A majority of men and women complain that their first dates start off well but ultimately end up being ruined due to the lack of dating etiquette reflected in the actions and behaviour of the other person. Remember, dressing well for the first date or spending lavishly is not enough to impress the other person.
If you want a second and third date, you need to stand out from the crowd that dating apps are teeming with. Of course, being yourself is the one advice the never gets old. While you shouldn’t pretend to be someone you’re not, you can certainly present a more refined version of yourself on a first date.
Knowing the right first date etiquette can help you do that and make a lasting impression.
Dating Etiquette – 20 Rules To Keep In Mind For A First Date
If you are wondering why your first date encounters don’t lead to a second, then you probably are doing something wrong. Take a step back and evaluate whether you are well-versed with the rules of dating.
If not, this dating etiquette lowdown with 20 actionable tips will help you correct course:
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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 first date etiquette. It is absolutely wrong to keep the other person waiting on a first date. It can totally ruin your first impression.
Ensure that you plan your time in advance so that you are not racing against the clock at the eleventh hour. Factor in traffic and other potential delays, and schedule a time that is feasible for you. Being on time shows that you value the other person’s time as well. This helps kick-start the date on the right note.
2. Avoid using your phone
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. Avoid using your phone at all costs, unless it is an emergency.
In which case too, you should excuse yourself gently with the other person’s permission and keep the phone-call short and crisp.
3. Do not dig up 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. Don’t talk about exes or past relationships, unless specifically asked. And do not ask the other person about their past either, as this might make him/her uncomfortable.
Discussing exes even before you’ve had the chance to learn about the other person’s like and dislike is among the worst dating etiquette.
4. Avoid controlling the conversation
As the conversation begins to flow, it is important that you both hear each other out. This gives you a chance to get to know the other person well. So avoid controlling the conversation and steering in a pre-determined direction. Proper dating etiquette dictates that your date comfortable enough that they can talk without inhibitions.
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5. Do not lead your date on uselessly
This is undoubtedly the most valuable pearl of wisdom in online 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.
6. Marriage or children should not come up in the conversation
It is just your first date with the other person and you do not want to make them uncomfortable by talking about 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.
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. Bad habits are always noticed and can make you undateable.
8. Avoid overindulgence
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.
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9. Always be open-minded
It is the first time that you are meeting the other 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 not judgmental.
10. Take a stand when required
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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
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13. 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.
14. Show respect to people around you as well
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.
15. Do what feels right
Do you have to end the first date with a kiss? 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?
There are no set rules about it. Just go with your gut and do what feels right in 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.
If you change your mind mid-way, know that it’s perfectly okay to say so.
16. Be 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.
Instead of putting on a show in order to make your date likes you, focus on presenting your true self. Remember that pretence may get you a second date or even a third, but it won’t take you far.
17. Your body language should give positive signs
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. It will improve your prospect of a second date. However, avoid being too clingy.
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18. Enjoy yourself
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.
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.
By following proper dating etiquette, you will be able to make your date comfortable, and in turn, strike a connection with them. Traditional rules of dating have given way to modern norms like maintaining an updated social media profile, splitting the bill, avoiding conversations about weather, politics, religion, knowing the right coffee date etiquette and so on.
We know that first dates are extremely awkward. However, with the correct mixture of the dating etiquette and dating advice given in this article, you will be able to seal the deal for sure. All the best!