Dating Do's and Don'ts

Dating Dos

  • Be attentive to your date. When faced with the dilemma of whether to bare all or listen attentively, many singles prefer to listen. Lori is a 22-year-old college student who feels she's nailed the role of "listener". "If you listen to your date, they think you're interesting even though you haven't actually said anything. Just keep asking questions and they'll think you're brilliant and fascinating."
  • Maintain eye contact. Just make sure it's not too intense. Remember, you aren't a hawk eyeing it's prey.
  • Plan your date out ahead of time. Avoid falling into the vicious cycle of saying, "I don't know, what do you want to do?" Decide on something and do it. Be open to other suggestions if your plans don't work out.
  • Meet in a public place on your first date. Not only is this a safe idea, it also allows for distractions should conversation lag. Rick, 24, agrees: "Leave the one-on romantic dates for when you really feel you are into a person."
  • Offer to split the bill. The issue of "who pays" is probably one of the largest sources of confusion for singles. Most people today feel that the bill is the responsibility of the party that asked for the date. That said, it is courteous to offer to "go Dutch" and you should always be prepared to split the costs. If your date does pick up the tab, offer to pay the next time.
  • Act chivalrous. Men, the women's liberation movement may have provided women with the means to financial independence and positions of power, but this does not mean that she no longer appreciates those little things that make you a gentlemen. Open doors for your date, pull out her chair for her, make sure she gets home safely. These are the things that make a good impression. Sarah, 31, believes: "If used correctly, chivalry is the charm of all charms; if overused, it seems like machismo."
  • Follow up with your date. Call or email your date to let them know you had a good time. This doesn't have to be a plea to see them again right away. It's simply a courtesy. If your date had an enjoyable time too, this will be icing on the cake!
  • Crack jokes. Not only will this put your date at ease, it will show them you have a sense of humor.
  • Discuss heavier topics. Let's face it, some people SHOULD stick to small talk, but if you're informed on a topic, go ahead and discuss it. If you find some topics appropriate and your date finds them taboo, it may be better to realize this early on.