Dating Etiquette

By the end of this page you will have practical knowledge of good dating etiquette to enable you to make a positively good impression

You will not bumble along in ignorance causing your prospect to roll their eyes in despair

It will change your world for the better Bookmark and Share

Dating etiquette comes naturally to people who already have good manners and show consideration for others at all times

It is second nature to them; they are not self-centered and are respected by people of either sex

When people date they usually share a common objective – they hope to win over the object of their affection

They therefore want to give a favourable impression of themselves

Hopefully, they will also bring out the best in their date

The fact that you have read this far indicates that you want to know how to behave properly on your date so that you can practice good dating etiquette; a good start!

Dating Etiquette - General Bookmark and Share

The rules are basically the same for teens, the middle aged and seniors, first date or last date, girls or guys

Primary rule – girls and guys, treat your date with dignity and respect; this applies to online dating as well

Don’t know what dignity and respect are? Read on to find out:

No swearing. Broaden your vocabulary beyond a few repetitive expletives

No drunkenness. Being stoned or wasted only gets a laugh from your yobbo mates at your expense

Act like a lady or gentleman. You will feel better for it

Be genuine. It must come from the heart

Be that way during your first date right until your last and see what a difference it will make to you, your date's and your life

Dating Etiquette - Before the date Bookmark and Share

Do not expect your prospect to be available for a date at short notice

Ask a few days in advance of the proposed date

Set a meeting time and if possible an ending time

If the person cannot or will not be available for a date at the second request – they are not interested

Don’t push the issue. Move on

Guys usually initiate the first date or two (it is OK for the girl to initiate it if they are already good friends) after that either may do so

Whoever initiates it – plan to have at least one alternative place to go to or of what to do

Give the other person time to think about it and perhaps come up with other options

Discuss it with dignity. This is a good opportunity to agree on who pays for what?

Guys, be prepared to pay for the date (especially the first one)

Subsequent ones can be worked out in due course when you know a bit more about each other

Never spring it on her to 'cough up'

If you pay, understand that there must be no strings attached

Girls, be considerate - offer to pay half OR to buy the drinks or something to show that you are not a freeloader. It’ll blow the socks off them!!

Then there can be no strings attached and you can maintain your independence

But don’t sweat the issue - you could talk about it on the way to the venue so that you are prepared

You could offer to cook a meal or bring a picnic basket to the next date if there is the possibility of a follow up date

Be prepared ahead of time to have a few topics for light hearted conversation; nothing too controversial

No strong opinions please

Remember that the objective of a date is generally to assess the potential of coming together to be a couple in a close permanent relationship in so far as permanency goes

Never stand up your date

Postpone rather than cancel

Do not just fail to show up. That would be despicable

Dating Etiquette - During the Date Bookmark and Share

Be on time. It shows respect for your date’s time. If you are running late ring and give a new ETA

Dress appropriately for the occasion. Clean hair, clothes and person. Lightly perfumed or with deodoriser/after shave

Guys – open, hold open and close doors for your date (even if she is driving)

It shows that you are prepared to go out of your way to be courteous to her

Girls - let him, but don’t expect it

Either way, be gracious about it; smile or thank him

This is not the time to push your liberated female views

Some other time...maybe

Girls usually precede guys in the theatre, church, movies, to the table at a restaurant and most other places and guys help her to be seated - this is sophisticated dating etiquette

Guys on the other hand lead the way through crowds and traffic

On sidewalks, guys should walk nearest the street to 'protect’ the girl - you get the idea

Compliment each other

Neither one of you is perfect, there has to be something to compliment with sincerity

Look for it. Hair; clothes; smile; car; jewellery?

If you can’t find something to compliment, why are you dating this person?

Blind date? Practice being gracious right to the end

Next time start with a cup of coffee first – just to test the water

Do not abandon your date at the venue

Be close and attentive or it may become your last date with that person

Being attentive to your date does not mean totally excluding all others in the group or at the party

Be pleasant to your date

Talking down to your date or being patronising is not good etiquette

Remember your manners. Say – please, thank you, after you, you’re welcome, etc

Acknowledge each others’ courtesies with a smile and/or ‘thank you’

Show a keen interest in your date

Make frequent eye contact (do not leer)

Use their name – frequently. To them it is the sweetest word in any language

Never feign affection. This is cruel and deceitful and could lead to problems

If this is a first date enquire delicately to elicit information about likes and dislikes; values and expectations; interests, dreams and aspirations

At each subsequent date widen the field of your enquiry in a casual conversational manner while also imparting more information about yourself

Avoid bragging and talking too much about anything, especially yourself

Turn the conversation around to get your date’s views and contribution to the subject

Keep the conversation light and try to have fun together

Use humour, but don't overdo it

Keep it clean

Don’t lie to your date

Ask before you smoke

Non-smokers sometimes cannot abide smokers breath or are allergic to cigarette smoke

Definitely don’t smoke during the meal

It is bad etiquette to enforce your own rights over the comfort of others. Don’t do it

Do not have unreasonable expectations of your date

Remember – dignity and respect

Do what is expected of you and not what you want to do

Do not force intimacy. If it happens it happens

If not it’s probably too soon

Avoid sharing confidences. It puts your date in an awkward position

Guys, see her to her door after the date

It’s for her safety

A friendly hug in greeting or to say good bye may be OK or perhaps a kiss on the cheek. Play it by ear

Dating Etiquette - After the Date Bookmark and Share

If you promise to ring or contact your date again, you must do it – within a reasonable time frame or do not make the offer

Try no more than twice

It’s OK to date others until you have clearly come to an understanding or are going steady

It is best to discuss your intentions with sensitivity and patience

Keep practicing good manners

Remember – dignity and respect

If these tips on Dating Etiquette have been helpful to you and could help your friends, please send them an e-mail link to this page Bookmark and Share or our page on Online Dating Etiquette

You may also be interested in - Club Etiquette

Can't find what you are looking for? Try our Google Search below:


If you have a few horror stories be sure to let it all out on our interactive forum dating etiquette for possible inclusion on our Rage Page Back to our A to Z Guide