The Dude Society

An Online Magazine for Guys.

First Date Manners: What You Should Know

This stuff should be basic knowledge for all men, yet I see these rules being broken by guys, left and right.

When you’re on a first date, or any date for that matter, it’s important to make the right impression when it comes to your behavior. So, let’s go over some basics.

Pretend your cell phone doesn’t exist

With exception of coordinating your meeting time/place with the person you are going on the date with, you should pretend your cell phone doesn’t even exist.

MeetingĀ  your date

If you are seeing this person for the first time, from an online dating site for example, a hand-shake is your best bet. You get to touch the person without being creepy or presumptuous. If you met previously, a simple good-to-see-you-again hug may be fine.

Beginning your date

If you are entering a restaurant or bar, you should always let the woman lead (after you open the door, of course!). The general rule is to let the woman walk in front, unless it’s crowded, in which case you should lead her through the crowd. Leading a woman through a crowd is also a good opportunity to hold her hand and a simple way to break the physical contact barrier.

If you are being seated at a table, be it at a restaurant or lounge, there are two important rules. One, let the woman sit first, and if it applies in the situation, pull out her chair for her. Two, the woman should have the better seat. The “better” seat at a restaurant is typically the one facing outward, so she gets to see everything.


Lucky for us guys, most women love talking about themselves. On a date the only impediment might be if they are nervous, so it’s your job to ask some questions and open them up. You’ve heard this before, but it’s correct, so I will say it again… religion and politics are topics to avoid. I’ve heard some pick-up artist types say that family should also be avoided as a topic, but I pretty strongly disagree. Should you tell the creepy story about your a-hole uncle? Probably not. However, light conversation about siblings or parents is fair game to me. It is a pretty good way to discover things you may have in common. The same applies to contextual references to your friends.

Physical Contact

This isn’t the Jersey Shore, so on a first date you should keep physical contact to a minimum. Depending on how are you sitting or standing during your date, and how the conversation is going, you could briefly touch your date’s arm, shoulder or mid-to-upper back. There is a funny scene in the movie “Hitch” where Will Smith illustrates the touch-the-back move. Too high and you’re her friend, too low and you’re trying to grab some ass.

If you’ve been in a bar for a couple hours and are ready to leave, taking your date by the hand and leading them out can be a simple (yet masculine) way to show you want to touch them without seeming creepy.

End of the date

This tends to be the part of the date that makes most people nervous. I’d say there are a few simple guidelines. If you legitimately enjoyed yourself, tell her you had a good time and you’d like to take her out again [insert day here]. This serves two very important purposes. First, it shows her you take control, and second, if she’s not into it, her reaction should give you a fairly solid sense of that. If you get a good reaction, feel free to give her a simple kiss. Nothing overbearing, just something that will leave her looking forward to your next date. If you don’t get a good reaction, you can politely say it was nice to meet her, and move on, without having to wonder if you’ll ever see her again.

About the author

Jamie is the Founder of The Dude Society and a New York City based web designer & developer. He really likes telling people how to think, act, and dress.

All articles by Jamie »

9 responses to “First Date Manners: What You Should Know”

  1. @dvrcdntbrkn says:

    Nice tips.
    They correspond well with the one secret tip I give on my blog.

  2. Rosalinda says:

    Fabulous tips, Jamie. You covered the basics. I like that you are promoting that a guy be a gentleman.

  3. Laura says:

    Can every man read these please? SO BASIC and simple, yet too many guys are clueless. Walking in front of me for example… has happened way too many times… in non-crowded places. Not okay. Thanks, J

  4. Karen says:

    Considering I just went on two first dates, one being the worst ever actually asking "Are you one of those girls that needs her door opened?", and the other being amazing with flowers… I really wish the former knew even a hint of what to do right.

  5. @wordimpressions says:

    It's true that different rules can apply to a first face to face meeting depending on how you've met. Online dating can give people a (false) sense of familiarity, so depending on how long you've communicated online, there may be hugs at a first meeting.

  6. Kessa says:

    I just met a guy for the 1st time today and he tried to kiss and hug me as soon as I got out of the my car and when I told him I don't kiss he was offended and then at the end of our date when he hugged me he kissed my shoulder! I was creeped out by this and have no intention of getting physical with anyone I just met! I just got out of a 20 year relationship with my ex and I am so not ready to hop into bed with some complete stranger! I have some respect for myself! I think people have forgotten that courtship and friendship are what makes relationships last, not just sex!

  7. Linda Dudra says:


    I have a couple of question for you? On a first date. The guy is meeting me in a bar. He is not there? I leave and wonder if it was a scam? Did he plan to rob me while I was away from home? Who knows. He was retired law enforcement. When I arrive back home to see if everything is ok. He calls and asks me if that was me, describing how I looked. He told me he was waiting in his car. First of all we had a date planned 4 times. He cancelled each time, after hours of telephone calls. Wow…What a WIRDO, I am thinking! I told him, I hate that when a guys does that. I said, that is really creepy. I told him I was afraid he was planning to rob me. After all he would have the resourses to totally check me out and know where I live prior to the meeting. He wanted me to come back. I was very upset with him, after all he had cancelled the date earlier that day. Then, sprang it on me, that he was on the 91fwy and wanted me to meet him. I had to pry that out of him as well. Wow…again. “Disfuntual” & “Creepy” are the words that come to mind.

    Thenm after agreeing that I would come back. He is sitting down at the very end of the bar, with no seat next to him…Another RED LIGHT. I went up to him and sat down at the first seat down the row from him. Now we are a distance from each other. I had to ask him if he was going to come sit next to me? Finally after asking him to join me, he finally does. Then, he says you did not even discribe yourself. I said, I told you online that I had long hair now. I am sure he forgot. I wore glasses, so I could identify him. etc. And, I said, how was I to recognize him, from his one and only photo on his profile from eHarmony. He had sun glasses on, a baseball cap, and all I could see was him sitting in a motor boat, you get to see his forarms, hands the end of his nose and his mouth and chin. That is it. Wow…again. And, he has room to complain. I said, you did not discribe yourself, and I asked you to post other photos so I could see what I was getting. He did not reply to that?

    Then, to top it off he did the one other thing I can not stand: That is my #1 complaint about men. It is called, TALK TO THE EAR. AS THIS IS ALL YOU WILL SEE WHEN WE TALK. I feel that this man is very disfuntional in his behavior. What is your take on this as well. I asked him to face me and talk to me. Look me in the eyes when we talk. He could not do that. I think they are so into themself that they do not know how to come out and be in the moment and share with a person. This screams of a man that could not ever be in a real relationship. He has some serious relationship flaws.

    Please be so kind as to get back to me with your take on a man that acts like this on a first date. And, I know that he would never face you when we talk, it would always be talk to the ear. How unfair. And, those guys that sit in their cars ofthen will bail if the do not like the look of you. I would never be so rude. I have had many dates that he was not even close what I was looking for in a date. But, I would not be rude. I would go through with the date, be kind and considerate and thank them for the date. Write later and say thanks again and let them know I did not feel a connection and wish them good luck in the search for Love.

    Looking forward to your reading your take on these bad habits in relationships. And, first dates.

    Thanks very much.


    Linda Dudra

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