Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a guidebook that was automatically given to everyone with an online dating profile? The book would contain every Do and Don’t about how to talk to each other online, how to arrange and go on a date, etc.
And wouldn’t it be great if everyone followed it?
In the olden days—maybe back when your parents met, or even your grandparents met—there seemed to be pretty universal dating etiquette everyone followed. You meet at a dance or some other structured community event. The boy calls the girl, and he arranges everything and pays. Then you go home, maybe get a little kiss. Then you go on another date.
Ahh, if only it were that simple again. It seems like now, anything goes. People meet online, people meet offline. We meet for coffee, we meet for golfing. He pays, she pays. Who knows what’s really “right” anymore?
Here on DateNurse, we want to help you navigate the dating world. So here are some Online Dating Etiquette Basics.
This should go without saying, but online it’s all too easy to lie a little or a lot. It may be tempting to sell yourself as someone different than you really are, but just don’t. Sooner or later, your date will figure it out. It won’t be pretty. And then you’ll have to start over again.
Our advice? Be honest. Use a current picture of yourself, represent yourself honestly in your profile, and be honest about your relationship status. Above all, when you are talking online with others, talk how you talk. Be you. Don’t try to be someone else. It will come back to bite you later.
When you are yourself, you are more likely to attract someone who really appreciates you. And then you can really enjoy face-to-face time together when dating does happen.
Agree on What to Do Beforehand.
There is nothing worse than arriving for a date and just sitting around twiddling your thumbs. If your date doesn’t plan something, then offer some ideas. Try to get a rough idea of what you will be doing before you actually meet up. That will take away a lot of anxiety about the date, and it will make the date go so much more smoothly.
Figure Out Who Pays.
This can be a delicate situation, so talk about it before paying even comes up. Probably the easiest would be to go Dutch. But sometimes one or the other may want to pay. In the modern world, any way is fine, as long as it’s ok with everyone. So try not to be too squeamish about talking it over. You could even offer, “I’d love to pay for this date, and maybe you could pay for coffee next week.”
Be on Time.
When you say you’ll be there at a certain time, follow through. Show your date that you respect him or her as a person, and that he or she is worth your time. Also being on time shows that you do what you say you will. That is basic etiquette in life, so keep it in mind.
Keep Chivalry Alive.
Guys, open those doors, and bring flowers if you feel inclined. Girls, let them, and say thank you! Enough said.
Keep the Conversation Balanced.
This is a chance for both of you to get to know each other. Have a shy date? Offer info about yourself, but be sure to ask open ended questions so your date feels included in the conversation, even if he or she isn’t very talkative or self-confident yet. Who knows? Maybe in the process of realizing you are a great person, your date will open up. And your date will thank you for it.
No Electronics during the Date.
Sure, you met online, and up until your face-to-face date you conversed via electronics—but now those are off limits. When you are on a date, put them away. Remember why you are with this other person, and why you set up the date in the first place. You have limited time on this date, so use it wisely. And show your date that you are interested in him or her—not social media, or texts or emails from other people. Those can wait and hour or two until the date is over.
Say Goodnight Appropriately.
If the date has gone well, you may notice signals from the other person—signals like general touching, hand holding, arm around you, etc., that can say, “I’m OK with a goodnight kiss.” If that is the case, then go for it! But keep it classy. Give a little but leave them wanting more.
If, however, things were just OK and at this point you are just friends, then say goodnight like friends. Give a hug, or handshake, or whatever the other person seems to be most comfortable doing.
A day or two after the date, send a quick message to your date. If things went well, let him or her know you had a good time, and you’d love to see him or her again. Or if you aren’t interested in pursuing the relationship, please be honest but nice about it. Perhaps say, “I am glad I got to know you better on our date, though I’m not sure you are what I’m looking for. I’d love to stay friends. I wish you the best of luck in the dating world. I know I’ll need it.”
Most of all, it all goes back to the Golden Rule. Treat others in the dating world in the manner in which you would like to be treated.