Dating Etiquette Tips

(As featured in Female First Magazine)

he days of courting may seem to be a thing of the past, in today's fast paced dating world. However we needn’t forget our manners when it comes to dating behavior, here are my top 10 dating dos and don’ts.

Keep the conversation future focused

Be on time. One of the most common peeves for people when dating is poor time keeping. It's important to show that you value the other person's time as much as you value your own. Slackness when it comes to keeping to the arranged time, sets the tone for the date. If you leave your date to get a head start at the bar, while waiting for you, don’t be surprised if they head for the door, sooner rather than later. Many people have a limit on how long they are prepared to wait, before calling it quits. If you are going to be running behind, beyond your control, communicate your ETA in advance, along with your apology.

Plan a time to meet, which gives you more than enough time, taking potential transport delays into account, and date night is not the time to agree to overtime at work.

Put your phone away. What did we do before mobile phones? We had uninterrupted conversations. The best compliment you can give your date is your undivided attention. Taking calls, texting, snap chatting, instagraming that all can wait until you have alone time. If you wouldn’t do it during an interview, then it’s not date appropriate either. Even if your meal looks picture worthy.

Don’t clock watch. Unless you’re worried about the clock striking and your carriage turning into a pumpkin, watching the time appears rude. As does double booking your evening. If you’re looking for an escape route to cut your date short, simply cut the date short if you need to, and say you better be getting home as you have a super early start. Dashing off to meet friends because you've made other plans, will leave your date feeling a little robbed of time, and not much of a priority.  The least you can do is keep the evening free. Even if you are super popular, and spreading yourself thin. If you want a relationship, you need to show you are willing to make space for one first, not just squeezing one in.

Pay your date compliments on their appearance. A small compliment goes a long way, after all they will want to feel that they are attractive, and conscious of making a good impression. They may have spent considerable time and effort on wearing the right outfit, and grooming in preparation for meeting you. And if they compliment you, it is polite to thank them, and return a compliment. Anything from remarking on the colour they are wearing to complimenting them on their hair looking good, the smartness of their attire to simply saying, they look nice.

Which leads to, make an effort with you appearance, including grooming and keeping good personal hygiene.  Bad breath, body odors, and unkempt hair are not reasons why you want to be remembered. So ensure you arrive, looking and smelling fresh. Avoid eating smelly food if going for dinner, and if you're a smoker, and your date is not, try not to smoke while on the date, if you must, ask if they mind, and carry chewing gum and fragrance to remove the odour. Particularly if you are hoping for a kiss.

Be interested in them. Going back to giving them your undivided attention, ask questions which show you are interested in getting to know more about their likes and dislikes so you can find commonality. When asked questions, answer in detail, but find a way to bring the conversation back to them, people like people who show an interest in them, and who are open about themselves. Without telling them their whole life story, give them enough of an insight to leave them wanting to get to know you more.

Avoid talking about previous or upcoming dates. Particularly speaking about previous dates and exes, in a derogatory manner. Mocking others you have dated, only makes you appear insulting, and plants the seed, that they may well be the butt of future jokes.

If asked about previous relationships, keep the explanation brief, and allude to the fact you are not one to dwell on the past and are feeling positive about meeting the right partner now.

Don’t ask ‘ why are you single?’ It’s the most irritating question any single person gets asked, and suggests that something must be wrong with them. It doesn’t give you any more of a connection, even if you both answer the same. There are far more interesting ways you can find common ground. It's not like they are going to be getting references from exes. So why ask?

Follow up after the date, and check they got home safe.

Whether you think you’ve found the one of not, they have still given you their valuable time, which should be respected and acknowledged. Thanking them for their time, and checking they arrived home safe is the courteous thing to do. If you want to see them again, suggest meeting up another time. If you’re sure there is not prospect for romance. It’s better to be clear, rather than leave things hanging in the air.

Meet up a second time to be sure. In the days of choosing a partner through a quick swipe, it can be easy to quickly write someone off. But if you found them somewhat attractive, and had a good time in their company, but perhaps didn’t feel fireworks, consider meeting up a second time. This will help you to get to know them some more when there are less nerves, and perhaps in a different environment, where you may well see a different side to them. If a relationship is what you are after, it can take time to develop, so have patience with the process. Great relationships are built, not bought.