So, you’ve hit it off with someone you met on an online dating service and it’s time for that first face-to-face date. Before the first date, it’s a good idea to make sure payment issues are dealt with up front. The general rule of thumb is that the person inviting the other on the date pays for it. Make this clear in your invitation. “I would love to meet you. Can I treat you to dinner at…?”
Now the time for the first date has arrived. Be sure you’ve reviewed the following dating manners to know the appropriate way to act on a first date:
10 Essential Dating Manners for a First Date:
1. Arrive at the location of your date on time. There is a saying that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. How true that is.
2. Dress nice (unless your date location requires otherwise). Take time to look your best. The better you look, the better you’ll feel and the more confident you will be. If you’re a female, don’t dress provocative.
3. Turn your cell phone off. Most people these days have a cell phone and it is very rude to take a call while on a date. Minor exceptions include if you use your cell phone for emergency purposes (to receive emergency calls from home or work). Don’t disrespect your date with a ringing cell phone.
4. If you are a man and you meet your date outside of the date location (i.e. restaurant), open the door for her. Show her that you know how to be a gentleman and how to treat a lady. If you are seated in doors waiting for her and she walks in, stand up to properly greet her. Also, there’s nothing wrong with a friendly hug to start the date.
5. Be confident. From the moment the two of you meet, being confident is essential to making a strong impression throughout the date. This means that you know what you’re going to talk about, ask a lot of questions, don’t slouch, and express confident body language.
6. Use table manners. When eating a restaurant, remember not to order something potentially messy (i.e. Spaghetti) and don’t put your elbows on the table. Eat slowly and properly… this means closing your mouth when you eat and never talking with food in your mouth. When you don’t think about table manners, you can display potentially bad habits that will instantly turn your date off and become a “deal breaker” to any potential future dates.
7. Avoid heated topics. There are several topics that are taboo on a first date, including politics, religion (unless you met on a religious service), and sex topics. Avoid these throughout the entire date.
8. Be positive. In general, people are more strongly attracted to someone who is positive than someone who is negative. Avoid making negative comments about yourself on your date – including innocent ones like, “I’m trying to lose weight because I think I’m too fat”. When you make negative comments about yourself, those negative vibes influence your date’s perception of you.
9. Learn to listen. It’s important to engage your date in interesting conversations. Spend more time (particularly if you’re a guy) asking your date questions and listening carefully to his/her response. Be sure to ask “followup questions” that lets him/her know you were listening and are interested in the topic. For example, if your date says, “one of my favorite things to do is to skydive” then you should respond, “really? When’s the last time you went?”
10. Learn to read and express body language. Body language is important on a date because it shows whether the date is going well or not. For example, if your date is sitting with his/her arms crossed, it could be a sign of boredom. Yet if your date is engaged in conversation with you and innocently touches you on the hand or arm while making a point, then it shows an attraction. You can read more about first date body language here.
If the date went well, it is perfectly OK to arrange a second date at that time. Otherwise, you’ll end up playing the “dating game” where one waits several days for the other to call. It’s not a fun game and is heavily overrated. At the end of a first date, there should be expressions of feeling about the date – “I really enjoyed your company tonight,” etc.. When you come into agreement about how much you enjoyed the date, then it’s easy to move on to planning the next date and moving forward in your new-found relationship. (article Copyright 2007, Joe Tracy)