These days it's not uncommon for couples to go out in groups or for dating to simply be casual. Still, you may find yourself sweating bullets when it comes to the do's and don'ts of going out on a one-on-one date. Here are some tips on how to use dating etiquette:
- Getting the courage to ask. The first step in going out on a date is to ask the person you are interested in if she would like to go out with you. This can be a hard thing to do, especially if you're not sure if the person likes you in a romantic way. Nothing is worse than that feeling of rejection when the object of your affection says, "I really like you... as a friend." Most people can pick up on those signals ahead of time though, so you should be able to sense if there is any chemistry between the two of you before you put yourself out there. When in doubt, keep it casual by asking the person if she has seen a certain movie or tried that new restaurant downtown--it's very easy to turn that into a suggestion that the two of you go check it out together.
- Where to go? You may love car racing or sporting events, but that doesn't mean your date does. Try to find an activity that you will both enjoy. Find out ahead of time if your date prefers a mosh pit or the opera. Dinner and a movie is usually a "safe" date agenda, provided you don't drag your date to a horror movie when she prefers tearjerker love stories.
- Who drives? If you ask someone out on a date, it is only common courtesy that you do the driving. If the two of you live far away from each other or are meeting after work, then you may want to just meet somewhere. If the dating continues past a first date, then it's always a good idea to alternate driving duties.
- Who pays? As for who pays on a date, this is a tricky one. We are long past the old fashioned days when the man always paid for the woman. Going dutch (splitting the bill in half) is perfectly acceptable these days. But if you invite a date to a concert or an event that you have already purchased the tickets for ahead of time, it's tacky to ask for half of the money back. It's best to alternate who pays for what and not make too big of a deal over it.
- Remembering your manners. If you tell your date that you will meet her somewhere at 8 p.m., then be there on time. Nothing is worse than waiting around for a late date. If you're running late, then have the courtesy to call the other person. This holds true if you are picking a date up somewhere or meeting her at her house--don't leave the person waiting without any explanation.
Also, if you're trying to impress someone on a date, don't monopolize the conversation. Ask your date questions about herself--and don't just pretend to be interested (it will show if you are). Try to be thoughtful--it's always a nice gesture when a man opens a car door or pulls a chair out for a woman.
- What about that all-important kiss goodnight? Don't assume that your date wants you to kiss her goodnight. If it's a first date and you hardly know each other, ask yourself if there were any sparks between the two of you during the date. Most people can tell when it's appropriate to kiss a date goodnight or not. If you're not sure, a friendly hug will do--and anything is better than a handshake!
- Dating Don'ts:
Don't ever ask out the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend of a friend. That goes for friends' ex-husbands and ex-wives too. This is one rule that should never be broken if you value your friendships.
Don't come on too strong--especially on a first date. Even the truest romantic doesn't want to hear the "I love you" phrase on the first date because it won't seem sincere!
Don't drink too much. It's not much fun to date a lush, so even if you're nervous, keep the drinking to a minimum.
Don't talk bad about your exes--no date wants to hear about how much you despise your ex.
And remember, if you follow these tips for a great first date, then hopefully it will lead to a second!