Dating & Dining: Are The Old Rules Outdated?

Photo: Toa Heftiba via Unsplash 
Dating Rules: How To Navigate A Dinner Date

While dating and dining, learn the rules you should break... and the ones you need to follow.

When it comes to dating, dining is a staple. It's an effective way to learn more about your date, see how compatible you are, and build a connection. And if there are a lot of dating rules, you'd better believe the world of dating and dining is even more complicated.

My first memorable experience of dating and dining was in my early 20s. I went out on a couple of dates with a cute guy from my gym. He had a hamburger on our first date, and on our second date, he ordered a meal that required using utensils. It was a turning point for me when I saw how he held and used his fork and knife. The way he ate brought visions of a guy in prison protecting his meal by keeping it close in case it was taken away from him. I just couldn't picture myself going out with him again. The reality is we didn't have much in common, much to talk about, and it was hard for me to get past his table manners. That got me thinking about some non-negotiables in the landscape of food and dates...

Dating And Dining Rules To Ditch 
If you're not getting asked out after having a having a meal with your date, it's possible that one or more of these old dating and dining rules are sabotaging your dating life. Ditch these tired tips and you may find yourself going out on many more second dates. 

Never taking your date to breakfast, lunch, or dinner on a first date. Many people steer away from dinner as a first date because if things aren't going well, it's not as easy to quickly leave as a coffee date. But if you'd like to know someone better, breakfast, lunch or dinner are great first dates. They give you more time to learn about each other.  

Having liquid dates. Dates centered around alcohol and happy hours cloud your vision of who the person really is, creating a false sense of intimacy with the likelihood of having sex early on. Don't drink to get buzzed or for liquid courage. Stay sober by enjoying one (or two, max) drink with food. 

Ordering for your date. While ordering for your date can be a kind gesture, it can also be perceived as controlling. If you're a guy, instead of ordering for your date, let her order first.  If you'd still like to order for her, ask if she's okay with that instead of just taking the initiative. The thoughtfulness will be appreciated. 

Not eating much. Being nervous on a date can cause you to push food around your plate instead of eating it. If you're hungry but not eating, you may not come across as your best self. Eat the amount you'd normally eat, as if you're having a meal with a good friend.      

Being self conscious about what you order. If you tend to order a salad or something light because you don't want to be seen as having a large appetite, stop doing this! The only time to order a salad on a date is if you genuinely like salads. Order what you like and you'll have a more enjoyable dating and dining experience. 

Taking advantage of your date's generosity. Don't order the most expensive food or drink on the menu. If you don't normally order expensive meals and pay for them yourself, don't do this on a date — you'll come across as a gold digger.

Expecting the guy to pay for the meal. When the check comes, don't assume and expect the guy to pay. At the same time, don't be paying for most or all of your meals. You can offer by saying something like, "Can I contribute to the check?" and see how he responds. If he says "Yes" more often than "No", and this bothers you, you may not want to see him again. A gentleman is happy to pay, appreciative of your offer, and on occasion, accepts your offer to pay.  Keep reading for dating & dining rules to follow...

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

More dating rules from YourTango: