Dating app etiquette: First date do’s and don’ts

Getting a date these days is easy. A few taps on your phone, a swipe right, and presto: it’s a match! But what then?

Dating apps have made it so easy to meet up with people for a coffee, a date or a wild night, but they’ve also led to a minefield of new and confusing issues. Who pays? What happens if there’s no spark? What do you do if the person doesn’t look anything like their profile picture? We’ve gathered a list of dating app do’s and don’ts so you’re prepared.

Do plan to pick up the tab

Some believe whoever suggested the date should pay, others believe that splitting the bill is fairer. Whatever you think you should always front up to a date ready to pay your own way at the very least, and decide what to do once you get there. If you end up a heartbeat away from enacting your escape plan (more on that later), then say no to someone offering to pay and go dutch. Smoke bombing your date (leaving suddenly and without notice) is just bad form.

Don’t talk about your other dates

This seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many people break this rule. Just because apps have made dating multiple people easy, it doesn’t mean manners don’t apply. No one wants to know you have a chorus of other dates lined up. Along the same lines, don’t even think about bringing up your ex on a first date either.

Do put thought into the venue

Don’t just think of the food you’ll want to eat, think about the atmosphere. Will it be too loud? Will it be too empty? Does your date have any dietary requirements you need to cater for? That favourite club of yours might be perfect for dancing the night away, but if you want to get to know someone, a venue that requires you to shout at the top of your lungs to order a drink might not be a great choice.

Above all, it’s wise to meet in a public place. You might have chatted to someone for a few weeks but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. This person is still a total stranger and safety is important.

Don’t be inappropriate

You might not be interested in a “hearts and flowers” romance but rather be on the hunt for a good time in the sack – either way it doesn’t give you licence to treat someone inappropriately. Remember, if they say no to anything, at any point, accept that. Who knows, if you’re nice they might very well text you for round two.

Do bring a condom

Imagine: you meet your match and the chemistry is sizzling. So much so it’s practically scorching the table cloth! You rush back to your place and to your horror discover neither of you has protection. Even if you or your partner is on the pill, it serves no protection from STIs. No matter how hot this person is, you have no idea where they’ve been or who they’ve had sex with. Bringing a condom doesn’t mean you will have sex, it just means you’re prepared for any eventuality. Equally for same sex partners, STIs can be transmitted through skin to skin contact, so consider dams alongside condoms.

Don’t lie

If you think that this new relationship might blossom into something serious, or even a frequent casual arrangement, then it’s important not to lie about yourself. Apart from the fact that being deceptive is just plain rude, it’s building a really rocky foundation for future contact. If they don’t like you for being you, then move on.

Do have an escape plan

Sometimes dates with the best intentions can go bad. For those times, you need an escape plan. It doesn’t have to be elaborate (or cliché) like having a friend phoning you 20 minutes in to make sure things are OK, just tell your date you can’t stay late as you’ve got an early start at work in the morning. Of course if the date is going well, you can tell them you’ve changed your plans.


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