in: Dating & Relationships

A Crash Course in First Date Etiquette

Suzanne Muller-Heinz

That initial romantic rendezvous can be kind of rad if you know how to steer things. Take some tips, then take the reigns! This is first date etiquette.


I’m not writing this article for a typical date. This information is for the mindful person who’s open to considering new and fresh areas around that first date. My only goal in this crash course is to offer you some things to consider as you approach your next first date, during and after.

First of all, what people consider a successful first date may differ greatly. Sometimes we only have one date with someone. Sometimes it leads to a second, third, and so on. How do we make your first dates more effective for you and the other person?

I am not a fan of rules, so it would be weird for me to say “do this” or “do that.” However, I will offer some suggestions and advice to help your first dates maintain some fun and freshness. Wouldn’t you like to be someone who leaves the other person thinking “who was that?!?” whether you see them again or not?

6 Tips to Make Your First Dates Consistently Awesome

  • Be on time.

    There is nothing sexy about someone who is late. A first date is already full of anticipation whether you just met, have been emailing for awhile, or it’s a blind date. It is common courtesy to be punctual for a first date, much less all meetings. If you have to be late, fire off a quick text (not while driving!) that you will be late. Start things off on the right foot.

  • Have some engaging questions prepped.

    I often see people get burned because they didn’t ask the right questions. They’re left in the dark wondering, “What happened?” “Was it something I said or did?” I don’t mean grilling someone relentlessly, but if you’re going to spend your hard-earned time, money, and energy, don’t you want to be sure you ask some key questions? These questions can help you decide if you even want to see them again. Some areas you can touch on are communication, travel, children, spirituality, health and fitness, or hobbies. I don’t recommend dating and going out until you’re outfitted with a few key things you are curious about. 

  • Be vulnerable.

I used to have it all together. I would act like my life is perfect, that I was so great. Guess what? I would often hear from the men I went out with, “You’re really great on paper. You have everything I am looking for but…” Oh, that ‘but’ stung over and over again. The reason? I wasn’t able to share things in my life that I was looking to improve, or mistakes I’d made. You don’t want to drop a ton of heavy baggage on someone, but sharing from your heart provides a quicker connection. Otherwise, the conversation remains superficial and boring, and you may miss that possible connection.

  • Screw all the rules.

You’ve heard rules like, “Don’t talk about religion and politics,” right? I don’t believe this whatsoever. I dated a guy who brought up politics while we were driving to the restaurant. I was so happy he did because I realized he was big into politics, and I am not. He should meet someone who enjoys that conversation. It’s not high on my list. I would rather know that on the first date than the sixth. Get my drift?

  • Discuss who is treating.

I love the word “treating.” The moment the check comes to the table is often an uncomfortable time to talk about who is paying for the meal or activity—it can cause unnecessary awkwardness, even ill feelings. My suggestion: If you asked the person out and you want to treat them, let the person know. This streamlines the decision-making process, making the arrival of the check lighter and easier. Let’s face it, people do get weird about money. Be upfront, be light.

  • Be honest about your intentions at the end of a date.

    This is a biggie. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this at the end of a date or from my clients. You have a nice dinner and the two of you are walking to the car. One person says, “I had a good time, I want to see you again.” The other replies, “Me too.” Then… silence, crickets, nothing. Has this happened to you? Have you been caught in a silent stand off wondering who is going to make the move to set date number two? If you want to nip this behavior in the bud, be sure you’re filling that silence with a direct, gentle question: Shall we see each other again and continue getting to know each other?

I hope I’ve given you a few things to consider when setting up your next first date. I want you to have the best opportunity to be present on the date with this wonderful person in front of you, whether you decided to go out again or not.

About the Author:

Suzanne Muller-Heinz Suzanne Muller-Heinz

Suzanne Muller-Heinz is a global Dating & Love Life Coach with a special talent for helping smart singles figure out the formula to having a tender, thoughtful and healthy relationship. She is the author of Loveable: 21 Practices For Being In A Loving & Fulfilling Relationship and one of the co-authors of the international bestselling book, Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life. If you are a successful professional in every area of life except dating and love, and you hunger for a healthy love life, connect with her at Happy Living Forever.

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