So, what is a “date”? Letitia Baldrige, world-famous etiquette expert, defines a date as any time two people agree to meet on a specific day at a specific time for the purpose of doing something special. Often we think of a date only in a romantic context, but we also set dates with our family and friends.
Dates have become increasingly more casual, and manners seem to have been set aside in favor of letting whatever may happen, happen. The wonderful experience of dating, in which we enter into new relationships or celebrate seasoned ones, has lost some of its sparkle. A date is the perfect time to let someone know how special he or she is to you. Tending to the details not only enhances the experience but also demonstrates the level of respect and honor we have toward the other person.
Romantic dates are filled with the potential for disaster or delight. With a bit of thoughtful planning you can avoid those awkward dates.
- Chose an event you both will enjoy. Inviting the quarterback to a ballet may not be the best choice.
- Give proper notice. A casual date requires less notice than a formal date.
- Select the correct method for extending the invitation—email, telephone, face-to-face, or written.
- Remember that the invitation sets the stage for the event, so be creative.
- Respond promptly to the invitation. RSVP!
- Handle rejection graciously. “Thank you for the invitation. I am sorry I will not be able to attend the event.”
- Select clothing that is appropriate and honoring of the person and the event.
- Be on time. Self-centered people make others wait for them.
- Think of things to talk about before the date, so you are not left speechless.
- Practice safety. Make sure others know whom you are going with, where you are going, and when you expect to return.
On the Date
- Greet your date with a smile and eye contact. Please, do not honk your horn announcing your arrival.
- Introduce yourself to any present family members or roommates.
- Be financially responsible. Unless you are paying, don’t order the most expensive item on the menu.
- Avoid public displays of affection. Holding hands is charming; making out in the movie theater is not!
- Be positive, and plan to have fun.
- Make your date, not your mobile phone, the focus of your attention.
- Practice good manners. Rude behavior is the silent killer of many relationships.
Ending the Date
- Unless other arrangements were made during the invitation, the person who does the inviting does the paying.
- Don’t forget to say thank you, or better yet, send a written thank-you note.
If you are planning a date with someone you met online, here are a few additional tips for that first date.
- Select a public place during the day for a cup of coffee or other nonalcoholic beverage.
- Drive yourself to the agreed location.
- Notify family or friends of your plans.
- Keep the meeting brief.
- Limit the amount of personal information you share.
- Think safety! You may feel you know him or her well from your online activity, but remember, what is online is not always true!
The social dance of dating provides opportunity to learn about another person and whether you want to explore that relationship in greater depth. Here is a video that highlights several awkward dating moments.
The Art of Being a Gentleman – Art of Confident Living
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