Dating is fun, stressful, exciting, and adventurous! You could be getting to know your future mate, or meeting someone you never want to see again.
With all of the ups and downs of putting yourself out there, etiquette guidelines can, as in most social situations, help put you at ease.
When you ask someone out on a date, you are hosting that person. Just as if you would arrange and pay for a party you are hosting, you arrange and pay for the date event.
However, this does not mean the date should be extravagant. It could be as casual as meeting for coffee or a stroll through a park.
No matter how formal or casual the itinerary, if you've asked someone to be your guest for a period of time, impress her or him with your planning skills. Do your best to ensure a good time for you both.
A gracious guest always has a warm smile, makes eye contact, and keeps pleasant conversation going. This is your role when someone has asked you to be his or her date. And it's an enjoyable role whether you are dating someone new, or embarking on a monogamous relationship.
Although there is no need to send a written thank-you after you have been hosted by a date for an evening, a text or email thanking him or her is a nice gesture. But don't send this if your only purpose is to bait your new someone into contacting you for another date. Remain genuine - and grateful - for the time you've already shared.
Dating is a way of "trying on" a relationship. You go out with someone as a host or guest, you give your full attention to that person for a time, and then decide whether this is someone you want to spend more time with.
When you go out with someone for the first time and feel there is chemistry between you, it's best not to assume this goes both ways. Don't involve your friends for their opinions, and don't stalk the person on social media, but it may be a good idea to look up your new someone online and quickly see what he's all about.
Just be prepared to keep to yourself the fact that you did this.
Once you have the "all clear" from your internet search (if you choose to go this route), assess whether you enjoy this person's company. Are you attracted to him? Does she make you laugh? You'll recognize the signs.
Dating doesn't necessarily require perfect table manners, and definitely doesn't require that you pretend to be anyone but yourself!
However, it absolutely requires that you be true to yourself. Don't let the idea of being in love make you fall for someone who isn't a good match.
Use dating etiquette to keep your head in the game, so that your heart doesn't go astray. But most importantly, make sure you enjoy this phase of your life. It really is a good one!