Dating is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, and yet the idea of going on a date gives one the jitters whether it’s your first time or an old-timer. Here are some essential dating etiquettes to follow.
Call and make a plan: Call your date up and fix a plan. With technology at our fingertips, texting seems to be the default go-to button, but don’t. That goes for Facebook and Twitter, too. Do not PM or DM them over social media either. Man up, and call. Secondly, don’t be wishy-washy about your intentions lest you get friend zoned. Be simple and straightforward, and tell her (or him)s that you’d like to take her out for a coffee or a meal.
Do dress well: First impressions are often lasting ones, so make an effort and dress well. This doesn’t mean you have to dress to the nines (unless it’s a bow and tie party), but pick an outfit that’s smart and comfortable. Dressing like a slob won’t get you anywhere, and this works both ways. Make sure your nails are trimmed and clean. It’s important to smell good too, but see to it that your perfumes and colognes aren’t overpowering. Also, see to it that you’ve moisturised well because dry skin (especially in winter) is not an appealing feature.
No Late Lateef: Tardiness is a huge turn-off, so ensure you leave at a reasonably early, to arrive at her place on time, or at the designated first date place. Added bonus: Get her flowers. If you are running late (because you had a fender bender on the way, or a flat tyre), then you need to give your date a heads-up and an explanation.
Don’t be a scrooge: When it comes to taking your date out, and it’s your first time, do take her to a nice place that’s neither shabby nor ridiculously expensive. Etiquette dictates that a man pick up the tab on the first date, and they should. But, ladies, don’t sit back and pretend you didn’t see it, or conveniently run to the restroom. Do offer. In most cases, the men will decline your offer. However, if the date extends from lunch or dinner to a coffee or movie, do pick up the tab for that. Do not expect him to pay for all your meals and outings, unless he’s insistent; and this works well in a first date situation. But if this translates to a second and third date, ladies, don’t take him for granted; you need to put in your share. Believe it or not, most men will appreciate this gesture.
Ordering food: Gentlemen, ordering for your date is a thing of the past, unless she asks for your recommendation. Otherwise, let your date choose her own meal. Ladies, when you’re ordering your food, go for something that’s reasonably priced. Do not order the most expensive or the cheapest item on the menu. If there’s alcohol involved, keep it at a two drink maximum. Be a good listener: Don’t be distracted by extraneous factors, or get fidgety. Neither should you interrupt the conversation, but if it happens, deftly bring it back on track with a “Sorry, you were saying…”
Do maintain eye contact: While conversing with your date, ensure you maintain eye contact (but no intense gazing because it’s creepy and uncomfortable.) Nothing kills a mood like being shifty-eyed or being intense.
Do follow up: Once the date is over, gentlemen, please drop her back to her place, or get her a cab. Ask her to message you once she reaches her place, if she takes a cab. Also, leave a pleasant follow-up message which is a nice touch saying you had a great time and would like to do it again.
Do you have any specific dating etiquette that you follow? Let us know in the comments section below.
Siddharth Mangharam - The writer is an expert on relationships and co-founder of Floh.in, a curated network that connects singles in real life.