In today's world of online dating Web sites and "speed dating," sometimes it's good to be reminded of the basic "do's" and "don'ts" on a date. Here is some dating advice for anyone traversing that treacherous road to romance.
Meeting someone the old-fashioned way may simply start with walking up to someone and saying a genuine hello. Perhaps you find yourself chatting to someone at a town event or a church social or the mechanic's shop. A conversation naturally starts and you feel a little spark fly.
Once you've found someone who interests you, make plans to meet with each other. Keep it simple. "Meeting for a quick cup of coffee has the same odds of success as a marathon first date," says Jeff Cohen, author of Dating, Inc.
Do's on a Date
- Relax and be yourself. You're not auditioning or on a job interview.
- Dress comfortably and appropriately. Squeezing into a tight dress or wearing a T-shirt that announces your attitude might send the wrong message.
- Plan to do something that allows time to talk, such as golfing, tennis, rowboating, or bowling—not target practice at the local firing range.
- Pick up the tab, if the date was your idea. If there is any doubt, discuss it when you first make plans.
- Look your date in the eye when you're talking. Avoid glancing at other body parts.
- Show up. If an emergency forces a last-minute cancellation or delay, contact the person. Never leave someone in the lurch.
- Know where you'll go and how long you'll be there. Make it quality, not quantity, time.
- Ask permission to call or e-mail at the end of the date, if you're interested in seeing your companion again. If the answer is no, respect that the "relationship" is officially over and move on. If it's yes, send a brief thank-you note and wait at least 24 hours before making plans for a second date.
- Have fun. There is a reason that this activity is called the dating game.
Don'ts on a Date
- Don't bring anyone along, including an ex, your children, pets, or parents, unless you're on a double date or an arranged blind date.
- Don't dowse yourself in perfume or cologne. A bath or shower is adequate—no, essential.
- Don't monopolize the time with your cell phone—or text! Turn off these devices and concentrate on your partner.
- Don't reveal unnecessary personal information: your failed relationships, what the fortune-teller told you, or how unfriendly the police were to you when they pulled you over.
- Don't take your medication while on the date. Take it before you meet.
- Don't meet at your home—unless you're dropping by to pick up your partner.
- Don't flirt with your server, stare at others nearby, or talk about how hot Paris Hilton or Harrison Ford is. Focus on your companion.
- Don't discuss politics, sex, religion, or taxes. Your date may have differing opinions.
- Don't use a coupon for food or services. Go to places you can afford.
- Don't lie, lead on, or tell someone you're single and/or available when you're not. Be honest and considerate.
Blind dating with your eyes open
Is it a challenge to simply meet someone? Tell friends and family that you're interested and looking.
The "blind" date, that meeting with a stranger often arranged by a well-meaning friend or relative, is generally preferred by people who like surprises, who never get around to meeting others, or who may be "commitment phobic." Perhaps due to their shock value, horror stories about blind dates tend to outnumber happily-ever-after tales, but good news rarely makes headlines.
If a blind date is arranged for you, remember to thank your friend or family member for any introductions, no matter what happens!