20 Dating Etiquette Tips to Never Screw Up Again

You have a date coming up this weekend and you want to leave a lasting impression. Dates can be nerve-racking, especially if it’s your first. Sometimes your nerves may result in you saying or doing something wrong and that might be the deal-breaker that breaks the camel’s back. To avoid the worst, here are our 20 dating etiquette tips to ensure you get the best date experience.

Making the First Impression

1. Being on Time

The first rule of dating etiquette is to come on or ahead of time. Remember that it is absolutely not okay to have the lady wait for you. Especially on first dates, coming in late almost always ruins a lady’s first impression. Plan ahead — arriving on time shows that you respect her time.

2. Look your Best

man with a brown coat and white shirt posing with a bouquet of roses near a window
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

If you want to leave a good impression, you have to look your best. Women these days have varying standards of how a desirable man should look like; some prefer them rugged, some prefer them clean-cut. Generally, to stay safe, just don’t show up to your date with oily and unkempt hair, unclean fingernails, and the like. Put in some effort to clean up, maybe spritz some cologne and dress well before heading out.

For tips on how to dress to impress and look your best, check out our Grooming and Style articles.

3. Be Confident

Nothing looks better on a man than confidence. Being awkward, especially on dates, mirror that uneasiness and can reflect negatively on you. This will not help you in the long run. This is why it’s so important to dress well; how you look can drastically change how confidently you carry yourself.

4. Choosing the Meeting Place

One of the most sensible dating rules is to always set the date in public. Setting your date somewhere not-so-public could make your intentions seem shady. Remember that the first few dates are set to establish trust and familiarity between both parties. Setting the date in a public enough place ensures that you have her comfort in mind.

During the Date Itself

5. Phones Off Please

One of the most important dating etiquette tips is to turn off your phone. We understand you are a busy person and there may be important calls but the least you can do on a date is to put it on silent mode and off the table. Whenever on dates, the only calls you should take are the very urgent ones and when you do, excuse yourself and keep your calls short.

6. Talk to Each Other

couple seated laughing and smiling together with tea cups and a pug dog
Image by 5688709 from Pixabay

Dating is that stage of the relationship where both parties discover each other’s personalities and what better way to do that than to talk to each other. Focus your attention on the lady in front of you. Ask questions. Be interested and be interesting. While you’re at it, always make the conversation fun because there’s nothing more attractive to a woman than a witty man.

7. Keep an Open Mind

No matter how much you know about a person already, there would always be things that could shock you. Expect to know things that may be unexpected. Whether it is her telling you that she likes mango with cheese or that she preferred cars over dolls growing up, you have to keep an open mind that everyone is different and avoid being judgmental.

Definite No-Nos

Dating etiquette isn’t just about the things you should do but also what you should not do. Here are some taboo topics you should never bring up during a date.

8. Never Mention the Past

One area that should be out of discussion should be the past, whether it’s your past or hers. Don’t mention exes, past mistakes, or even stories from past relationships as these are way too uncomfortable for your date. Wait for her to open up on these topics in her own time but if she doesn’t choose to reveal these things even on your tenth date, do not mention it.

9. Never Discuss Marriage or Children

half-body shot of a bride's and groom's hands forming a heart together
Photo by Takmeomeo from Pixabay

Note that you are on that phase where you are still trying to know each other better and what better way to ruin the mood than by discussing serious matters like marriage and children. Maybe these topics might come into the picture when the relationship gets more serious but definitely not on the first few dates.

10. Bragging is Not Allowed

We know there are such personal accomplishments that we would like to brag about but please, not this time. It never brings you anywhere, she’ll only think that you’re too full of yourself. Be humble and modest and don’t try too hard to oversell yourself.

Behavioral Tips

Your behavior and actions play a big role in dating etiquette as well. Here are some things you should take note of.

11. Treat Everyone Well

Sometimes, food may be a little bit delayed than usual or you may not be getting the kind of service you like. If you are the kind of person with a shorter fuse, control yourself — this is not the time to be rude or demanding. Treat everyone, including waiters and the people around you, with respect. Bad-mouthing and being nasty to everyone does not help.

12. Drink Moderately

couple holding wine glasses on a picnic blanket
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

If the date goes beyond dinner and proceeds to a few drinks, always remember to never overindulge. You don’t want to unintentionally embarrass yourself on the first few dates and leave her to clean up after you. Drink just enough for the night so you can at least still drive home.

13. Show Some Positive Body Language

Listen to her, look her in the eye, smile and genuinely laugh at her silly jokes. Pay attention. These are all indications of positive body language and could almost assure you of a subsequent date. One thing to remember, however, is to never be too close…or too clingy. Give yourselves a comfortable space from each other.

14. Careful with the Gifts

This could blow your bubble but too many of us men do this. Never give a gift on the first date. We believe this is a sensible enough first date etiquette primarily because she said yes for the simple reason that she likes you and wants to get to know you. No gift needed.

Movie Date Tips

If the two of you choose to watch a movie together during the date, here are some movie date tips that might be helpful to keep in mind.

15. Offer to Buy the Tickets

We know it’s a tad bit expensive to shell out for two adult tickets but offering to buy the ticket for your date is a nice gesture that shows you care. We know there are women out there who may want to get the tickets herself but if she does not mention anything about splitting bills, offer to pay for her ticket first and see if she agrees.

16. Hands Off!

couple's hands side by side with a red X marked on each of them
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Keep your hands to yourself for the whole duration of the movie. Some subtle body language from her can probably send you hints and signals that holding her hand or putting your arm behind her would be fine but always be wary as again, there may be chances that you are not reading the signals right. This applies to all types of dates in general; don’t get too close with the PDA too early on. So, be careful there!

17. Stop Talking

Most of us want to really focus on the movie and tend to hush those who talk inside the theaters. Suffice to say, it’s not cool to talk about unrelated topics while the opening credits start. However if during the movie, she starts whispering to you something about the film then this is a very good signal that she’s okay with having small conversations while the movie is going on.

At the End of the Date

18. Never Assume Too Much

So your date went well and you feel like you’re going somewhere but don’t jump to conclusions. Never assume too much; don’t even think that you two are already a couple. You cannot even think this on the third date; it’s only official when both of you establish you want to take the relationship further. Give the introductory phase some time. Never assume, and never rush.

19. Split the Bill

Photo by peter-facebook from Pixabay

These days, there are some women who prefer to split the bill when paying for the meal, and that’s okay! But as a gentlemanly gesture, always be the first one to offer to pay the bill. If she wants to split the bill, accept it. More women like to be independent and would appreciate if you respect that she wants equal treatment.

20. Make Sure She Gets Home Safe

Whether she got a cab, an Uber, or drove home herself, it would be advisable to check on her whether she got home safe. If she’s comfortable with it, you can even offer to give her a lift home. This sends a message across that her safety is your main priority. Besides, this is an opportunity to casually talk about the night and send hints of arranging a (possible) subsequent date.


Think of dating etiquette as guidelines on how you should and should not behave on your dates. While dating etiquette varies on a case to case basis, keep in mind the three dating rules of thumb: good behavior, good manners, and respect. So go ahead, ask her out and let us know how it went. Good luck!

Mr Maxim
Mr Maxim is your go-to guy for all things men's lifestyle. If you need help getting your mojo together, Mr Maxim has all the tips you need to survive as a modern man in the 21st century.

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