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First Date Etiquette: 11 Rules Everyone Should Know

man and woman practicing good first date etiquette while eating pizza

When it comes to a first date, it can feel like there’re endless dos and don’ts to follow. In reality, a first date is about making a great first impression and proper etiquette can go a long way to get off to a great start. So here are 11 helpful rules when it comes to first date etiquette to make a good impression and have fun.

Be on Time
Showing up late to your first date with someone is not “cool, it’s rude. It pretty much tells them right off the bat that you don’t value their time and that you’re okay to leave them sitting at a table by alone, wondering if you’ll actually show up. Good manners never go out of fashion!

Put Your Phone Away
Best advice for phone etiquette on a date is keep your phone in your purse, pocket, or at the least, face down and off on the table. Responding to texts, phone calls or checking social media alerts while on a date shows that you’re not fully interested in what the other person has to say. It’s perfectly fine if you want to show your date a photo or video on your phone, but that’s the only time you should ever pull it out.

Don’t Be Judgy
Leave your judgments at the door. Perhaps your date does or says something that makes you want to instantly judge them in a negative light. Don’t. You don’t know this person well enough to make assumptions. Continue to follow up with questions. It takes time to get to know people and give your date a fair chance.

Keep an Open Mind
So they don’t look and sound exactly as you pictured; still, get to know them. When you meet someone new, chances are they’re not going to be exactly as you imagined. Open your mind and open your heart to the possibility that this person may actually be right for you.

Dress Appropriately
If you’re going out to dinner, don’t dress like you’re going to “Netflix and Chill”. Putting effort into your appearance for your first date shows that you are interested and it’s important to you. Dressing well also gives you confidence and when you feel good, chances are you’ll make a good impression.

Do Some Prep
It is useful to think of some questions and talking points beforehand. Having questions in mind can help guide the conversation and make sure you get to know more about each other. There’s nothing wrong with the basics like, ‘what’s your job like’, ‘ do you have brothers and sisters do’, etc. Just don’t go in with a script and let the conversation flow naturally.

Be Honest
Don’t lead people on to believe they have a chance if they’re not what you’re looking for. Let them know this early on to prevent you both from wasting each other’s time. They’ll appreciate the honesty. If you’re looking for ‘the one’ or something more casual, it’s better to be upfront if the topic arises.

Be nice
You can never go wrong with being nice. If you’re at a restaurant or bar, treat the staff as you would want to be treated. There’s no greater turnoff than a date who is rude to the wait staff. Not only is it arrogant, but it’ll give your date a sense of what life could potentially be like with you later on down the road.

Don’t lie
You should not exaggerate for the sake of creating a good impression! You tell them you live in a swanky apartment downtown, drive a Mercedes and are the Vice President at a company. In reality, you have two roommates, have a bike, and are an Associate. You never know where things will go with this person and eventually they will find out the truth, so avoid telling anything but the truth on your first date. There is no reason to lie, you want to meet someone who likes you for you!

Don’t Argue Over the Bill
Paying the bill can be a controversial moment. Some people still believe in the old fashioned rule that guys should pay, others don’t. Do what feels right for you. Offer to pay or split it but don’t argue over it and accommodate your date’s preferences too.

Keep an Eye on the Time
Whether its dinner, coffee, or a walk in the park, you want to have a date that is long enough to give you a chance to get to know each other, but short enough you’re both not wishing for it to end. Unless, of course, the fireworks are flying and you want to spend the next 8 hours together!

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