Social media and cell phones have killed traditional dating and the etiquette that went with it. What was once a black and white process has somehow seeped into the gray– where guys and girls text or message back and forth on social media for weeks on end before the guy finally gets up the courage to text the girl he likes to ask her if she will go out with him. (That’s assuming he actually asks her out or even uses the word “date” in a sentence). It’s apparently much easier to see if she wants to “hang out,” which leaves so much room for interpretation, and inevitably lead to an exasperated girl finally asking the guy, “So are we just ‘hanging out’ or is this a date?”
Perhaps, it’s time to re-teach dating etiquette in the hopes that a few young guys and girls can reject the ambiguity of current dating trends in favor of a straightforward and respectful approach – one that takes place in real life and not just on the Internet.
Here are 10 traditional dating rules we need to bring back:
1. The guy always calls the girl. The girl never calls the guy.
I distinctly remember how angry my mom would get when flirty junior high girls called to talk to my cute 7th grade brother. She’d give them a short dating etiquette lesson that ended with her abruptly hanging up the phone. (Of course, this was back when girls had to actually call the “house phone” – a word I have had to teach my sons). Girls, make the guy call you, not the other way around. If a guy really likes you, he will call. If he doesn’t have the guts to dial seven numbers and say, “hello,” then he’s not worth dating.
2. Guys need to call it a “date” and make their intentions known.
Fellas, it’s time to man up and actually use the word “date.” Make your intentions clear from the beginning. If you like a girl, tell her that you like her and want to go on a date. If you want to get to know someone better then say that, and if you just want to go out “as friends” then make that clear too. Dating just for fun is great for high school kids, but not so great for those 20 and 30 somethings who are ready to get married, so just keep your intentions clear and you can avoid all the awkwardness and ambiguity of “hanging out.”
3. Guys always go to the door to pick up their dates.
Guys should always go to the door to pick up their date, preferably with flowers in hand. This way the guy can introduce himself to his date’s parents, giving her father a firm handshake, allowing him to say a few words about “shotguns” and “shallow graves.” (This, is, of course, assuming she lives with her parents). Either way, guys should go to the door.
Whatever you do, guys, don’t call from the car or text “Hey, I’m here.” It’s lazy and kind of cowardly. And, girls, if a guy ever just pulls up and honks the horn, do yourself a favor and don’t bother walking out the front door.
4. Dress nicely for a date.
Girls have no problem with this. They try on five different outfits and spend hours planning what they will wear, but guys, please take a shower. Put on deodorant and a nice (clean) shirt and jeans, (maybe even some cologne).
5. Guys – pay for the date. Girls – don’t order a salad.
This is a non-negotiable, especially for a first date. If a guy can’t afford to pay for the date, then he shouldn’t have asked the girl in the first place. And, girls, on behalf of all guys everywhere, please don’t order a salad to try and save the guy some money. He will not appreciate your gesture, and it may even offend him.
6. Don’t forget basic manners.
Guys should open car doors (and all other doors) and pull their date’s chair away from the table. It’s not that your date is incapable of doing these things for herself. It’s just a matter of showing respect.
Girls should also be thankful and polite. When the guy does what he “should,” say thank you – thank you for inviting me, thank you for opening the door, thank you for dinner.
7. Give your date your full attention.
Put your phone away! Make eye contact and talk to your date even if it’s the longest two hours of your life. Don’t act bored or disinterested (even if you are). There is nothing more off-putting than seeing your date trying to entertain himself/herself or stay connected to everyone (except for your) while on a date. The photo of the awesome sushi you ordered can wait to be posted. Live in the moment, not in your photos.
8. Walk your date to the door, and make sure she’s home on time.
At the end of the night guys need to walk their date back to the door, and if you’re young enough to have a curfew, then make sure your date arrives home early or on time. There is no better way to make your date’s parents question your integrity than by breaking their rules
9. If a girl isn’t interested in a second date, she should let the guy know.
Girls, make sure you don’t lead a guy on because you don’t want to hurt his feelings. If he calls you for a second date, and you aren’t interested, then tell him you aren’t interested. He would rather know upfront, I promise!
10. Kindness, respect, and honesty go a long way!
Above all, treat your date with kindness and respect, and be honest about how you feel. You’ll find that these three virtues will go a long way when it comes to dating.