17 Unspoken First Date Rules That Everyone Needs To Know

From the awkward small talk to the nerve-wracking uncertainty of making a good impression, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to any first date. Fortunately, seasoned daters have shared some unsaid rules to help guide us through the murky depths of the dating world. Let’s dive in and uncover the wisdom hidden within these unspoken guidelines.

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#1: The Art of Active Listening

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“Be interested in what the other has to say. No short worded answers.”

Many users stress the importance of genuine interest and active listening during a first date. Short, dismissive answers can kill the conversation faster than you can say “awkward,” so be prepared to engage and show that you’re genuinely interested in getting to know the other person.

#2:  Punctuality Is Key

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“Be on time. This is such a pet peeve of mine. We said 5:30. I likely only know you from your pictures so I’m nervously looking around for you at 5:28 as I walk up just to get a text – sorry, going to be 10mins. Now, am I taking up a table at the coffee shop? Standing around for 10mins with my dog? Just be on time. First dates are hard enough.”

Few things dampen the excitement of a first date like waiting anxiously for a tardy companion. Whether you’re meeting at a coffee shop or a swanky restaurant, being punctual shows respect for your date’s time and sets a positive tone for the evening ahead.

#3: Keep the Past in the Past

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“Don’t trauma dump. I promise you this person doesn’t want to hear about your ex. Not just about ex, but anything TOO deep, like family troubles, or childhood. I think that’s a little too much for the first date. Many people open up quickly on the first date when they feel a little comfortable, so just to be a little reserved. I think it’s healthy because it’s not overwhelming to the other person too.”

Dumping emotional baggage on your first date is like bringing a sledgehammer to a tea party. While it’s natural to want to share personal experiences, oversharing about exes or deep-seated traumas can be overwhelming. Keep it light and save the heavy stuff for later dates.

#4: Phone-Free Zone

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“Don’t look at your phone: For anyone that wants to update a friend with how it’s going for safety, there’s obvious times when there’s natural breaks. Like I will head off to the bathroom for a bathroom break if I’m feeling like I really need to send an update on how things are going.”

Constantly checking your phone during a date is a major faux pas that screams disinterest. Some users suggest discreetly updating friends for safety reasons during natural breaks, but otherwise, keep your focus on the person in front of you; not the glowing screen in your hand.

#5: Don’t Rush Relationship Talk

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“If you’ve met online, don’t pressure the person too much with your expectations. They’re basically a stranger. You don’t need to end up in a relationship with that person. Get to know them as a human being first, without any exact ideas of the type of your potential future relationship.”

For those who’ve met online, it’s important not to pressure your date with unrealistic expectations. Take the time to get to know them as a person without projecting your ideal relationship onto them.

#6: No Serial Killer Vibes

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“When I was dating, I had to explain several times that yes, I love hiking, but no I don’t want to go hiking on a first date. I have to get to know a guy first, before going alone into the woods together!”

While a romantic stroll in the woods might sound idyllic, it’s not exactly ideal for a first date. Opt for public places where safety isn’t a concern, and save the wilderness adventures for later dates when you know each other better.

#7: Honesty Is the Best Policy

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“Just be honest. Sounds simple, but many seem to have a problem with this one.”

Whether it’s expressing your true feelings or being upfront about your intentions, being honest lays the foundation for a genuine connection.

#8: Sip, Don’t Slurp

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“Don’t get sloppy drunk. I know a few who broke that rule.”

Indulging in a few drinks can help calm those first-date jitters, but getting sloppy drunk is a definite no-no. Some users share cautionary tales of dates derailed by overindulgence, emphasizing the importance of keeping your wits about you and maintaining a level head.

#9: Dress to Impress

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“Don’t show up looking like you just rolled out of bed.”

First impressions matter, and showing up looking like you just rolled out of bed won’t exactly make a stellar one. Take the time to put some effort into your appearance, because nothing says “I don’t care” like showing up in sweatpants and a wrinkled T-shirt.

#10: Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

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“This one is mostly for women, but don’t bring your friend if you never mentioned that she was coming before. Had that happen to me and it was clear both girls just wanted a free dinner, so I excused myself to the “bathroom” and never spoke to the girl again.”

Bringing along an unannounced friend on a first date is a major breach of etiquette. Not only does it disrupt the dynamic between you and your date, but it also sends the message that you’re not fully invested in getting to know them. Keep it simple and stick to the original plan.

#11: Manners Make The Man

A man pouring wine on the first date.
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“If you see someone else you know, introduce your date right away and tell your acquaintance some interesting things about your date. No one likes being the third wheel in someone else’s conversation. Manners count for a lot. Then turn your attention back to your date.”

Politeness goes a long way, especially on a first date. It’s the little things that count, and good manners never go out of style.

#12: Order Wisely

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“If you’re going out to eat, and the other person is paying, don’t order crazy expensive food or drinks.”

If your date is footing the bill for dinner, it’s only fair to be mindful of your ordering choices. Opting for the most expensive items on the menu can come across as inconsiderate or even opportunistic. Stick to reasonably priced options to avoid any awkwardness when the check arrives.

#13: Chivalry Isn’t Dead

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​​”Men – Hold the door, if possible, help with her coat, or chair. If walking somewhere, take the street side; If it’s raining, have an umbrella big enough for the two of you.”

Simple gestures like holding the door open or offering your coat can go a long way in making your date feel valued and respected. It’s all about showing consideration for their comfort and well-being, so don’t be afraid to let your inner gentleman or lady shine through.

#14: Grooming Matters

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“Shower, and ideally get a haircut prior to a date. Deodorant is a minimum. If you wear cologne or perfume, keep it classy/reasonable.”

Taking the time to shower, groom, and apply deodorant shows that you care about making a good impression. It’s a simple but effective way to boost your confidence and ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward.

#15: Be Kind, Always

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“Whatever your date’s behavior is, always be graceful and respectful. Even if someone is a miserable person, treat them as human, and with respect. Who you are often is defined by what you do when you’re given the choice to be the better person or not. You don’t owe anyone anything, but no reason to be nasty to a stranger.”

No matter how the date is going, always strive to be gracious and respectful. Remember, how you treat others says a lot about your character, so always aim to be the bigger person.

#16: Cosmic Conversations

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“Please don’t bring up astrology.”

Bringing up astrology on a first date can be a polarizing topic that’s best left untouched. While some may find it intriguing, others may view it as frivolous or nonsensical. To play it safe, steer clear of astrological discussions and focus on more neutral topics instead.

#17: Avoid Creepy Comments

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“This truly goes without saying; Avoid any comments even remotely of a sexual nature. You might be perceived as a creep.”

While it’s natural to feel attracted to your date, making overtly sexual comments can come across as disrespectful or creepy. Keep the conversation light and respectful, and save the risqué topics for when you’ve established a stronger rapport.

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