6 Modern Etiquette Tips for the First Date

You’ve met someone that you would like to go on a first date with. Maybe you’ve been communicating for a while on this website, maybe you’ve talked on the phone and you’d like to meet for a cup of coffee. Now it’s time to meet that person in person to see if there is a spark.

Maybe you’ve met someone in person and you want to get to know them a little better.

You may be talking with someone who lives out of state and you will finally be in the same city. You may have a few dates back-to-back over a weekend to plan for.

Maybe Someone set up the two of you and you will meet up for a first date.

Whatever the reason, you have a first date to plan for.

How should you conduct yourself? What should you do? What’s the best way to make a good first impression? Here are our six favorite etiquette tips for that first date.

1. The pre-date prayer

Before the first date begins, pray for your date and pray for yourself. Pray that your time together will be fun and joyful and help you to see if this might be someone you’d like to get to know a little better.

I recently talked to one couple at a wedding who met on a Catholic dating website. The husband had gone in front of Our Lord at Adoration and prayed that God send him a spouse. He then turned on EWTN and an ad for a catholic dating website was on. He signed onto the website and only contacted one woman. His wife said she knew he was ‘the one’ on the second date. He said he knew God was up to something very early in their relationship.

Pray to your guardian angel and to your date’s guardian angel. Pray to Saint Raphael, patron saint of happy meetings. We should be growing in the virtue of love and spreading love throughout the world with our intercessory prayer.

Just as Raphael accompanied Sarah and Tobias, he will accompany you on your date if you ask him. Our guardian angel and the other angels will accompany us as well, if we invite them.

O Raphael, lead us towards those we are waiting for, those who are waiting for us! Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings, lead us by the hand towards those we are looking for! May all our movements, all their movements, be guided by your Light and transfigured by your Joy.

Angel Guide of Tobias, lay the request we now address to you at the feet of Him on whose unveiled Face you are privileged to gaze. Lonely and tired, crushed by the separations and sorrows of earth, we feel the need of calling to you and of pleading for the protection of your wings, so that we may not be as strangers in the Province of Joy, all ignorant of the concerns of our country.

Remember the weak, you who are strong, you whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene, and bright with the resplendent glory of God. Amen.

2. Don’t be on your iPhone

Put away your iPhone and practice listening to the other person. Better yet, in the long term, consider getting rid of your iPhone and getting an old-school flip phone. Yes, I said it. A flip phone. With no data but with texting possibilities. Being online all the time and being available all the time is stressful anyways.

We Catholic singles could do with less stress in our lives.

Don’t answer your iPhone during the date. If it is an emergency, and you need to take the call, gracefully excuse yourself from the table and take the call in a different area. Unless it is your boss and your job depends on it (Or it’s God and He is giving you some direction!) you do not need to take that call. Focus on that other human being in front of you. Get to know that person that is created in the image and likeness of God.

3. Practice carefree timelessness

What is carefree timelessness? It’s the art of being in the present moment, slowing down, being present to that other person.

Take off your watch. Enjoy meeting a new person who is a fascinating and complex person, a unique world to God, just as you are a unique world to God. Discover their unique journey. Listen to them.

Read more: 99 Questions to Ask on a First Date

If the date is going well, don’t end it early.

Leave your work at home! Don’t pull out your laptop and go online when you should be listening to that other human being.

4. Dress up

We all need to learn the art of living, as Pope Benedict often says. This includes learning the discipline of dressing up.

Guys, don’t wear gym shoes. Instead, wear something nice and splash on some cologne. Get your hair cut before the date. A stop in at the barber or salon can help relax you before a first date, too.

Ladies, dress up for the date, too! Thoughtfully select your outfit, choosing something beautiful and modest. Put on some of your favorite perfume.

But most importantly, remember that you’re a child of God!

5. Men, pay for the first date

The first date doesn’t have to be expensive. Use your wonderful creativity!

It can be something as simple as a cup of coffee, or a walk in the park or forest.

Head to your local orchard for some apple picking. Take your date the the lake for some kayaking or hiking.

You can enjoy a local festival, or a free day at the art museum or concert. What is a better first date as a Catholic couple than to visit a beautiful Catholic Church followed by a cup of tea at an outdoor cafe? Don’t be afraid to suggest attending the Holy Mass together.

Guys, imitate Jesus Christ on your first date. See Our Lady in your date. Open doors for her, pull out chairs for her, and carry things for her.

6. Notice the other’s good qualities and don’t criticize

Spend time noticing the good qualities in your date. But most importantly, don’t openly criticize their personality or character on the first date.

Read more: Dating and Disagreements: How to Handle Surprise Controversy on a First Date

People are fighting hard enough battles today that you may not know about.

Use kind language. Laugh. Have fun. Discover the art of conversation. Say please and thank you. Give genuine compliments to your dates. Look him or her in the eyes! And have fun on this first date with them!