Dating Advice

First Date Dos & Don’ts | FAQS

So after days, weeks or even months of messaging back and forth the big day has arrived to meet your date.    

In a previous post we discussed how an average first date works out at:

  • £29 per person is spent 
  • 60 minutes on average spent on the date

So if the date doesn’t go well it becomes wasted money and time, but on the brightside, one step closer to finding the one.  Old fashioned etiquette will tell you to look presentable, be polite and just be yourself.  However, you know and I know there’s a lot more to that in today’s dating realm. 

Here’s an up to date guide, on some popular questions to first date etiquettes. 

What do I Wear for the First Date?

I remember my old English teacher said  “failure to prepare is preparing to fail”.  Very much so if we use this as the base and start of a date.  

Research suggests1 that ladies take an average of 1 hour to prepare for a date, whilst the average guy takes less than 30 minutes.

Do:  Make a concerted effort to look presentable.  Think about the location of the date and try to compliment the surroundings.  If you’re going to a:

  • Coffee bar – Sunday casual
  • Bar – smart casual
  • Nice Restaurant – smart casual
  • Casual Restaurant – smart or Sunday casual

Don’t:  Overly dress to impress, it’s nice to make the effort, but a little too much sometimes can have the opposite impact and make you just feel awkward and uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to wearing shirts and trousers.

Should You Hug on a First Date?

As difficult as it is, try to gauge the person on first meet, failing that more often than not they will initiate the hug if they feel it’s appropriate.  Just don’t be that guy in the post from Reddit:

Do:  Let it happen naturally.  If no hug happens at the start or end of the date, don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world.  If there is another date, then potentially it might be mutually comfortable.  

Don’t:  Force a hug, nothing feels worse than forcing a hug on somebody.  Hugs are forms of reciprocal affection not something that should or can be forced.

Who Should Pay on the First Date?

Old age question, which probably deserves a blog post itself.  Probably should be included in the old fashioned etiquette of men should always pay.   

Research and etiquette2 experts will always say that men should pay, when looking at a study based on 300,000 men and women when asked “Who Should Pay on the First Date”:

  • Men fed back with:
    • 62.63% believed men should pay
    • 28.28% didn’t mind
    • 7.07% believed to split the bill
    • 2.02% believed women should pay
  • Women fed back with:
    • 46% believed men should pay
    • 31% didn’t mind
    • 18% believed to split the bill
    • 5% believed women should pay

Do:   Just offer to pay (use your noggin!), it will cut out any awkwardness.  If the person offers to “Go Dutch” or pay your own, just accept it, there is no need to show any male bravado.  If there is a second date, you can figure it out the next time, plus if they’re the one, it really doesn’t matter.
Don’t:   Cause a scene when paying for the bill.  Just deal with it and move on, obviously double check the prices and that the bill is correct, but then swiftly move on. 

Should You Kiss on a First Date?

Not a simple yes or no.  Different surveys or research will say differently, according to:

  • Elite Singles3 survey  “Almost 75% of women do not want to be kissed the first night, while 63% of men want to end their date with a kiss”
  • Cosmopolitan blog post4 about “Is Kissing on the First Date a Good or Bad Sign” has a widget survey which asked people’s kissing philosophy. At time of writing:
    • 77% said yes to a first date kiss if it felt right 
    • 23% said it’s better to wait

At both ends of the spectrum, nothing really conclusive to say yes or no.  

Do:   If a moment presents itself and you feel a chemistry, then go for it.  There are lots of factors that may make it feel right, this will only happen with experience and having that gut instinct.  

Don’t:  Expect it to lead anywhere.  The truth is that a kiss to some people doesn’t really mean that much – and that’s it.  According to research conducted by evolutionary psychologists at the State University of New York in Albany5,  they found that 59% of men and 66% of women stopped pursuing a relationship because of a bad kiss.

How Long to Follow Up After a First Date?

According to an answer box featured in Google featuring GQ Magazine in Dec 2020, the magical number is 3 days.

Some other sources say differently: 

  • Cosmopolitan6 asked it’s readers “Do you think it’s okay to text someone immediately after a date?”, with their readership answering back:
    • 79% Yes
    • 21% No 
  • Best Life Online7 suggests “you should text someone within 24 hours after a first date”
  • Hello Giggles8 commented “It’s good to wait a few hours after the date has finished to give yourself and your date time to contemplate how it went”

In this day and age with the ease of access of technology, messaging someone from 1 hour to 3 days later after the date is perfectly acceptable.    

Do:  Message your date to make sure they got home safely and they’re ok.

Don’t:  Purposefully wait and play it cool, if you truly like the person, why play it cool and not show your emotions.

Final thoughts on this as a message of inspiration from one of my favourite TV sitcoms “How I Met Your Mother”

Ted Moseby: “Hey! I gotta new rule. It’s kinda crazy, but I call it, “You like her, you call her.”  

Don’t play games, if you like the person just message when you feel it’s right.

First date etiquettes can be a minefield, nobody has ever said that first dates are easy.  The only thing that makes it easier is the more you go on them, the easier it will get.

I hope you enjoyed the post, if there are any first date questions you would like my thoughts and opinions on, please reach out!


About Author

Hi there, my name's Paco. My hobbies include (besides spending time with Dom), cooking, I enjoy experimenting with foods in the kitchen, travelling and experiencing different cultures around the world.I am a big fan of life hacks, and generally anything that makes people go "wow" or "why did I never think of that".