PSA: These First Date Etiquette Rules Are Totally Outdated (But Others Aren't)
You don't have to look very far to uncover some seriously cringeworthy first date etiquette advice. Tips like "be irresistible" or "never kiss on the first date" may range from eye-rolling to simply laughable, but that doesn't mean that dating should necessarily feel like the Wild West. "The dating landscape has changed drastically over the last several decades," says etiquette expert and cross-cultural trainer Sharon Schweitzer. "That said, the courtesy around dating and etiquette expectations remains the same."
Etiquette is more than just a book by Emily Post, as it's a code of behaviour based on consideration, respect, honesty, and thoughtfulness. The philosophy of etiquette is timeless and everlasting. "Manners, by their nature, adapt and change with the times," adds the expert. "Today's manners are situational, are tailored to particular circumstances, and are based on the expectations of those around us." Far from the olden days of rigid dating rules, today's manners, she explains, are based on good sense, generosity of spirit, and fluid guidelines that help us interact thoughtfully. So throw out the old rulebook—here are seven first date etiquette tips that are entirely outdated (and seven more that aren't).
Instead of Trying to Be "Irresistible", Try Being Yourself
The idea of appearing "irresistible" may have been an etiquette rule in the olden days of dating, but it's by all accounts entirely outdated in 2018. "Instead of trying to be perfect, be authentic and genuine," says Schweitzer. "It is impossible to be all things to all people. You want to be with the person who finds you attractive just as you are. Trying too hard will make you feel insecure."
The idea of being yourself has as much to do with leaving a good impression as it does with learning about your date. "Be a good listener and ask about interests and hobbies while also sharing about what you're excited and passionate about in life," recommends the expert. "A first date isn't the time to unload baggage but rather to discover qualities of the other person to see what commonalities you might have."
Instead of a Formal Date, Try Picking Up the Bill
In decades past, dating had a certain set of unspoken rules. In today's environment, this doesn't only seem outdated, but it's downright baffling. "Many people today enjoy an experience that is more casual, like a walk in the park, a coffee date, or a trip to a museum," says Schweitzer.
And while deciding who pays for the first date based on "traditional" gender roles sounds downright archaic in today's more fluid society, one etiquette rule does prevail, according to the expert: "The person who extended the invitation should pay. Though men still sometimes initiate the first date [in heterosexual relationships], it is acceptable for anyone to ask someone out. However, the person who extended the invite plays the role of the host and is responsible for making plans and paying—whoever that person may be."
Instead of Not Kissing on the First Date, Try Monitoring Your Alcohol
Believe it or not, "don't kiss on a first date," was an etiquette rule in previous decades. This feels almost laughable today, but even though a kiss to seal the night is perfectly acceptable, the expert still recommends upkeeping a certain level of decorum.
"Monitor your alcohol," she warns. "A glass of wine or a cocktail is perfectly acceptable on a first date, but imbibing more than two drinks is considered poor manners and can set you up for an awkward or uncomfortable end to the evening." If nothing else, you're also setting yourself up for a solid hangover, which no one wants to live through when you head into your 9 a.m. meetings the next morning.
Instead of Sticking to "Date Nights", Try Being on Time
In the olden days, dates happened almost exclusively on Friday or Saturday evenings, believe it or not. But in today's fast-paced world, any time that makes sense for both of your schedules can be a great time for a date, says Schweitzer. "A midmorning brunch, a weeknight happy hour, or an outdoor afternoon adventure all make great times for a date."
That said, one rule still applies to any and all first date activities: Being on time. "Punctuality is a relevant modern manner to be observed, especially on first dates where you want to make your best impression," adds the expert. "Making a person wait may lead to second thoughts or frustration and cuts into your time together that day."
Instead of Playing Hard to Get, Try Following Up
Playing "hard to get" may once have been advice given, but this isn't something anybody should abide by today. "When it comes down to it, being coy while dating muddles the communication and creates confusion," explains Schweitzer. "Rather than being cute or mysterious, playing games can indicate that you don't truly care about the other person's feelings or know what you want. Be genuine and authentic while respecting the other person."
Instead, whether you intend to go on a second date or not, always follow up. "A thank you follow-up text or message is a kind courtesy after any date," she adds. "Anywhere from one to three days after the date remains in the acceptable range."
Instead of the Silent Treatment, Try Being Honest
Few people would see the "silent treatment" as a positive today, but it was once an etiquette tactic, believe it or not. "Communication is key when dating," explains Schweitzer. "Silence by failing to text or not speaking to your date is immature. These tactics don't work in 2018."
Instead, the expert recommends keeping the communication honest. "If the first date didn't go so well, don't evade a second date by doing what's referred to as 'ghosting' or ignoring calls or texts," she says. "Instead, be considerate and honest by thanking them for the offer and politely declining."
Instead of Lowering Your Standards, Try to Choose Your Conversations Wisely
"Try lowering your standards," was dating advice given in the olden days (and, in my experience, still today!). But this etiquette expert doesn't believe in it. "Maintain your three to four most important standards," she recommends. "Avoid going after what you aren't compatible with just because your parents want you to settle down."
Since marriage is no longer a given and people choose to stay single longer in today's age, it's much more important to pay attention to what you're looking for by choosing your first date conversations wisely. "Keep first date discussions to fun topics," she warns. "Unless you connected on a political or religious platform, avoid politics and religion, as well as salaries, past relationships, and future plans together. These subjects will come up naturally later if the relationship progresses."
Next up: People who do these five things are more likely to land a second date.