Dating Rules & Etiquette

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 By Noreen Ruth

A first date can make - or break - the potential for a
long lasting relationship. First impressions are everything and following the proper etiquette will ensure you have a positive impact. After agreeing on a time and place and getting all the details worked out, you think you're ready for just about anything. But your date could still end up in disaster if you don't follow these rules:

Be on Time: Don't make your date wait! It's not only disrespectful but puts added stress on your date while they twiddle their thumbs while you finish getting ready. It also implies that you may be unreliable.

Turn Off the Cell Phone: The only person who should leave their cell phone on is a doctor on-call. The rest of us should keep it OFF. There is nothing ruder than being in the middle of great conversation and to be interrupted by a ring-tone. Don't use your cell phone unless it's an emergency.

It's Not All About You: There's a delicate balancing act to great conversation. No one wants to be 'all ears' when their date dominates the conversation. And although it is widely known that the best way to influence people is to get them to talk about themselves, being asked 20 questions can feel like an interrogation. Be prepared to ask questions and when appropriate share your own experience or opinion. The give and take of a great conversation helps you to get to know each other better.

Eye-to-Eye Conversation: Don't hesitate to look your date in the eyes. Nothing says 'confidence' more than a willingness to see a person eye-to-eye. Looking at your hands or off in space may be interpreted as indifference or that you're not interested.

Avoid Intimate Subjects: When it comes to conversation, avoid topics that are personal or intimate and may make your date uncomfortable. You should be getting to know each other without any pressure to move to the next level. If you try to get too close, too quickly-- you may not get another date.

Ex's are a No-No: The last thing anyone wants to hear about is an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. Any mistakes (or successes) in your past relationships are totally irrelevant when starting to date someone new. If you have a need to talk about your ex, then you probably aren't over him / her yet and need to postpone dating altogether.

Compliments Ease the Tension: Noticing something about your date that pleases you and complimenting them helps break the ice. Phony or flowery prose will only be a turn off so be sincere and don't overdo it.

Alcohol Consumption: Sharing a great glass of wine or quenching your thirst with a beer is totally acceptable. It's when alcohol is used to ease our nervousness that you may get into trouble. You want your date to enjoy YOU and not the person you are under the influence of alcohol. Keep your drinking to a minimum.

To Kiss or Not to Kiss: Kissing on the first date isn't a matter of etiquette but a personal decision. If you're comfortable and your date is responsive, a kiss can be the perfect finishing touch to the evening. Just keep it light and breezy, short and sweet. It's easy to send the wrong message if you go to far-- beyond a level where your partner is comfortable

First impressions, whether good or bad, are often hard to overcome. So you'll want to put your best foot forward and make a good impression anytime you're out on a date. Follow these rules -- and you'll be off to a good start!

By Noreen Ruth
Dating & Relationship Expert Editor
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