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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Love: First Date Etiquette

Last week we broached the subject of who should pay on a first date...now let's look at etiquette once you're on that first date.

Jewel of wisdom du jour: Putting your best foot forward is only the beginning. - J. Earl Smith


Don't get too comfortable too early.
When going on a first date, remember that the two of you don't know each other and you owe each other a certain level of space and courtesy that shouldn't be broached. What do I mean by that? Even if the date is going tremendously well, don't allow yourself to feel comfortable enough to start offering life advice to him or asking for life advice from him. Neither of you know one another well enough to even go down that path. If he brings up something about himself that you think he needs to correct...whipping out a quick judgement on what he should do is almost positively the death of a second date. Think about it from this perspective: how do you feel when your friend or family member criticizes you or tells you what "they think" is best for you or what you should do? Now multiply that times ten seeing as that advice would be coming from a complete stranger. Don't do it or you'll regret it!!!

Play your cards close to the chest.
Don't give out too much information about yourself too early. Now that's not to say that you should be stand-offish and not answer any questions, but if you feel a conversation is getting WAY too personal for a first date...don't feel obliged to answer. Gently try to change the subject. It's all too easy for both men and women to begin judging someone based off of the little things they say on a first date, so try to keep some mystery about who you are and what makes you that way. Also, keep in mind that everyone has some kind of baggage that they carry from one relationship to the next, now is not the time to bring that up or dwell on it. Besides, if you dwell on or bring up the emotional baggage you might have...you'll either seem disinterested in your date (because you're mentally comparing him to your ex) or it'll show him that you're too hung up on the past and not really ready to move on. If you can keep the past in the past for now and not reveal too much about yourself  he'll want to find out more about you...which will more than likely only happen on a second date.

Don't over drink!!!
Alcohol can be a help and a hinder on a first date. Having a glass of wine to kind of settle the nerves isn't wrong, it can actually be a good idea. But you want to be careful about how much you drink on a first date. If you keep throwing back glass after glass of wine, your date will get the wrong idea about you, he could even think that maybe you have a drinking problem. I don't know many men who want to be with a woman who has an alcohol problem. Over drinking does NOT make a good impression on your date and can seriously turn them off if you can't handle your liquor. I equate getting drunk on a date to Icarus. Alcohol is the sun and your date represents the wax wings. If you drink too much, you're flying extremely too close to the sun and it's only a matter of time before he splits aka the wax wings melt. If you're out looking to just have fun and hook up with someone...there are plenty of guys (even nice ones) who won't mind getting you liquored up, but if you're looking to meet a nice guy that could potentially turn into a relationship...stick to my simple rule...first dates have a two (2) drink maximum! If you're a lightweight and can't really handle or don't have too much experience with alcohol...that comes down to a one (1) drink maximum! Trust me, drinking too much alcohol will make you look like an immature fool...you don't want that, you'll thank me in the long run.

Be conversational...Don't dominate the conversation.
This one should speak for itself, but it doesn't always sink in. First dates are supposed to conversational, fun, light and not ONE-SIDED. The definition of the word conversation is "oral communication between persons". Which means that the other person has to be able to get a word in. If you find yourself rambling on and on about something that is pretty inconsequential, I'd say it's safe to stop where you are and try listening to him for a little bit. Women generally tend to be the more talkative of the sexes, but that doesn't mean that a man doesn't want to talk at all on a date. It's supposed to be an interchange of thoughts and ideas which shows each person a little more insight into who they're on a date with. If you look across the table at your date and he has this glazed over look in his eyes...I can assure you that you've talked too much, he's tuned you out, and you talked yourself right out of a second date. Also...if you're able to be conversational but not dominate the conversation, there are a few subjects I'd recommend staying away from on a first date...past relationships, religion, politics, marriage, children, money, or bad habits. These topics can send a man running for the hills, so ask him some pointed questions about his upbringing or places he's traveled, music, TV, movies, career plans/goals, etc. All of these are good topics which won't offend anyone and he'll be more inclined to talk about and can give you more insight into who he is.

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