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Dating is a precarious process, to say the least. Both parties walk on eggshells during the first few meetings, hoping not to ruin their chances with an off-colored joke or poor manners. Sometimes the “rules” of dating can be so convoluted that it’s impossible to follow one without breaking another.
We’re here to clear the air about dating etiquette and establish a clear set of rules. So here they are. Ten dating rules every guy should know.
1. Take the Initiative
Tradition dictates that the man takes the initiative in planning the first date, and we agree. As the man, it’s your responsibility to make the first move and turn a friend or acquaintance into a potential love interest.
Here, the question always comes up: “What do I do if she’s not interested?” This question has a straightforward answer that every man knows deep down. If you need to ask, she probably isn’t interested. A woman will make her availability very obvious to you. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open.
You’re probably impatient and want to get the ball rolling anyway, so jump at the next opportunity and ask her on a date in person. Look her in the eyes and tell her where/when you would like to meet. Even if she says no, she will respect you for directly approaching her instead of beating around the bush.
2. Dress for the Part
Your wardrobe will play a crucial role in your date’s success. With that in mind, you need to dress for the part. The appropriate attire varies depending on climate and the date’s location, but you should avoid these clothes if you can:
- Sleeveless shirts
- Graphic tees
A reliable first-date outfit for guys is a plain dark shirt (t-shirt, polo or button-down is fine), jeans and a classy pair of boots. A watch and a necklace are also permissible, as long as they complement the rest of the outfit. This wardrobe is cool, functional and looks appropriate for just about any occasion. Also: make sure you brush your teeth, put on deodorant and spray some cologne!
3. Meet in a Fun Public Place
Your first date should be in a fun, laid-back public setting. A fancy dinner and drinks might impress her for the first 20 minutes, but you’ll both quickly get bored and run out of conversation topics. These places are safer options:
- Sports game
- Bowling alley
- Movie theater
If you share a hobby or interest with her, choose a location that enables you to grow closer through that interest. The gym is a good example of this situation. If you both work out regularly, why not make it a date?
4. Act Like a Gentleman
No matter what location you choose, you need to practice a gentleman’s rules. Most of these manners will come naturally to you, but here are some of the big ones:
- Hold all doors and let her enter the car/building first.
- Pay for the first date. You asked her out, so it’s your financial responsibility.
- Compliment her. You’re in a romantic setting, so act like it.
- Maintain eye contact and good posture.
- Practice good eating etiquette.
- Be respectful and polite to everyone you interact with.
These manners demonstrate two CRUCIAL characteristics: confidence and capability. You need to show that you can thrive in a new social environment despite feelings of nervousness.
5. Ask Questions
The easiest way to guide the conversation during a date is to ask her questions. Ask about her school/work life, hobbies, friend group or whatever topic organically comes up. You need to demonstrate that you’re interested in more than her looks. Make her feel heard and appreciated.
Additionally, don’t spend too much time talking about yourself. She doesn’t want to hear you ramble. This conversation dynamic might not be an equal trade, but men don’t make the dating rules. We only discover them through trial and error, and follow them as best we can.
6. Keep Things Loose
Your first date should be loose and easy. Stick with non-confrontational conversation topics that you both can contribute to. Don’t bring up awkward or serious topics like these:
- Previous rocky relationships
- Family drama
- Political or social issues
If your date initiates a sensitive topic like this, divert the discussion and suggest saving the subject for another time when you know each other better. If she insists on talking about something that makes you uncomfortable or escalates the situation, a second date probably isn’t a good idea.
7. Make Your Intentions Clear
Speaking of second dates, you need to make your intentions clear once the first date starts wrapping up. At this point, you should know whether or not you want to pursue a relationship with her. Tell her how you feel to avoid ending the date with uncertainty.
Revealing your intentions up-front isn’t as difficult as you think. She has eyes and ears too. She knows if the date went good or bad just as much as you do. Read the situation and let her know if a second date is in the cards. It may sound selfish, but don’t give her the opportunity to reject you. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache.
8. Get Her Home
The date isn’t over until you get her home safely. Don’t send her away in an Uber or drop her off at a friend’s house unless she specifically asks. Escort her to her front door and make sure she gets inside. This chivalrous deed will leave a lasting impression and demonstrate that you care about her security. Thank them for their time and express your desire (or lack thereof) for a second date.
This situation also is an excellent opportunity to make a last-minute romantic move. If the date went smoothly and you know she’s interested (trust us, you’ll know), swoop in for a kiss. We don’t recommend doing any more than a kiss, though. A first date should be innocent and sweet, not a hook-up.
9. Avoid the After-Date Text
If you made your intentions clear and got her home, you don’t need to say anything more. Don’t send her a “thank you” or “hope to see you soon” text. You’ll come off as clingy and impatient – two traits that women DESPISE. On the contrary, skipping the after-date text creates anticipation and excitement, which are crucial in the first stages of a relationship.
Wait about a week to send her another text (unless she texts you earlier). One week is plenty of time for both of you to regroup and determine the next move. After enough time has passed, send her a “hey” and go from there.
10. Keep Your Options Open
For the men out there who aren’t aware, every single woman worth dating has several options to choose from. You can be sure you’re not the only guy interested in her. With that in mind, you shouldn’t put all your chips on one table. Don’t go into the “talking” stage expecting her to give you her undivided attention. Play it cool and keep your options open. If you get attached too early, disaster isn’t far behind.
Make Your Next Date Count
Few things are more nerve-wracking than a date with a new love interest. Only one thing can alleviate your nerves: preparation. These dating rules prepare you for every step, from asking her out to setting the stage for the second date. Be a man, take control of the situation and make your next date count!