With a word like “common” in the term “common courtesies,” you think that all these things would be, well, common sense, right? Sadly, a lot of what should be considered common dating etiquette is actually a lot less frequently observed than it should be. Don’t make the mistakes other people do when dating, and try your best to follow these simple dating courtesies.
1. Be on time
It’s easy to blame the Manila traffic for your lack of punctuality, but come on. We know traffic is going to be bad, so plan ahead and leave early out of respect to your date. If you know you are absolutely going to be late and that it’s unpreventable, call your date to let him know so he’s not sitting there wondering if you’re going to show up or not. Don’t wait for him to call you 10 minutes after you are supposed to be there; call before you are actually late.
2. Don’t use your phone while on the date.
Being attached to your cellphone while hanging out with friends or on a date has become super accepted in our modern culture, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. When you’re on a date, your attention should be on the person you’re with. If you’re spending more time on your phone than you are interacting with your date, how are you supposed to connect with him? You can tweet about how the food was after you get home, but give your guy the full attention he deserves while on the date.
3. Actually talk to your date, and listen to what he has to say.
A date is all about two people getting to know each other better. So do your best to make sure that the conversation isn’t one-sided. Sometimes, one person is really good at just asking questions, and it’s easy to let yourself run the majority of the conversation by answering them. Don’t be that girl—make sure to steer the conversation back toward him and his interests when you notice you’ve been talking a while so you can learn more about your date and his thoughts and opinions as well.
4. It’s okay to make the first move.
One of the great advantages of these modern times is that women no longer have to play the helpless damsel, waiting for their crush to ask them out. It’s perfectly okay for a woman to ask a guy out; in fact, a lot of guys appreciate it because it takes some pressure off of them. It’s also okay to be the one to ask for a second date, to reach for his hand first, and even initiate the first kiss. If the moment feels right, go for it, don’t let gender role stereotypes hold you back.
5. Don’t bring up past dates with other men.
Of course, this can be acceptable, depending on the context. For example, if it comes up, there’s nothing wrong with sharing “worst first date ever” experiences and having a laugh about what not to do. But as a general rule, don’t bring up other guys that you’ve been interested in in the past. Your date doesn’t want to hear you reminiscing about the one that got away or that amazing first date that no other guy could ever live up to.
6. Overdress rather than under-dress.
In my experience, it’s always better to be overdressed than under-dressed. This especially applies to dates, and even more so to first dates. Even if it’s just a movie date, doll yourself up a little. Put the romance back into dating and show that you’re excited about the date and want to make an impression on him. It’s better to be wearing a dress when he shows up in jeans than to be wearing denim shorts when he shows up in dress slacks.
7. Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu.
I’ve known women who have actually bragged about doing this just because they knew the guy would be paying. Do not follow their example, it’s a great way to never get a second date. First of all, it’s okay to offer to split the bill or at least pay for drinks in order to show that you’re in this for the date, not just as a freeloader. But even if you know he’s paying, be reasonable. Don’t order anything that you wouldn’t if you were the one paying for dinner.
8. Don’t drink too much.
A couple of cocktails in a secluded corner of the restaurant is a nice way to end a good date. But unless you can really hold your liquor, don’t let it be more than a couple of cocktails. Drunkenness is not attractive, and it definitely won’t leave a good impression if he has to help you walk out of the restaurant. And you don’t want him to think that you have a drinking problem on the first date, do you? Besides which, if you don’t know him that well, getting intoxicated could be downright dangerous.
9. Don’t agree to a second date unless you mean it.
If, at the end of the date, you’ve decided he’s not the guy from you, don’t play with his heart. Don’t agree to go out with him again if you don’t plan to follow through. It’s cruel to leave him believing the date went great and looking forward to seeing you again, when the truth is you’d be okay with never ever seeing him again in your life. Be kind, but be honest and don’t lead him on.
10. Above all, be yourself.
Be the same person on your first date that you’re going to be on your last date. Never pretend to be someone you’re not. If your date doesn’t like you for who you are, then he’s obviously not the one for you, no matter how much you might like him. Be true to yourself and wait for the guy who likes the genuine person that you are.
First dates, and even second, third, fourth and eleventh dates can be scary. Romantic relationships are always unique and unpredictable, but there’s no need to overwork yourself with nerves. Follow this simple guideline to dating etiquette, and you’ll be that much closer to securing the next date!