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Louise Elerding: Cupid always aims for good dating manners

You’ve Got Manners

Posted: February 12, 2009 11:31 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.

There's a lot of love in the air these days, and Cupid is ready with his bow and arrow to do some match-making and to make the love last. Good dating manners is a way to turn a potential romance into a lasting love affair. Here are a few of Cupid's pointers:

Opening and closing the dating doors with manners is important. We need to treat people we date the same as we treat other people in our lives - without any quirky inhibitions and with kindness and respect. Why do dates often push our actions and behaviors into some kind of weird thinking?

Open the dating door:
There is usually some kind of friendly feeling between two people to prompt an invitation to a date.

It's considered polite to ask for a date at least four days in advance. Any less than that could imply you're asking after having been turned down earlier, or nothing better came up.

If you're the one asking, be prepared for either a yes or a no, and be OK with the answer. Don't let fear of rejection keep you from taking that invitation step. You would not want to pass up something that could have been terrific. Plan something that you know you and your friend will both enjoy, and then - with a lot of confidence, just ask. "I know you like basketball. Would you like to go the semi-finals at the college next weekend?"

If you are the person receiving the no answer, watch for clues that will tell you if you should ask for another time. If you get the signal there is not enough chemistry for this to move forward - then let it go.

Always keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with you just because you received a no. Chemistry is in Cupid's hand - and it's not personal - it's just wrapped up in our DNA. Cupid's arrow will land when and where - and upon whom - it should.

If you are the one responding with the no answer, be clear. If you have a conflicting commitment and really do want to date this person, be sure to say so, and then add how much you would like to do this at another time soon. Be very open and enthusiastic with your signals about wanting to have that date.

"I'd love to go to the movies with you, but it's my Dad's birthday that night. Could we go another time this weekend?"

Remember that each individual is entitled to personal privacy at all times and long explanations or excuses are not necessary. Simply saying, "I am sorry, but I have other plans that I am committed to that day," is all that you need to say.

Usually the person doing the asking also pays. Some people prefer to split the cost of the date - and that is fine if it is agreed upon by both parties. Regardless of who pays both parties always need to have money and be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. You may need to get yourself home, or there may be unexpected costs.

In some situations, the lady may wish to meet the man at the designated location - for privacy or security reasons. This is considered very acceptable and caution is always important.

Always call back when you say you will. If you think you won't, then say nothing about a future phone call. If you'd like to touch base, but know that it will be difficult to initiate the call, invite your date to call you - that's very acceptable. Don't leave someone waiting and wondering - that's not good manners.

If you're a young dater, be sure to have your parents present when being picked up at home, and introduce your date. Give your parents the chance to have a short conversation with your date. This helps parents feel better.

If you're at an age when your parents do not allow dating yet, be honest about that and do not hesitate to explain, and then maybe suggest other activities that you could enjoy together that do fit into your family's rules.

"My parents will not let me date yet, but if you'd like to meet us at the park for volleyball and pizza, come along."

Close the dating door:
It is very important to close the door when a relationship has ended. To vanish off into the universe somewhere, or melt into space without saying farewell is rude. Always have the courage to say your good bye - whether in person, on the phone, by e-mail or paper mail. You do not need this to be a long conversation, but you do need to make closure.

Examples: "Thanks for the nice evening, but I am not sure we have enough in common to go on." "We were both hoping this could develop into something more, but now I know it would be hard to blend our lifestyles." "You have so many good qualities, but I am just not ready for a committed relationship together."

After your date, it is always a nice touch to convey your thanks to the person who invited you. It could be a call or a note. Sometimes it can be an e-mail - depending on how big or formal this date was.

Basic etiquette always prevails - whether it's specific to dating, or to life in general. Reach out, make comments and compliments that you yourself would like to receive or hear. Then - let Cupid's arrow soar in your direction.

Louise Elerding, is a manners, etiquette and personal appearance coach and the author of "You've Got Manners!" an illustrated series of children's books. For information on table manners classes in the SCV and to submit questions for the "Ask Louise" column, call 1-800-326-8953 or e-mail, visit


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