Dating Etiquette

Dating in today's world can be very stressful. With the expectations constantly changing, it can be difficult to keep up. People should be able to enjoy the other person's company without having to worry about how their every action will be interpreted. This article is intended to answer the most common questions of modern-day daters and provide the advice necessary to master today's standards of dating etiquette.

The Conversation

The heart of dating lies in the conversation. Quality conversation requires more than just interesting topics, and extends to how you discuss these topics. Maintain eye contact, but don't stare. Avoid any crude or profane language. You want your date to feel comfortable talking to you at all times. Along these same lines, do not be discouraged by moments of silence. These are much better than forced conversation and can be used to collect your thoughts.

Much of a date is getting to know the other person, so be sure to ask questions. The key is to inquire without interrogating. Ask questions, but do not question your date about their answers. Similarly, do not monopolize the conversation. Nothing turns a man off more than getting cut off or not being able to get a word in.

Listen

The three L's of dating: listen, listen, listen! Take a genuine interest in what your date says. Show the other person you know them better after the date than you did before. Not only will this be appreciated, but true chemistry absolutely depends on it. Whether or not you feel a connection, the other person should be your number one priority throughout the entire date. This concept also applies to cell phones; do not answer any calls or texts on your date. Nothing is so important it cannot wait until the date is over. If there is an emergency that requires your attention, explain to your date who it is and why you must take it so they understand.

Who Pays?

The issue of who should pay on the date has created a lot of confusion over the years. This is a very gray topic, but some general rules of thumb can be followed. Men have always been expected to pay in the past, but the rules have changed as women strive for equality. Classic chivalry is by no means an antiquated notion, but today it is good practice that whoever asked the other out should pay. Furthermore, if a woman finds she has no romantic interest in the other person she should offer to pay for her portion.

The problem lies in the perception we create. If a woman ignores the bill altogether, she may give off a false sense of entitlement which could upset the man. On the other hand, a woman who tries to pay the bill could appear pushy or overly feministic. Unfortunately, no two people are alike and everyone has different expectations when it comes to who pays on a date.

One good approach is to bring the topic up after the first or second date. If the man has been paying, he could indicate his fear of being too presumptuous and domineering by automatically paying every bill. A woman could explain that she appreciates the man's desire to treat her, but it is important to her to also contribute. No matter what your situation, don't expect or demand anything. Remember that your date's actions are probably the result of a lot of nervous deliberation and should not necessarily be taken too seriously; give them the benefit of the doubt.

Dinner Date Etiquette

Dinner dates have their own rules for dating etiquette. Popular dating website Match.com teamed up with Today.com to survey singles and discover the dating do's and don'ts for dining. The four most popular responses are listed below.

  • Do not order for your date (67%).
  • Be willing to try new foods (66%).
  • Do not ask to split the check (62%).
  • Never flirt with the staff (87%, the number one turnoff according to the dinner dating etiquette survey).

Drinking on the Date

We hope not drinking too much on your date is common sense, but some additional dating etiquette should also be followed.

Men: Never push your date to drink more than she can handle, or push additional drinks onto her. If your date has to be drunk to like you, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.

Women: Don't attempt to go drink-for-drink with a man, or ever feel pressure to keep the same pace. It is not a chauvinistic stereotype; women are biologically unable to metabolize alcohol as well as men and thus feel the effects to a greater extent.

It is also a good idea for men not to exceed their female date's alcohol intake, a concept supported by the survey mentioned above. In fact, 70% of women were turned off by dates who drink more than them. The flipside is that 23% of men surveyed said that women who don't order any alcohol at all are a turnoff.

Be On Time

Always be on time, or early if at all possible. A late arrival may imply that you had better things to do than honor the scheduled time of your date. At the very least, tardiness is impolite and could be a sign that you may have commitment issues; if you can't commit to being on time, how will you commit to the person?

Keep an Open Mind

One of the most important pieces of advice is to maintain an open mindset when dating. Very few dates go perfectly, and you should not let a minor problem ruin the entire date. Try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. If you still do not like them when it's over, you never have to see that person again. Keeping an open mind will make the entire experience more positive.

Final Word

Dating etiquette is constantly evolving. The information above provides a good overview of today's standards, and many of the concepts outlined are timeless principles that should always be followed. The general notion of dating etiquette focuses on being polite and courteous. Just be yourself and treat your date with respect; the rest will come naturally.