Whether it’s a first date or a weekly date with your boo, dating etiquette is something that should be taken seriously. I don’t know about you, but it’s a whole production for me and I love every minute of it.

In my experience with dating, I’ve learned a few do’s, don’ts and techniques of dating etiquette that every girl should know. 

It also depends on the type of girl you are and what your expectations are.

If you’re dating casually and don’t really care about what comes of it, then these guidelines don’t really apply.

However, if you’re looking for a relationship or looking to take things to the next level, be very intentional about how you show up.

Below I’m going to share dating etiquette guidelines as well as provide you with the ultimate checklist to prepare for date night.

Dating etiquette

dating etiquette

Be on time.

Being late is kinda played out. A cute 7-10 minutes to give your date the chance to see your grand entrance is cool but anything more than that is just disrespectful.

It shows that you lack proper planning skills and have little regard for others’ time.

Sure, things come up, especially if you have children or elderly parents; however, communicate to your date well in advance of the date.

Show consideration.

There are many ways to be considerate including my point above. Other ways are to show interest in your date’s dreams, thoughts, and ambitions.

Another way to show consideration is to be modest with what you order; don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu and omg please don’t order something to-go. Super tacky and inconsiderate. 


Be careful to not overtalk your date or ramble. Answer questions directly and allow the dialogue to flow equally. 

Avoid topics on sex, religion, and politics.

If you can help it, try not to discuss these topics. Discussing either of these could easily result in a disagreement that creates a shift in the vibe.

Even if you agree on these topics, it still creates an atmosphere of discomfort due to the nature of these subjects. 

Do not offer to pay (first date only)

Cringe. We know you got it sis, but let him pay. Or her, if your date is a staddy. This only applies to the first date; feel free to offer to pay on subsequent dates provided that you’ve built a solid connection and want to treat your date.

Don’t do this often in the beginning, but if you feel moved to take the check, do your thing.  

The date night checklist

date night checklist

Your hair should be neat.

This doesn’t mean you need to make an appointment at the salon and spend a bag for a fresh hairdo, it just means that your hair should look neat.

A nice slick back ponytail that showcases your facial features.

A top knot or a pushed back afro are also good ideas. Any style that doesn’t draw attention away from your beautiful face. 

Manicured nails & toes.

Make sure your nails and toes are manicured and lotioned. You want to look like you take care of yourself.

Unpolished and ashy nails and toes might suggest that you don’t put that much effort into your appearance. 

Classy attire.

classy attire black woman

Classy is the name of the game. Don’t wear anything too revealing or short that might suggest you’re ready for a fun night inside for a little razzle dazzle.

If that is your goal, it still shouldn’t be so obvious, leave a little to the imagination. Keep it modest and overall classy. Mid-thigh length dresses and skirts are always good.

Avoid shorts, jeans, and tight midriff blouses. If you want to wear a midriff, make sure it’s loose fitting and only shows a tiny peek of skin. 

Your makeup shouldn’t be overdone.

Minimal makeup is good. Grab your favorite foundation, concealer, lipstick and blush and you’re good. Leave the dramatic makeup for a night out with the girls.

Don’t get it twisted though, you still want to look like a doll, just not like a completely different person.

If you’re out with your established partner, it might be okay to go a little extra just to spice things up a bit, but definitely not for a new person that you want to get to know. 

Wear your best perfume.

I remember being out one evening and I received this compliment, “You smell like heaven”. Listen, that’s one of the most satisfying compliments ever!!

How you smell can leave a lasting impression on someone either positively or negatively. So make sure that you’re paying close attention to hygiene and the way you smell. 

Bring a pad and/or panty liner (just in case).

We don’t need any slip up, come prepared just in case your body cycle decides to cycle without warning. We’ve all been there… just make sure you keep your feminine products with you at all times. 

Bring a positive attitude.

Leave the baggage and negative vibes at home, it’s such a drag and no one wants to hear it. Sure, it’s okay to discuss something that may be bothering you to an established partner on a date, but don’t drag it.

Allow your partner to inquire instead of offering the information. Be pleasant and keep the convo inspiring, uplifting and intellectual.

Discuss a book you just read, how your work project earned recognition by leadership or general shared interest. 

Set boundaries for yourself before hand.

Before you step out, figure out what you want to happen and what you don’t want to happen. Set some intentions and boundaries for the date to optimize your experience. 

Have an escape plan.

This is specifically for a first date. Have you ever had an experience where the thing you wanted the most was to get TF out of the situation and didn’t know how?

You don’t want to be rude but you’re also dying a really slow death by entertaining this person you’re just not vibing with.

This is why you need to plan ahead. Maybe that’s the project manager in me but you have to prepare ahead of time for this potential risk.

The approach of having a friend call and bail you out is a bit tacky but I get it.

The approach I would take is to have an escape script or set it up before you even get to the date. This is how it works:

When you’re asked on the date, accept the date and be sure to let the person know that you have other plans at a specific time, preferably around 45 minutes after the start of the date. This way, there are no surprises, hurt feelings or awkwardness, it was already established beforehand.


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