First Date Etiquette

First date etiquette can be the difference between fifty first dates and getting that second date.

Good etiquette will give your dates a chance to get to know you for you, and if that you includes good dating manners, your chances of meeting that special someone just got better.

Having good manners in your dating practices helps you to gain respect because you show respect to your date when you follow good dating etiquette.

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Planning and Communication

Okay, so you've taken the plunge, asked that special someone for a date, and received a "yes." Now it's up to you, as the asker, to make the event special.

Whether this is your very first first-date, or you've done this before, communication is the first step to showing your date respect. If you're interested enough to ask the person out, you probably have some idea of his or her likes and hobbies, and if you don't--make sure that's one of the first things you talk about!

Be sure, also, that you establish clear parameters--is this first date a group date? Has your date offered to "go Dutch"? Will you meet at the event, or will one of you be driving or otherwise picking up the other from home? Don't neglect to inform your date of your specific plans--surprise first dates are a no-no in first date etiquette--no one likes to discover they've dressed casually for a formal affair, or worn something fancy to an outdoors, in-the-mud event.

Where to Go, What to Do?

First dates usually aren't held in overly intimate settings--a cozy tete-a-tete can quickly turn into a disaster if you find each other incompatible. Choosing a more public setting allows you both to still have a good time, even if one or both of you doesn't care for a second date.

Regardless of your individual circumstances, "dinner and a movie" is a common first date itinerary, suitable for the first teenage blushes of romance to the more mature social set. However, these days, dinner and a movie can set you back a hefty sack of change, even if you're no longer a teenager.

No matter how old you are or what your financial circumstances, no one is impressed if you overreach your budget. Focus on what you can comfortably afford to treat your date to on a night out without breaking your bank. Financial irresponsibility isn't attractive, and you want your date to be impressed by--and interested in--you, not your wallet.

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Be On Your Best Behavior

It shouldn't have to be said, but your dating manners should be your best manners. Not just towards your date, but to everyone around you. You make a poor impression if you are courteous to your date, but not the wait staff, or the others around you. Some basic first date etiquette:

  • Show up on time to your date, and make sure your date arrives home safely, whether you escort your date or simply ask for a courtesy call. And if you are the date-ee, please do make that courtesy call. It is, after all, a courtesy.

  • If you rely on public transportation, make sure you don't miss your lines or connections, and that you know where your stops are.

  • If you're in charge of your own transport, make sure you know where you're going and how to get there. And make sure you have a full tank and a clean car, too--the old, "Gosh, honey, I'm out of gas out here in the middle of nowhere" excuse is only found in cheesy horror movies (and no, unless you are both horror buffs, those cheesy horror flicks usually don't make good first-date events, either).

One of the best ways to make a good first impression is by showing your date attention and respect. Be a good listener and get to know your date better by letting your date tell you more about himself or herself. Pay attention to what your date says, and don't monopolize the conversation.

Be on your best behavior, but be yourself--if you lie about who you are, at the best, you'll be found out quickly, and at the worst, you'll be found out after you and your date become attached and grow closer, and your betrayal will have been that much worse.

And finally, a first date is about getting to know someone else in a fun, social setting. Your date has agreed to this and nothing more. Respect and understand this, and you will gain respect from your dates. Your good first date etiquette will help you not to miss the chance for a second date, and maybe the person of your dreams.

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