Manners Matter: Smart tips for dating etiquette

Ed Kohler of Dover Township and Autumn Anderson of Washington Township at Fujihana (file photo)

Ed Kohler of Dover Township and Autumn Anderson of Washington Township eat dinner at Fujihana (file photo)

Every year when February rolls around, I get giddy seeing paper heart decorations, flowers, balloons and boxed chocolates. I am a hopeless romantic and have long been a sucker for all things mushy.

This feeling of “romance in the air” reminded me of the first time I was asked out on an official date, as well as the first time I declined an invitation for a date. As a young woman, these experiences molded and shaped who I am today.

Smart tips asking for a date

Ask early in the week. If you are hoping for a date that weekend, be sure to ask by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest. Sometimes nerves can cause us to hesitate, so practice what you will say in the mirror before going for it.

Have a plan in place so you can be specific. For example: “I have tickets to the game on Saturday would you like to join me?” or “There is a new restaurant opening this weekend. Would you go with me Saturday evening for dinner?”

Smart tips for accepting a date

Be sure to enthusiastically respond to the invitation.

If you have been waiting for that special someone to ask you out, let them know you are truly glad they did.

Get the specifics now to avoid an awkward moment later. Find out if you will be “going dutch” (splitting the bill) and what type of attire is appropriate.

Smart tips for declining a date

It is all right to have standards and decline a date if you have no romantic interest in that person.

The most important thing to remember is to be kind.

Try this: “I’m sorry but I have plans that evening.”

If he or she keeps asking, then you would need to tactfully explain your feelings.

Try this: “Thank you for your interest; I am flattered. However, I am not interested in a dating relationship.”

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Heidi Thomas

Heidi Thomas is a certified etiquette trainer from Sparkle and Shine Modeling and Etiquette program at GYDance. For more information on Thomas and the program, visit Greater York Dance's website,

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1 Response

  1. Vera Kywa says:

    Dear Heidi,

    I am very disappointed in your recommendation on how to decline an invitation for a date when you are not interested. “I’m sorry, I have plans for the evening” is NOT good etiquette. It’s not true and it leaves the interested party thinking exactly what you recommended the uninterested party say… “She/He is committed that night”.

    All that does is string a person along until they finally “Get the message”. ….. or are you assuming people are mind readers? Your suggestion demonstrates immaturity, poor manners and is POOR Etiquette.

    Isn’t it more thoughtful and considerate to the interested party to simply say… “Thank you very much for your invitation but no thank you”? Or…. ” I appreciate your invitation but no thank you”? You don’t need to make excuses and you don’t need to justify or explain anything. You just need to respect the persons effort to get to know you and say “no” in a way that leaves the interested party clear but feeling consideration in the decline.

    I wish you would change your tune and re-address that suggestion in an up coming column. I am single and I do NOT want to be lead along thinking someone is interested but “busy” until I finally “get the message”!



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