Whether you’re on your first date with a new person or the hundredth one with your significant other, you want to have a great time, without embarrassing yourself or being embarrassed by your partner. Likewise, you don’t want to be one of those couples who have nothing to talk about at dinner, and you definitely don’t want to be the date who dominates the conversation and doesn’t let the other person get a word in edgewise.
Following these dos and don’ts of dating etiquette will help you sit back, relax, and enjoy a fulfilling date:
1. Don’t be afraid of silence.
There are so many different styles of communicating that it’s often difficult to use the right style at the right time. A woman who can engage in the conversation at the appropriate time is very sexy. Being a wallflower and not saying anything at all can give off the wrong impression. He may think you’re mad or not enjoying yourself, or he may think, “She’s just not that into me.” On the other hand, a surefire way to turn a man off? Cut him off or don’t let him get a word in. And, remember, a pause in conversation is okay. It’s better to have a moment of silence to collect your thoughts than to talk just to fill the space.
2. Do smile!
The sexiest thing that you can do on a date is smile. More than they’re drawn to a sexy dress, men are attracted to women who smile. But it doesn’t stop there. A beautiful smile is irresistible! You’re like a magnet that will draw people to you. A smile puts everyone at ease and makes you approachable in social situations. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel awkward, try smiling and see if it doesn’t change your environment. How often do we sit with a frown or scowl on our faces? Try smiling instead.
3. Don’t drink too much!
When you are on a date, you may be inclined to drink a little more than usual to help you loosen up. Ladies, do not by any means try to match a man drink for drink. And gentlemen, under no circumstance should you suggest to your date that she drink more than she’s able to handle. You are not in college any more, and your goal on a date is not to get as drunk as possible.
The best way to prevent yourself from getting drunk on a date is to never drink on an empty stomach. It is always best to have a meal or appetizers when alcohol is involved. A very good rule of thumb is to drink one glass of water for every drink you have.
4. Don’t pick up that cell phone!
When you are on a date, be fully present in the moment with the person whom you are on a date with. If he/she set aside time to spend with you, then you should honor it and never take a call or text during your date. Nothing, besides an emergency, is that important that it cannot wait a few hours for you to respond. If you do need to take an urgent call or text, make sure you tell her/him who it is and why you have to take it, so she/he doesn’t assume it’s another woman/man on the other end.
5. Do ask open-ended questions. To keep the conversation flowing naturally, ask questions that encourage answers in paragraphs rather than ones that encourage yes/no answers. For instance, “What do you do for fun?” instead of “Do you play tennis?”
6. Do politely interrupt. If it feels like you’re just doing all the asking and your partner is doing all the talking, balance it out by sharing your own answers when your date pauses. If it’s been a ten-minute one-sided discourse about stamp collecting, you can say, “It sounds like you’ve got some great collectibles there. My favorite hobby is salsa dancing. I’ve been taking lessons once a week at the community center. It’s great exercise and makes me feel like I’m visiting a tropical paradise …”
7. Don’t be late. Try your very best to be on time or, if possible, early for a date. If you arrive late, it signals to your date that you had better things to do than honor his/her time with a prompt arrival.
8. Do maintain an open mindset. Don’t let one minor snafu ruin an entire date. So you spilled your wine within five minutes of meeting this new guy? Let it go! The only thing worse than spilled wine is fixating on it for the rest of the meal. Be present.
Likewise, when you part ways, don’t jump to any fixed conclusions about the date. Don’t feel like you have to make a judgment call about date number two as soon as you leave date number one. Sleep on it. Allow your mind to change, as it certainly will anyway! If you’re in a relationship, dinner dates can start to run together—but if you keep an open mind, you allow for the possibility of experiencing something new with your partner that you might miss if you’re only looking for the same old thing.
Originally published on YourTango