Modern Dating Etiquette for Men

Fol­low these dat­ing dos and don’ts to mas­ter mod­ern dat­ing eti­quette and you’re almost guar­an­teed to make a great impression.

These dat­ing eti­quette tips can be fol­lowed on your first date or even your sec­ond and third. It also doesn’t mat­ter if you met at work, through friends or online, the basics of proper dat­ing eti­quette are the same.

Get­ting to the Date

Women like for a man to lead so it’s best not to make her drive you. If you’re pick­ing her up, don’t drive too fast or openly dis­play road rage. If you hap­pen to drive a con­vert­ible, don’t drive with the top down when it’s freez­ing cold out­side just because you think it’s cool. Also don’t com­plain about hav­ing to pay valet park­ing. If you’ve arranged to meet her some­where, be punc­tual and don’t leave her to sit at the bar alone.

On-Date Eti­quette

Make eye con­tact to show that you’re pay­ing atten­tion to her and avoid the temp­ta­tion to stare at her breasts (no mat­ter how good they look). Look­ing down at your food shows a lack of con­fi­dence and look­ing past your date’s head at peo­ple pass­ing by shows a lack of inter­est. Also def­i­nitely don’t ogle other girls around you, even if they do hap­pen to be bet­ter look­ing than your date.

Touch­ing Etiquette

Each woman has a dif­fer­ent opin­ion about what con­sti­tutes an appro­pri­ate touch from some­one she just met and it also depends on the venue. When you meet her, shake her hand while smil­ing and look­ing into her eyes. This imme­di­ately breaks the bar­rier and makes it eas­ier to touch her later on.

If you are able to get her com­fort­able and laugh­ing she may touch you play­fully. If so, it can be con­sid­ered a green light for you to do the same (but don’t overdo it by touch­ing her at every opportunity).

If you are mov­ing to a dif­fer­ent venue you can touch her back briefly to guide her in the direc­tion you want to go. This is a harm­less ges­ture, but when accom­pa­nied with good con­ver­sa­tion it can build famil­iar­ity and attraction.

Mak­ing Conversation

Turn off your cell phone dur­ing din­ner so you’re not inter­rupted. Ask ques­tions when sto­ries are told, and offer opin­ions when top­ics are dis­cussed. You’re not expected to agree with every­thing she says. Dis­agree­ment is both healthy and interesting.

Avoid the temp­ta­tion to ram­ble on about your­self in an attempt to impress her. She’ll be much more impressed if you ask her ques­tions and demon­strate that you’re a good listener.

Here are some more con­ver­sa­tional no-nos:

  • Don’t com­plain about dat­ing and don’t go on about your dys­func­tional family.
  • Def­i­nitely resist talk­ing about how hot your ex is, how good she was in bed, or how your date reminds you of her.
  • Telling your date that you feel like you’ve known her for­ever also won’t go down as well as you might expect.
  • Obvi­ously you should also avoid racist and sex­ist com­ments and don’t bad mouth peo­ple because it only makes you look like a prick.

Don’t Bare Your Soul

Resist the temp­ta­tion of bar­ing your soul on a first date. We all have anx­i­eties, bag­gage, hang-ups, inse­cu­ri­ties and skele­tons. Leave these in the closet while dat­ing, and be pos­i­tive and upbeat.

It is pos­si­ble to talk about exes, but only if it’s clear that both of you want to go down that poten­tially bumpy road. You’re strongly advised how­ever, not to sab­o­tage your date with too much infor­ma­tion, too soon.

Pay­ing Compliments

You can compliment your date. (e.g. That out­fit looks great on you), but that’s all. Any more than that and you risk com­ing across as needy and low­er­ing your sta­tus in her eyes. Repeatedly telling her how beau­ti­ful she is will make her feel that you’re not wor­thy of her, so don’t do it no mat­ter how strong the urge!

Also never con­fess your love for a women in the first few dates, or even the first few months for that mat­ter. A woman wants to feel that you’ve really taken the time to get to know her and a love dec­la­ra­tion after only a few dates comes across as needy and insin­cere because you can’t love some­one that you hardly know, even if she is drop-dead gor­geous.

