Stronger Marriage

Rules of Etiquette

Rules of Etiquette   

Shelly Locke, Victor W. Harris, M.S.
  1. Try to ask for a date early enough for the other person to be prepared.
    • Everyone wants to make a good impression and preparation time allows each one to be at their best.
    • Once you make a date, don't break it unless absolutely necessary.
  2. Ask for a date in a way that lets the other person know you value their company.
    • Avoid the classic mistake line, "I'm going to the ____________ would you like to go?"
    • No one wants to feel like they are merely "tagging along."
  3. Think of activities the other person would like to do.
    • Taking someone with you just for company on your favorite activity may not make for a very good time for your date.
    • Take time to find out their interests and provide a good experience.
  4. Be ready and on time to pick up a date, or to be picked up by a date.
    • Punctuality shows respect for others.
    • If the time has to change, be courteous and call your date to let them know why you will be late and what time you'll arrive.
  5. Greet your date's parents with the dignity they deserve.
    • Look parents and family members in the eyes and speak to them with respect, telling them exactly what you have planned and when you'll be back.
    • The parents of your date deserve your highest regard. After all, they've raised this person you want to go out with and are trusting their son or daughter to your care.
    • Get your date home on time.
  6. Use your best manners when you are on a date.
    • Public conduct will make or break your reputation and determine whether or not your date will ever go out with you again.

Good manners are the barometer of self-respect. When using good manners, everyone can be comfortable and no one needs to be embarrassed. Some little things to remember in public are:

  1. Ladies First -
    • That means first to be introduced, first through the door, first behind the host or hostess at     a restaurant, first when being seated at the table, first to order when the waiter comes, and first to be taken home when dating in groups.
  2. Gentlemen First -
    • This means first down the isle at a theater if there are no ushers, first down any darkened hall, path, or alley, first up ladders or a steep staircase, and first to walk on the outside of your date when walking down the street.
  3. Always Be A Gentleman -
    • Be considerate of your date's comfort and enjoyment. Put her first, being careful of the places you take her. Remember, you are responsible for her well-being.
  4. Always Be A Lady -
    • Be gracious and appreciative of your date's plans and efforts in your behalf. Bring out the best in your date. When ordering in a restaurant, it is polite to order something that is about the same price, or less than what he's ordering. Remember, he works hard for his money. Never complain, be a good sport.


OK, now you're out on the date, you're both on your best behavior, and you arrive at a restaurant and you've been seated. Some more basics for restaurant etiquette might come in handy here.

  1. No elbows on the table - this is dinner, not an arm wrestling match!
  2. Laying your menu on the edge of the table tells the waiter you're ready to order and you will be served more quickly.
  3. Put your napkin in your lap, these are not table decorations, they'll protect your clothes from embarrassing spills.
  4. Use the first utensil on the outside of your silverware for the first food you are served.
    • Example: Soup first, use the large soup spoon on the outside of your  lace setting, skim the surface of your soup away from you, then drink the soup from the side of your soup spoon.
    • Salad first, use the first fork on the left, then work your way in with your silverware toward your plate for each course.
    • Be careful of cherry tomatoes, they could put your date's eye out!
  5. Be gracious and appreciative to your waiter or waitress. Serving the public can be trying.
  6. No "SEE-FOOD!" Avoid talking while chewing, so no one "sees your food!" Try not to ask questions while your date's mouth is full.
  7. If food is improperly cooked, be polite in returning it. Try to order food you know you like, so there are no wasted surprises.
  8. Try not to make your date laugh too much during the meal. This prevents choking as well as their soup coming out of their nose! Having the Heimlich Maneuver performed on a date is not something one wants to go through.

Respecting those around you shows respect for yourself and assures everyone is having a great time in your company. Good Luck and Good Etiquette!


Adapted from Shelly Locke, Teens and 20's Dating Tips & Traps.

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