen towards the end of Tier One. Shows, concerts, art exhibits are all great conversation pieces and usually a good time. My dad used a ticketed event to woo my mom. He asked her to a concert that was months away. After she said yes, he felt like it was safe to ask her out to Broadwaydinner for the next weekend. Crafty!


Walks, and Drives – these are so nice. City, country, anywhere—getting out and seeing people and places is charming and sparks a lot of conversation. Usually good for end of Tier One.

TIER TWO (Four to Eight Months In)


Getting more comfortable and ready to try new things.

Weekend Trips – Now you’re really getting into each other. You can take little trips to the shore, or go camping. This is usually a big test—the long drives and general travel put a little strain on a relationships so going away together tests your mutual mettle.

Weddings – Once you’ve earned that spot, you get taken to weddings. You know it’s getting serious when your boyfriend/girlfriend gets a wedding invite with “plus 1”, and you’re even more in if your name is on the invitation too.

Parental Meeting – Casual - This usually means meeting parents of your significant other out for dinner, or in public. Once you’ve earned the right to meet parents things are definitely serious, but usually the first meeting is a casual one.


TIER THREE (Eight Months to a Year In)

Totally comfortable.

Parental Meeting – Serious – These are the ones where you are at the family cookout, and you’re meeting extended family. You are driving in other family members cars, and helping out around the house. People are starting to size up how you’d fit in their family.

TIER FOUR (Over a Year In)

Anything’s possible...

(International Trips) – This is all about investment: time, money, receiving shots in some cases. Once you’re traveling to big time places, you know you’re serious.

If I had my way, I’d stay eternally stuck towards the end of Tier Two, right on the cusp of meeting parents. The dates seem to get grander as you get more serious. Perhaps a great way to do things is to keep the little things in a relationship. They’ll always be a reminder of when things were first starting.

Do you agree with the Tiers? Have you ever had a guy go TFTF—a big trip just a few weeks in for example? Do you like things to get going quickly or do you like to start slow with dating?

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