Dating Etiquette – 20 Things You Should Never Ignore On A First Date

Single Life | |
Updated On: June 13, 2024
Dating Etiquette

The first date, and you hope it is the start of something wonderful, there is a dating etiquette to follow! Like the start of every relationship, personal or professional, there are some do’s and don’t with the first date etiquette list too.

For a majority of men and women, their first dates often start off well, and you want the other to think well of you. Eventually, very often, the first date does not lead to the next, with a lack of dating etiquette reflected in the actions and behavior of one person. Remember, dressing well for the first date or spending lavishly is not enough to impress the other person.

Dating Etiquette – 20 Rules To Keep In Mind For A First Date

Dating etiquette comes into play whether you know you date well or are getting to meet your date for the first time after meeting online. If you want a second and third date it is critical that your first date goes off well. If you want the relationship to move forward, you need to be able to make sure the person thinks you are worth it. Especially with so many dating apps and so little time!

Of course, being yourself is the one piece of advice that never gets old. We have all had those dating etiquette for guys, and a list of date rules for the ladies. Dating etiquette definitions vary, some are truly old-fashioned and irrelevant now. But the one evergreen rule is to remember, you are searching for someone who enjoys being with you. Pretending to enjoy a nightclub when you prefer a quieter walk in the park is a difficult proposition to maintain. Just be you!

But you can certainly present a more refined version of yourself on a first date, here are some first date etiquette that can help you do that and make a lasting impression.

Take a step back and evaluate whether you are well-versed with the rules of dating. If you are wondering why your first date encounters don’t lead to a second, then you probably are doing something wrong.

If not, this dating etiquette lowdown with 20 actionable tips will help you correct course:

Related Reading: 10 Tips to Date When You Have Social Anxiety

1. Don’t be late

This is kind of a given. Considering how many people don’t see punctuality as a virtue, this ranks right at the top of our list of dating etiquette. And no, it is not only for the first dates, but for all the ones that follow.

Just as you would make the effort in your professional life, it is expected that you’d give preference to your personal life as well. It is absolutely wrong to keep the other person waiting on a first date. First impressions do count!

Being kept waiting on a first date is not good!

Being on time shows that you value the other person’s time as well. This helps kick-start the date on the right note. Whether you want to add this to your first coffee date etiquette or your first lunch date together, this is an important consideration as first impressions count.

2. First date etiquette includes not digging the past

This first date may be the beginning of something new and special with the other person. You must ensure that you don’t bring the baggage of your past to the date. Plus, you must not try to dig the past in your date’s life.

Discussing exes even before you’ve had the chance to learn about the other person’s likes and dislikes in the romantic sense is among the worst dating etiquette.

Don’t volunteer too much information or too soon, nor ask questions about past relationships unless offered. This probably tops the list of things you should not do on the first date.

This is your first date with someone new, not a drink with a pal and a shoulder to cry on, even if this is a first date with an old-friend-turned-potential-relationship. So do make this a start of something wonderful.

3. Avoid using your phone

Technology has its own pluses and minuses. And dating and relationships is a tricky space. You might be a busy person who receives a lot of phone calls and text messages. But on your first date, your time and attention should be reserved for the other person exclusively. Keep your phone in your pocket, or your bag, focus on the person without any distractions!

In case of an emergency, it is easier and more polite to excuse yourself with the other person’s permission and keep the call short and crisp.

4. Being yourself is a crucial online dating etiquette

Well, you should be yourself at all times and in any kind of dating setup. But this is even more crucial if you first connected online. Given that people on dating apps often pretend to be what they’re not, this makes for crucial online dating etiquette.

If you change your mind mid-way, know that it’s perfectly okay to say so.

Instead of putting on a show in order to make your date likes you, focus on presenting your true self. Remember that pretense may get you a second date or even a third, but it won’t take you far.

There are no set rules about it. Just go with your gut and do what feels right at the moment to the both of you. Remember to seek and give consent, if you do plan to take things to the next level on a first date.

5. Avoid controlling the conversation

More on dating tips

As the conversation begins to flow, it is important that you both hear each other out. This is a conversation, and this date is not just about you. Talk about hobbies, passions, about each others jobs, the books and movies you enjoy, keep the flow.

Avoid potential topics around long term promises, marriage and children this time round, the first date is more exploratory than to pin the person down. Even if this is an arranged date!

It is your first chance to get to know the other person well. So avoid controlling the conversation and steering in a pre-determined direction. There are some well-thought of questions you can ask your date to know them better – and to include them in the conversation. Proper dating etiquette dictates that your date comfortable enough that they can talk without inhibitions too.

6. Marriage or children should not come up in this conversation yet

It is just your first date with the other person and you do not want to make them uncomfortable with long term commitments of marriage or children. How can you talk about the future when you are not even sure about the second date? These conversations are appropriate only when you have a real thing going and can see your future with this person.

Bringing them up too early on – especially on a first date – can be a total deal-breaker.

Related Reading: 5 Reasons To Research Your Online Date Before You Meet

7. Pay attention to basic table manners

A proper dating etiquette to portray you as a proper, well-groomed person. The way you eat and behave while eating says a lot about your personality. You must make sure that your table manners are on point and you do not make a fool of yourself. It is not about being knowledgeable about wine pairings or the correct use of cutlery, but a basic courtesy you show the other person.

