These rules apply for all dating, whether you’re on a first date, in the middle of a courting relationship, or you’re a married couple going on your weekly date (see previous blog).
- First and foremost: cell phones don’t go on dates. Leave yours in your pocket – no talking or texting while dating. The whole idea of making the time to go on a date is to make the other person feel special. If you’re paying more attention to your phone than your date you should be alone.
- Leave your problems at home. The best dates are fun, light, and carefree. You can get back to your problems later. You deserve a break, and that’s the purpose of a date.
- Talk about yourself and ask your date questions about their life. Be a good listener. Going on a date is an exercise in communication. This means you take turns talking and listening. If you do all the talking you will learn very little about your date, and your date will probably get bored.
- Don’t talk about old girlfriends or boyfriends. People may take the bait and get chatty about past relationships, but it won’t feed your present relationship. The way to grow a relationship is to talk about one another. No one really wants to hear your old war stories or worse, about the one you loved who got away.
- Stay focused on the person in front of you. If your eyes are wandering around the room your date will feel diminished and will soon lose interest in you too.
- If drinking is involved, drink in moderation. Awareness and mindfulness are important elements of a good date. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and can take away some necessary and important filters, so drinking too much may ruin an otherwise perfectly nice evening.
- Hold hands. (This may not be appropriate on a first date, so do something smaller, maybe touch your date’s hand or shoulder while talking.) Making some kind of physical contact is another form of connection, another way of saying “I’m enjoying being with you.” Remember: Everyone likes and needs acknowledgement.
- Act like ladies and gentlemen. Take your best manners on your date. Be polite. Dress nicely, hold the door open, chew with your mouth closed.
- Smile. Sounds so simple and yet… Remember: “A picture is worth a thousand words”. A genuine smile goes a long way. If you’ve followed all (or most) of the above rules, smiling will happen naturally. I promise.