The Seven Unwritten Rules of Dating

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By Kathryn Thompson

Whether you meet someone in the pub or on a site such as My Single Friend, there are still a fair few rules that everyone sticks to. Welcome to the unwritten rules of dating.

Who picks up who?
This completely depends on where you are going and who did the asking. Don’t assume that the man is going to do the picking up, this isn’t the 1950s.

Most of the time, whoever made the first move and chose where the date would take place would do the picking up. However, it’s not unusual for two people in this day and age to make their own way to a date.

Never order messy food
Spaghetti is definitely off the menu, as are ribs and burgers. Ordering messy food is just embarrassing for you and your date. The last thing you want to do is be talking to someone you really like while you’ve got food or sauce all around your face.

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Who pays for the meal?
The trick here is to always to offer to go Dutch – which means splitting the bill. However, if someone offers to pay for your food, then it’s polite to accept rather than argue the issue.

Don’t compare you date to your ex
Even if you spent a long time in a relationship or are having problems with your ex, don’t talk about them on your date. Regardless of whether you’ve been seeing someone for a while, it’s never appropriate to compare your date to your ex.

No photo, no chance
Let’s face it: we are often attracted to someone’s online profile because of their pictures. If you don’t have a photo on your profile it simply says that you are too ugly to add one. Even if that isn’t the case, it’s what everyone will think. The same goes for just having one photo. Do you only have one because it’s the only flattering angle you could get?

Photo: Howard Galicia

Photo: Howard Galicia

It’s okay to speak to more than one person at a time
Everyone does it. It’s okay to go on a dating site and speak to more than one person as long as you stop once things start to get serious. It might take a few dates and a few email conversations before you find someone you really like.

Flowers, chocolates and gifts
Perhaps don’t take a gift along on a first date – unless you’ve been speaking to someone for a while and know they’d appreciate a little token of your affection – but some people may appreciate little gifts later on in the relationship.

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Barb Elgin says:

Fantastic article, Kathryn. I especially liked your ‘lite’ and ‘fun’ approach, including making sure you have photos online that express you at your best. And, who pays? Great advice.