If you haven’t heard, a controversy arose over a Salt Lake City high high school’s dating assignment.  High school juniors were told to go on a “$5 date,” and rules for behavior were provided.

I won’t list the outlined gender-based rules, but I will say that after my wife and I read some, we commented, “These were written in the 1950s!”  You can read more about this on FOX13.

Well, this got me thinking.  If I was going to offer some dating etiquette guidelines, what would I say?  So, here’s a short list that applies to people of all ages.

Etiquette Guidelines for Dating (and Life)

  • Be on time.  Whether one person is picking up the other or the two of you are meeting somewhere, be on time.  If you’re running late, call (or at least text) the other letting them know that you’re running behind and why.
  • Plan your activities ahead of time.  Even if the other person says they like spontaneity, in truth, they do appreciate some planning.  Don’t show up and say, “So, what do you want to do?”  Respect the other person enough to have a general plan.  Of course, you are free to be spontaneous during the date.
  • Don’t over-plan the date.  While a plan is wise, over-planning is woeful.  Instead, have a general idea, but remain flexible.  Better yet, make plans that allow for spontaneity.
  • Small venues make great first dates.  Places like coffeehouses (e.g., Starbucks) or small dish eateries (e.g., Panera Bread) are good.  They often have people around and are easy to access, which makes the other person feel more secure.  Remember, this is the first date, so you two probably don’t know each other well.
  • Don’t complain about how your date looks or acts.  That’s simply rude!  If you can’t find anything nice to say about them, say nothing at all.  If your friends ask how it went, remain respectful and say, “There wasn’t any connection, so I don’t think we’ll go on a second date.”  Why?  You never know what may have been going on in the other person’s life that impacted their look or behavior.
  • Never, ever complain about the cost of the date.  If your date orders a $50 meal, remember, you agreed to go to that restaurant.  If your date orders the cheapest thing on the menu, again, that’s their choice.  A good way to get around this: go dutch.
  • Respect the parents.  If you have to deal with the parents, regardless of whether your date lives with them or not, show the parents respect.
  • Be yourself, not someone else.  It’s normal to want to impress the other person.  However, if you put on a false persona, then in the long run the relationship will suffer.  Why?  Because you started off with a lie.  Instead be yourself.
  • Be yourself, not an exaggerated self.  If you’re a lighthearted jokester, don’t be the obnoxious clown.  If you’re an introvert, don’t be a recluse.  Just be yourself.

I’m sure I could outline a lot more, but I think this list suffices for now.  Do you have any good tips for proper etiquette on a date?  Comment below and share this post.

In the end, all of these guidelines can be boiled down to one word: respect.


John L. Rothra

John is an author, speaker, blogger, and aspiring YouTuber. He's also a bassist and a huge Buffalo Bills fan. John holds a PhD in evangelism and has pastored/preached for over a decade.

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