So you’ve found the guy (or girl). You’ve planned out the first date. You’ve got your outfit ready to go and now you’re ready for the confusing part: First Date Etiquette. I asked my readers what part of first dates confuse them the most and was met with a few really good questions. As someone who has gone on a  significant number of first dates, I feel like I am qualified enough to take a stab at answering your most pressing dating questions.

First Date Etiquette

Who pays?

The age old question of “who pays.” I feel like no matter how I answer this question there will be some backlash. If I say that the female should pay then I am a Feminist, but if I say that the guy should pay than I am not enough of a Feminist and also a potential gold digger. A lot of people will say that whoever has asked the person out should pay. Basically, there are many schools of thought on this one.

My personal opinion that the man should pay for all first dates. I think this is proper etiquette and I think that most people think this way. With that being said, here are a few things to keep in mind for females: 1. Be mindful that the man is paying and don’t use that as an excuse to order the entire menu. 2. Make sure to use the manners your mama taught you and thank him for paying. 3. Offer to pay for the next date (if you see a second date in your future).

If you’re on the fence about this one, when the bill comes around just offer to contribute. Most guys will decline your gesture, but at least you can feel like you made a effort to ask if he wanted help paying the bill.


How soon do you contact a date afterwards?

When I was dating, if I really had a great time I would text the guy on the way home just to say a simple thanks for the date and that I had a nice time. This way I am testing the waters to see how he really feels (in case he was just being polite in person), but I am not coming on too strong. If he texts you back, then it’s a good sign he is into you as well.

If you’re not up for being so forward, wait 24 hours and see if he texts or calls you. If he hasn’t and you want to hear from him, start with casual conversation. For example, if you talked about a mutual love for John Hughes films on your date, a text like “Just watching Breakfast Club. Made me think of our conversation about John Hughes movies the other night!” is a good way to break the ice. The important thing here is to start off by generally conversing and let it lead into setting up a second date.

What are some topics to avoid on a first date?

Your future and by your future, I mean your future together. I once when on a date with a guy who was just finishing medical school. He was telling me about how he was planning on opening his own clinic. He then proceeded to tell me that when I helped him get the clinic up and running I could work there part time, while raising our children. Seriously, he said this. I panicked and never spoke to him again after that.

Another, perhaps obvious, topic to avoid is exes. No one needs to hear the intimate details of how your once fantastic relationship went sour and no one needs to hear how “over them” you are. If you are talking about your ex on a first date, maybe you need to ask yourself if you are ready to date again.

Personally, I feel all other topics are open for discussion. Political affiliations, religion, bank accounts, bring it on! You want to know all these details because this person may become your significant other. If you know that you can’t date a Conservative, for example, and your date is a die hard Harper lover, then you need to cut it off before either of you get hurt.

Coffee Shop

What are some good and bad places for a first date?

Catherine and I have covered some great first date ideas. Our general rule of thumb is that a first date is a fact finding mission. This is your first introduction to your potential partner and you want to learn more about them and find out if you click. This means that the first date needs to be in a setting that promotes conversation, not impedes it. Below are some posts to give you some more ideas for planning a first date:

First Dates in Ottawa

First Dates in Toronto

Foolproof First Date Ideas

Should you kiss on a first date?

No. I personally believe that no matter how much chemistry there is and no matter how well the date went, there is no reason to kiss. (Disclaimer: This is not to say I haven’t kissed a guy on a first date, but I can say I regretted it in all instances).

Three quick reasons not to kiss on the first date: 1. You leave something to be desired. 2. It allows you to focus completely on connecting mentally and just getting to know each other 3. It may give off the wrong impression.


Alcohol consumption. How much is too much on a first date?

This question is being asked to the girl who got drunk on a first date and ended up “drunk shopping” at Forever 21. I think ideally one to two drinks are the maximum for a first date. I think it’s perfectly fine to have something to calm your nerves, but you don’t want to have to worry about saying too much, coming off as a drunk or slurring your words It’s easy to get parched on a first date from talking so much and perhaps sweating a little bit (thanks to your nerves). If you find yourself getting really thirsty, only sip your alcoholic drink and then ask the waiter to bring you a glass of water.

 As always, Adventures in Dating is a series where we welcome discussion. Do you agree with my answers? What’s your opinion? Weigh in down below in the comments.

If you enjoyed this post and want to see more like this, leave some of your dating questions below for me to answer in a future post.

Written by Tracey