Dating Etiquette Rules

The rules of dating courtesy can be confusing.The rules of dating courtesy can be confusing.

Dating can be nerve wracking. Everyone wants to make a good impression, but people are unsure of how best to do so. Previously dating etiquette was straightforward. Today, people often wonder how to ask someone out, who is supposed to pay, whether the man should open the door for his date. The good news is that dating etiquette today is much more relaxed than in the past.


It is important to be specific when you ask for a date. According to Emily Post, you should have a plan in mind before you call your potential date. Think of what you want to do, where you want to go and when you want to go. In the past, the male was expected to do the inviting. Now, it is acceptable for either men or women to initiate a date.

Holding the Door

Regardless of gender, whoever gets to the door first should hold it open for the other person, according to Emily Post.


As with asking for a date, it used to be expected that the guy would pay. Now whoever initiated the date is expected to pay.

Assisting with Coat

According to Emily Post, if your date is having trouble putting on his coat, it is acceptable to help him--just as it is acceptable for a man to help a woman with her coat if she is having trouble putting it on.

Shaking Hands

If this is a blind date or the first time you are meeting this person, you should shake hands. In the past the man had to wait for the woman to extend her hand. Today, it doesn't matter who puts their hand out first.

Walking Next to the Street

In the past, it was customary for the man to walk on the outside. This was because carriages splashed mud and would have ruined the woman's dress, according to Emily Post. Now it does not matter who walks closest to the street.

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About the Author

Mary Malahy began writing professionally in 2007. As a columnist and copy editor covering news in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wis., she has written for "Coulee Region Women" and the "La Crosse Tribune." Malahy holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

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