Dating, like all social rituals, is a rule-bound process. Although advice about ‘being yourself’ is all well and good, those that don’t conform to the unspoken laws are unlikely to progress on to further dates. Happily, the strictures are few and relatively easy to learn.
People are inherently judgemental. All of the texts and emails you send before embarking on a date, with someone you have met online for example, will be used to form a cumulative impression of your personality – so be careful what you write.
When composing a communication, don’t be tempted to immediately blurt out your life story. Narcissism is unattractive, as is too much information at once. Messages should be functional, albeit with a few titbits thrown in for good measure. Humorous asides are good, sexually suggestive comments aren’t.
As a general rule, keep messages short and always remember to ask a pertinent question. This helps keep the conversation going and shows a genuine interest in the recipient. Leave the long-winded stories or philosophies on life until the date itself. Or just leave them at home.
Choosing a venue
Even if you have the best idea in the world for a date, ask the other person for their opinion. Everyone likes to be given choices and imposing your will at this stage doesn’t bode well for the future of the relationship.
Rather than create an elaborate date-plan where expectations (and the potential for failure) run high, it’s often best to start with something low key – such as a coffee date or a meal at a buzzy restaurant.
How to act
It seems obvious, but being polite and considerate are vitally important. That means arriving on time for the date, or better still, a little early. It also means making the other person feel comfortable. Keep the conversation light-hearted and make sure to ask questions. Listen to what you’re being told rather than spending the time trying to come up with the next witty comment.
Under no circumstances succumb to the temptation to lie or exaggerate. If you don’t like your job or wish you had a better vehicle, then make a joke about it or talk about things that you are proud of.
After the date, many struggle with the question of how much time to leave before re-initiating contact. Sending a quick text to ensure that your date has arrived home safely is ok, but as a general rule, it’s better to avoid any extra communication on the day of the date itself.
Letting the other person know that you had a good time is a nice thing to do, but leave it until the day after the date. Writing in the afternoon or the evening is better than the moment you wake up. Even if you would like to see the other person again, it’s best not to try and immediately arrange something. Exchange a few texts, calls or emails before asking them out again.
If you don’t want to go on another date, it’s polite to let the other person down gently – nobody likes being ignored.
Feature Image via Verzo