Dating Etiquette

Dating Couple Holding Hands

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 the ups and downs of putting yourself out there, etiquette guidelines can, as in most social situations, help put you at ease.

Hosting a Date

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. 

When You Are the Guest

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.

Remember Why You're Dating

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 Etiquette Quick Tips

  • On the first couple of dates, keep conversation light and positive.  Just as if you were attending a dinner party and meeting another person for the first time.
  • Once you feel comfortable with your date and have spent time together, the natural course of conversation will bring personal information to light.  This may be interesting, or it may be included in your assessment of whether the person is partner material for you.  It's up to you to decide.
  • Don't assume that an intimate relationship will happen quickly.  And don't force anything if it doesn't happen within the time you think it should. 
  • If you decide you don't want to continue seeing this person, be honest about it, but be gentle.  Rejection hurts.
  • If you are the one being told good-bye for good, accept it with dignity.  No matter how much you liked this person, there is someone out there who is better suited for you.  Otherwise, this person wouldn't be setting you free to find that one.
  • Once you've been out a few times, and before things turn serious for either of you, it's fine to ask him or her if they are dating other people.  Just don't ask unless you can be okay with whatever answer is given.

Love is in the Air

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!

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