9 Simple Rules of Proper Dating Etiquette

Tamsen Butler
Couple sitting on bench in the autumn park

Whether you are just entering the dating scene or are a seasoned veteran, it's a good idea to always follow proper etiquette with your dates. After all, you'll make a better first impression if you are concerned about making the other person comfortable, which is what dating etiquette is all about.

The Rules

Just as there are rules in virtually any game that is played, the dating game involves rules as well.

Don't Be Late

If you show up to the date half an hour late with no explanation, you're already starting off on the wrong foot. It's rude to keep anyone waiting, especially your date. If you know you will be running behind, let your date know ahead of time.

Don't Be Rude

No matter what type of day you've had, be polite to your date. This rule is true whether this is your first date or your eighty-first date. Dates are supposed to be enjoyable, not uncomfortable. You should also be polite to the other people you encounter on your date, including servers. You will undoubtedly make your date feel uneasy if you snap at the waitress.

Don't Get Grabby

Don't jump past first base to third. Unless you've already established a relationship with your sweetie, don't become "all hands." This is one of the quickest ways to make someone incredibly uncomfortable. If this is your first date, it is best to assume that sex is not even an option. On a similar note, it is generally considered rude to ask questions about your date's sexual past when the two of you are in the getting-to-know-you stage.

Ask Questions

Do ask his or her opinion and find out about the other person. Avoid a long monologue about your history, especially if it isn't followed up by asking about your date's history. If you act as if the date is all about you, you may quickly find yourself alone.

Who Pays for the Date

If you were the person to issue the invitation and initiate the date, you should be the person to pick up the cost of the date. This is true regardless of your gender even though in the past it was considered the norm for the man to pay for the date. If you do not want to pay for everything, make this clear when you first suggest the date. Never assume that the other person is going to pick up the check.

Look Nice

Woman applying lipstick

Do consider your attire. This doesn't mean you have to blow your savings on a designer suit. Anyone can put on a clean shirt and pressed pants. Dress appropriately for the date and show that you put some effort into your appearance. You should have enough respect for your date to be in clean clothes, smelling nice and have your hair brushed.

Be Considerate

Make eye contact to demonstrate your interest in your date. Be respectful of your date if you smoke and don't force your date to experience second-hand smoke. Also, if you take your date somewhere, don't abandon him or her. Your date should feel important to you. If you go out with someone older or younger than you, consider the place you are thinking about taking them and whether they would enjoy it. For example, it wouldn't be the best idea to take a 20-year-old to your favorite bar.

Don't Mislead

Be yourself and don't pretend to be someone you are not. You want to present an accurate portrayal of who you really are while also putting your best foot forward. You also want to be honest with your date and let them know, as kindly as possible, that you are not interested in continuing the relationship if you aren't feeling a spark.

Do Mention Preferences and Restrictions

If you are on a specific diet or have unique food restrictions, let your date know before meeting up with them. Consider making a suggestion yourself so your date doesn't feel overwhelmed.

Dating Etiquette for Guys

It can be awkward during the getting-to-know-you phase of dating. Be kind to your date and try to break the ice as best as you can. Small, thoughtful gestures are typically appreciated and show that you are a genuine and sweet person. Some people are not comfortable with the idea of men pulling out their chairs, opening doors for them, or helping them out of the car, so be mindful of that and if in doubt, just ask.

Dating Etiquette For Ladies

Sometimes women feel pressure to continue on with their date even if they are feeling zero connection with them. Check in with yourself and know that it is okay to be honest with your date about your feelings. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any point during your date, trust your gut and remove yourself from the situation. Always let a friend know your location prior to the date just to be extra safe and meet in public the first time you go out together.

Recipe for a Great Date

Don't get so nervous about following dating rules that you forget some other basic principles. Compliment your date! There is a good chance he or she took some extra time to get ready for this date, so find something you can compliment. A simple, "You like nice!" can do wonders for boosting your date's confidence.

It is also important to maintain your integrity while on your date. If the two of you just don't seem to click, do not make promises that you will see each other again or that you will call tomorrow. A simple, "It was nice to meet you" is the best way to end a night that you do not want to repeat.

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9 Simple Rules of Proper Dating Etiquette