Din­ner Etiquette

Avoid tak­ing her to the loud­est restau­rant in town where you won’t be able to hear a word she’s say­ing. Also don’t take her to an expen­sive restau­rant and then make her feel bad for order­ing too much.

It goes with­out say­ing that you should exer­cise basic table man­ners, which means you don’t start eat­ing until both of you have your food and you don’t talk with your mouth full. Also don’t bounce your leg ner­vously at the din­ner table and remem­ber to be cour­te­ous and gen­er­ous to the waiter.

Avoid the temp­ta­tion of buy­ing her a rose in a restau­rant. It might seem like a roman­tic idea, but she’ll prob­a­bly feel a lit­tle awk­ward car­ry­ing it around for the rest of the night, espe­cially con­sid­er­ing that she doesn’t really know you that well.

Who Pays?

When it comes to pay­ing, if you asked her out you should def­i­nitely pay, even if she offers to split the bill. If you go on mul­ti­ple dates with a women and she sug­gests an event or din­ner, the chances are good that she will offer to pay. If you insist on pay­ing in this instance she may get offended, think­ing you don’t respect the fact that she has a job and can afford it.

With most mod­ern cou­ples it is not unusual for the woman to pay about 30% of the time or to split the bill on occa­sion. Def­i­nitely don’t let her pay more than 50% of the time or you’ll look like a cheap­skate, and when you do split the bill, don’t make her pay more just because your meal was slightly cheaper.

If she pays for your cof­fee or meal you can say the fol­low­ing with a smile: “Don’t think that pay­ing will let you have your way with me later!’ This kind of role rever­sal line will not only get a laugh, but will also show that you under­stand the dance of human dat­ing behavior.

Post-Date Eti­quette

At the end of the date, you have to trust your instincts. If you think you have chem­istry, there’s noth­ing wrong with going for the kiss. Then again, some peo­ple don’t kiss on first dates so don’t take it per­son­ally. If you think things went well, ask when you can see her again. you’ll know pretty quickly if her response is sin­cere. No mat­ter what hap­pens, don’t pres­sur­e her. Be con­fi­dent and be yourself.

If you felt there was chem­istry, fol­low up with her the next few days. Don’t wait any longer or she might think she’s being played. If on the other hand you don’t have fun or are not roman­ti­cally attracted to her then don’t go out with her again. Don’t be rude about it. Treat your date respect­fully as you would a pla­tonic friend.


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14 thoughts on “Modern Dating Etiquette for Men”

  1. I love the little Americanisms like ‘valet parking’. 😉 Tbh from what I read here on WP lots of guys break some of this etiquette on the first days on texting let alone actual physical dates. There are still some genuine guys out there who know how to behave although I find actual dates very rare and beautiful things so I don’t get much of a chance to test manners here very often. A good article with some nice tips. I must remember to circulate it. Thank you. 🙂

  2. I love love this so on point with so many things…I would love to add a couple of comments
    Firstly, I have actually started saying something like ” Shall we have the awkward first hug and get that out of the way or do you want to do the friendly warm handshake?”
    We usually end up hugging and it is rarely awkward!
    As for a goodnight kiss, I actually love it when a guy says something like ” I really want to kiss you goodnight”
    If there is chemistry this lets me say “Well why don’t you”….If there is NO chemistry then I say ” If I kissed on the first date then I would have to tell my mother and she would be very displeased!!” This lets me off the hook without creating an awkward situation and often generates a laugh if they get the “Kiss and tell ” reference

  3. The need for this advice helps me understand the current absence of courtesy and consideration I see everywhere. I was raised to have manners, be polite, considerate of others, and to court women, rather than hunt them. Any young man who was surprised at your guidelines was deserted by his parents in McDonald’s or Walmart at age 6.

    1. Thank you so much. That means a lot to me. I will be running dating advice on phicklephilly hopefully twice a month in 2018. I really think beyond telling stories of my dating history, I need to help the community to learn how to better date.

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