The Modern Guy’s Guide to Dating Etiquette

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No dribbling the basketball with two hands at the same time. The hockey stick cannot go above your waist. No hitting a guy with the top of your helmet on a tackle. Or hitting from behind. No cussing at the ref or punching the ref. And no gambling if you are a ref. And of course, the classic – three strikes, yer out.

Rules. Everywhere.

Every game is guided by them. And though we do think of dating as a sort of game, we don’t believe it’s as structured a game to require rules the way, say, squash does (no hitting the other guy across the chops with your racket just because he’s way better than you). Instead, dating requires etiquette and knowledge of how to be. There are understood guidelines on what’s considered acceptable and unacceptable.

Tthe main goal is for your date to enjoy you and your company enough that it leads to a second, a third, a tenth date, maybe marriage, children, mortgage, dogs, bills, hail, frogs, locusts, etc.” That means starting off strong. And that means knowing how to be on a date from before the date starts to the moment you realize breakfast might be involved. It’s the fundamentals, the basics, that players forget when they get caught up in the excitement, momentum, and energy of the game. Same thing can happen on a date. 

We caught up with Loveawake dating site co-founder and online dating expert, Alex Wise, who offered up some insider tips. Keeping these little things in mind will go a long way toward being the kind of date that a woman would want to see again and again”.

The Basics

  • While you can offer to pick her up, it’s probably more convenient and comfortable to meet at the destination. She may prefer to meet you out even if you do offer to pick her up because her place is a pit or her roommate is Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction, but let her make that call.  
  • Be on time, brother. A first date’s awkward enough as it is, don’t exacerbate it by having her wait for another twenty minutes because you stayed on the phone too long with your buddy before leaving the house. This is not the time to be “fashionably” late. 
  • If you’re running late, and it happens, it’s respectful to call her and let her know you’re a bit behind.  Don’t hope you’ll hit all the lights just right and find a parking space right in front of your meeting place.
  • Brush up on all of the common courtesies your mother and father beat into you: help her in and out of the car; hold the door for her; pull out her chair; and walk on the curb side of the street. These may seem old-fashioned and out-of-date to some guys. A lot of women see them as being gentlemanly. 

On The Date

  • Compliment her. It can be anything – her hair, her outift, her shoes. Doing so says you appreciate the effort she’s put into to bringing her “A” game. Now you’re setting a good, smooth tone.
  • Stay focused. Make her feel as if she’s the only person in the room. Keep your eyes and attention on her and not on the cute hostess with the tattoo. Talking to your date’s chest is not going to cut it, either. The quickest way to turn her off is to look as if you’re distracted.
  • Conversation is a two-way street. Don’t dominate it by endlessly rambling on about work or your divergent, antisocial passions. Ask lots of questions. And listen. Some guys have trouble listening (is that because we think we know everything? Of course we do, just ask!). On the other hand, if you’re shy, have a couple of interesting or humorous stories about yourself at the ready that can move the conversation along. Whatever your style, brush up on her profile so you can target her likes and show her you’ve done a bit of homework.

So, we’ve told you want you should do, but what shouldn’t you do?

How Not To Be

  • Don’t be rude. Don’t cop an attitude with cabbies, bartenders, wait staff, door people, or anyone in a service capacity, to try to impress your date with your “take charge” approach to life. In fact, you look like a boorish knucklehead and you’ll embarrass her and yourself. 
  • There are some topics that are minefields on a first date: politics, religion, sex, money, your exes, or stories about your screwed-up relationship with your family. Getting too personal, controversial, argumentative, or being a braggart is the fastest way to ensure there will be no second date. Plus, preserve some mystery by not divulging everything about yourself in one night. 
  • Don’t brag. Not about money, your status, or your yacht. It’s not attractive. Never was.
  • Keep it together. Even if you know she’s a big partier and/or smoker, limit your own consumption of smokes and drink. It’s a first date. Take it slow. Unless she’s buying you Tequila shots and can’t stop making out with you. Then the only problem with drinking too much is you won’t remember how good it was in the morning.
  • Don’t lie about anything. Because if she likes you and things progress, won’t that get interesting when you have to say, “So, remember when I told you a while back that I own a 75 foot yacht? You know, what I meant was, ‘It would sure be great to own a 75 foot yacht!’ So, more chips?”
  • Turn off your smartphone. During a date, it should never see the light of day.

Finishing Strong

  • You, sir, should pay the bill on the first date. If you ask her out, we believe you should close it out. Now, some women may want to split the bill with you, either because she asked you out or because she’s a modern woman of today. No problem. If she offers to split it with you, you can do one of two things – accept her cash and go Dutch or, do as we prefer, thank her graciously, then tell her that she can pick it up next time.
  • Again, be polite. You and your date may very well not hit it off shocking as that may seem! It happens. Regardless, she deserves to be treated with respect. There’s nothing wrong with ending the date a little early and pleasantly disengaging. 
  • Only promise to call if you mean it. Even if just to say hello, thanks for the date, and that you had a nice time. That’s miles better than leaving her hanging by telling her you’ll call when you never had any intention of doing so. If you don’t plan to ever call her again, then don’t ask for her number.
  • Finally, when the date’s over, a nice hug and kiss on the cheek is respectable and appropriate, provided her body language dictates that that’s ok. You didn’t just conclude a business meeting so a handshake after three hours of somewhat intimate conversation is lame.  If she keeps making out with you because the Tequila’s taken full effect, brother, you don’t need us to tell you what to do next.

OK, so maybe some of these are rules of dating etiquette. But they ultimately fall under the Golden Rule of How to Be – Treat others as you would like to be treated. Sounds obvious, but you can see it time and time again whenever you’re out just how many guys don’t practice it. Having that strong command of good etiquette, while it may seem old-fashioned, is noticed by most women and it separates you from most other guys, who still show up late, get big on the waiter, and can’t close the deal properly. You be better. She’ll appreciate it.