Bad habits are always noticed and can make you undateable, especially when the person is still creating a first impression about you.

8. Asking questions is good dating etiquette

The first date is the chance to get to know the other person better. So you should make it a point to ask appropriate questions to your date. This goes on to show that you’re interested in learning more about them. This can make you more at ease in each other’s company.

If you have found yourself struggling to come up with the right questions in the past, read up a little about appropriate first date conversation starters.

9. Avoid bragging

You may have many an accomplishment to boast of. Your job, swanky car, plush apartment, social status, educational background…the works. But rubbing it in your date’s face qualifies as the worst dating etiquette.  Trust us when we say, no one likes a show-off.

If your date does not have the same level of accomplishments, you can leave them feeling belittled. If their success outshines yours, you will make a total fool of yourself. And anyway, someone looking for a relationship would dismiss you right there and then if you are more ego and less person.

10. Avoid overindulgence

The idea is to impress your date right? Why screw up the whole thing by indulging and then regretting it later on what things could be like. Too much drinking on the first date can make you lose control and become sloppy. The messy side of you is something that you do not want to show the other person on the first date. So avoid overindulgence in alcohol and be in control of what you do and say.

Related Reading: What To Order On A First Date? 10 Ideas You Must Check Out

11. Always be open-minded

It is the first time that you are meeting another person, so there will be things that you do not know about them. If you’ve met on a dating app, it is possible that the other person isn’t exactly what their profile portrays them to be. Online dating etiquette dictates that you don’t let your shock or surprise be known, even if certain aspects about your date’s personality or life are making your jaw drop to the ground.

Be open-minded and DO NOT judge the person on superfluous counts- unless they are very important to you.

12. Take a stand when required

So being polite, exhibiting great manners, some chivalry and presenting the best version of yourself all qualify being as first date etiquette. But what happens if your date is rude, has little regard for table manners, is behaving inappropriately and perhaps, has had too many drinks than what they can handle. Those are the signs when you need to take a stand.

Following the right etiquette does not mean that you tolerate each and everything the other person does. In case you feel that the other person has crossed a line, you must be upfront about it. By letting them know that you’re uncomfortable, you will be doing them and yourself a favor.

13. Your body language should give positive signs

Your date is telling you something that means a lot to them and they catch you checking other women in the restaurant. That’s probably one of the biggest turn-offs. Or maybe your leg is pointing towards the door making your date feel that you want a quick exit. That wasn’t your intention, was it?

Pay your date as much attention as you’d want for yourself. Making constant eye contact with your date, leaning towards them, genuinely smiling at them, all these body language signs are integral components of proper dating etiquette. These will make the conversations fruitful and engaging, and your date will sense your interest in them. It will improve your prospect of a second date. However, avoid being too clingy.

Related Reading: 10 Worst Tinder Pickup Lines That Could Make You Cringe

14. Enjoy yourself

Anxiety and dating does hand in hand, generally. Irrespective of whether the date is panning out as expected not, try to enjoy yourself. Remember that you have come out to have some fun. That will help take some edge off the situation. Encourage your date to have a good time too so that you both do not regret your decision of planning this date.

15. Do not lead your date on necessarily

This is undoubtedly the most valuable pearl of wisdom in any dating etiquette. Unless you honestly feel that things will work out between you two, you must not lead your date on. Always be clear about what you want from the first date and do not give false hope to the other person.

And for the person at the receiving end, do not take this as a failure. The person you have just dated has his or her own baggage, and it is not a rejection of you if this date does not lead to the next.

16. Always be ready to foot the bill

This is a classic dating etiquette that was traditionally associated with men. But in today’s modern world, when women want to be treated as equals and not subservient to their male counterparts, picking up the tab qualifies as a dating etiquette for ladies too. So whether you are a man or a woman, you must be prepared to pay the bill.

The best approach is to go dutch so that neither feels obligated or taken advantage of. And is also the ice breaker for “the next time”.

17. Show respect to people around you as well

Whether you are meeting for a coffee date, or a drink and dinner, the rules remain the same. There is basic courtesy you show the other person, whether it is casual dating etiquette or a formal arranged set-up.

Whether it is the waiter at the restaurant or the valet, treat everyone with respect and dignity. Being rude to the people around you and swearing at them shows the shallowness of character. No one digs that.

Related Reading: Waiters Share Five Of The Worst First Date Stories They’ve Seen

18. Do what feels right

At the end of it all, it is only you who knows how your date is progressing. Only you can make the call on what is right for a particular moment. If your date is seemingly interested in you and a second date looks promising, you should take it in your stride.

Do you have to end the first date with a kiss? Will you share your phone number? Is a casual hug more appropriate? What about having sex on the first date? What is the first date etiquette greeting when meeting or saying goodbye?

19. Suggest a second date

If you both felt a connection, then there is no harm in suggesting a second date. So take the initiative and let your date know that you want to go out with them again. Letting the other person know about your true intentions is the best thing to do at the end of your first date.

20. Always follow up after the date

Follow up with your date either through a call or a text message. This is a good first date etiquette that will let them know that you weren’t just whiling away your time with them. It will also give you a chance to assess where things stand between the two of you.

Even if things do not work, following up shows that you are a good person and have no intention of hurting anyone.

So, there you are! Now, take a deep breath and make that first move. We wish you good luck.

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