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Dating 101: First Date Guidelines

Updated on September 18, 2013

Turn a first date into a second date by following simple guidelines. We are not talking about the dating game but basic decorum to follow so your date doesn’t end up faking an ‘important’ phone call and hightailing it out of the restaurant. If you managed to procure the first date in the first place then you know the person is already interested in you and open to possibilities. There are no ‘real’ rules to dating but there are some basic guidelines to increasing your chances of impressing the attractive person on the other side of the table. Think less boom-chicka-boom-boom and more about getting to know the person as you read on for some great advice to succeed on your next first date.

Dress your Best

Remember natural is beautiful while you get ready to meet your first date. Instead of opting for the sexy clinging dress you’d wear out with your friends on a night on the town go for something that leaves more to the imagination. You want to feel comfortable, attractive but yourself. Decide what physical feature you want to show off and cover up the rest. You can wear a shorter skirt or a plunging neckline adorned by a simple necklace as long as you don’t do it all in the same outfit. Your suitor will be able to read through your body language if you’re feeling a little out of your skin so dress in a way that you feel comfortable.

Keep in mind: Venue, time of day or night? You wouldn’t wear heels rock climbing or a casual outfit to dinner so dress appropriately for your venue and activity.

Fashionably on Time

Fashionably late is a rule followed when you are headed to a party and you don’t want to be the first one who shows up waiting for the actual party to begin. If you’ve set your date for 7pm and have made reservations or are meeting in front of a theater, be 5 minutes early - not late! Chances are your date will also be a little early so you won’t be waiting too long for them to show up. If you are on time, you are setting the tone that you are respectful of the other person’s time.

First Impressions

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Give yourself enough time to travel to the location of your date, dress to impress and take a deep breath before you walk in to greet your suitor. Walk in cool, calm and collected with confidence as you greet him or her with a smile. Lean in and kiss them on the cheek. Remember you want to come off as alluring, not trashy so keep it classy. This is a great way to begin the evening.

Keep in mind: Depending on the culture of the person a cheek to cheek kiss might not be the most comfortable way to greet your date. Leaning in for a hug with personal space around you is also a great way to greet your date.

It's a conversation, not an interview

There is nothing more important on a first date than that initial conversation. It sets precedence to how the rest of the date is going to go and gives you an introduction of the person you are on a date with. Give them eye-contact when they are speaking and keep engaged in the conversation by nodding, commenting and reciprocating each question asked by asking a similar one. If you have the gift of the gab remember most people have an attention span of about 90 seconds long. After that you might notice their eyes glaze over. Instead keep your point in mind, be thorough but concise and ask questions on a 1 to 1 ratio so both people are able to speak.

Keep in Mind: No sex talk, period.

Keep in Mind: Try to avoid seriously spicy foods, smelly foods filled with garlic or foods garnished with parsley. It’s never enjoyable to speak to someone with smelly breath or watch them speak with parsley stuck in-between their teeth. Avoiding spicy foods will also keep you from becoming a sweaty mess midway through the conversation.

Where's your Cellphone

Where is your cellphone during your date? Is it (A) on the table, (B) in your hand or (C) on silent tucked away in your pocket or purse? The only correct answer here is (C) and if you answered correctly, you are that much closer to a second date. We all comment on that couple at a restaurant or group having breakfast while everyone is on their phone. It is an eyesore and you will be showing your general interest in getting to know your date if you keep to the rule of putting away your phone while on a date.

Safety First

How well do you know your date? Have you known them for years and finally gathered the courage to ask them out or did you meet them at your local coffee shop? If your date really is a stranger that you do not know much history about, think about meeting them at the location instead of being picked up at the door. It can be nice to be ushered to and from your house by the object of your affections but if the date turns a mess better that they don’t know where you live.

Drink Responsibly

Have your glass of wine with dinner, indulge in your favorite cocktail but don’t get messy. Show the person you are on a date with that you are a strong confident and responsible person by not getting messy and slurring over your words or saying the wrong things. Stay on your A game by drinking responsibly.

Keep the Past in the Past

It doesn’t matter if your last boyfriend is shacked up with your former best friend and they are expecting their first child that was conceived in your bed. Your date does not need to know that information and it is not his fault this particular man was a horrible dog. Give your date a chance by keeping every aspect of the date positive. There is no need to bring up old boyfriends, girlfriends or drama friends are dealing with. Your date is a potential significant other and not your relationship guru.

Don't overdo it

Name dropping and listing off your accomplishments will have your date thinking you’re less impressive and more of a show-off. You risk giving your date the impression that you think your’e better than them and that you are full of yourself or possibly not as confident as you seem. Keep the conversation light and positive by sticking to common interests or current events. If the conversation happens to lead up to a place where you are asked to discuss your job, you can let it slip that you just received a promotion or graduated from your master’s program.


Be yourself and relax. Dating is less painful and more enjoyable, believe it or not. Take deep breaths, don’t overdo it in talking or asking questions, don’t talk about your ex and under no circumstance, talk about marriage or babies. The point of first dates is to introduce yourself to a person you had an inkling of attractive to and not to propose marriage. It doesn’t need to be stressful, cause you hives or leave you with a sleepless night dwelling on how you stuck your foot in your mouth. Have a great time and enjoy meeting new and different people.

Check out this great read on who pays the bill on a first date.


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    • DerbyDevil1974 profile image

      Holley Rich Coleman 

      2 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I love this! some of your advice is the similar to mine in my most recent article I wrote about dating over 40. I despise cell phones in hand when I am trying to get to know someone.

    • dashingscorpio profile image


      2 years ago from Chicago

      Great advice!


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