15 Timeless Dating Manners Women Wish You Knew


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Photo: Us on our first wedding anniversary!

Building a relationship with someone is a tricky thing. It takes proactive and deliberate action — yet it’s not something that comes with a formula or blueprint. There are no guarantees, yet there are strategies you can put in place that work in your favor.

For men, we are traditionally the pursuers in dating. While this [so far] remains true, society is progressing all around us. Women are out-earning men and out-performing them educationally.

My high-performing female clients find this to be a challenge, because men shy away from them, which I believe is a result of men being confused about their role in society or in the relationship.

They’re not quite sure what value they can bring to the table, as they’ve been conditioned since, well, forever that their primary contribution to a marriage or a family is financial. Men have been the supporters, providers, and “breadwinners” for countless generations.

The value today, gentlemen, is not monetary. We must shift our perspective and step up to the plate in new and innovative ways to add value and stand out from the crowd.

Here are fifteen often overlooked details to pay attention to in your dating life that make all the difference in expressing that you’ve got more to offer than just what’s in your bank account.

1: Be honest about your intentions.

First thing’s first — there is nothing chivalrous or honorable about leading a woman on, or being insincere simply to get what you want.

I hear it all the time — women are confused about what the man they’re dating is even feeling. He’ll say one thing, and do another. He’ll be cute and romantic, and then disappear for days. He’ll be confused or unsure about what he even wants.

No, women shouldn’t stick around for this type of behavior, but that’s a point for a different article.

It may not seem like a big deal to you if you’re just not feeling it and decide to stop answering calls or texts one day, but actions like that can really linger in someone’s mind and cause trust or self-worth issues.

Consistently communicating your feelings or intentions in an open and honest way will help to eliminate confusion and help the woman you’re interested in feel more comfortable in expressing her own feelings as well.

It will also massively set you apart from the crowd.

Millions of women are waiting for a man who will actually step up and say what he means and yes, believe it or not, even if it’s not what she wants to hear. She’d rather know the truth than be led on by a lie.

And, if you really are interested in building something serious with her, make sure you tell her — and then align your actions with your words.

2: Date etiquette: Who leads, and when?

A crash course in leading and following:

So you’re on a date and doing that awkward “you go first — no, you go first” dance. It’s like a traffic jam.

Who really goes first, and when?

Proper etiquette dictates that in situations such as being seated by a host/hostess at a restaurant, theater, or places of the like — the woman is to lead.

In more crowded places that may require a push or two to get through (concert, nightclub), the man is to lead the woman. Clear the path for her, you savage.

Furthermore, she is to lead walking up stairs, and he is to lead going down stairs. If you guessed that this is so you can catch her if she falls — you’re right.

These may seem like small details, but in a world where etiquette is often brushed aside, those who put in the extra effort are those who stand out from the crowd.

3: Don’t just wing it — plan it.

When you’re just getting to know someone — effort matters. She’s going to see the amount of effort you put in as a reflection of your interest.

To put it simply: More effort = more interest.

One of the most common complaints I hear from women is that men expect a casual text invitation to ‘hang out’ to pass as a date. Or “Hey, a bunch of us are going to the bar, want to join?”

The purpose of dating is to make her feel special, and there’s nothing special about tagging along.

There’s also nothing special about just winging it and hoping things work out in your favor. The next thing you know, you’re bouncing around to different restaurants because it’s Saturday night and everywhere has a two-hour wait.

Should’ve made reservations.

In the age of technology, you have all of the resources you need to map things you. The OpenTable app empowers you to make reservations even on the same day. You can search for menus and photos to ensure the place meets her preferences and style — which of course, you already know, since you’ve asked…right?

Not going out for dinner? Thankfully the internet exists and has an infinite amount of ideas for creative dates.

Your efforts will be noticed, and they will be appreciated.

4: Want to call her? Ask first.

Yeah, this one is weird, but hear me out.

People are really busy, and there’s no way to know what they’re up to during the day.

I once heard someone say that placing a random phone call is like saying “My desire to talk to you is more important than whatever you’re doing right now” and it stuck with me.

If you’re going to invite her on a date or ask a question, shoot over a text and see if she’s available to chat. If not, continue via text — but respecting her time enough to ask first is going to speak volumes.

5: Be flexible about *where* the date begins.

I always grew up offering to pick my date up from her home, and it was always a well-received gesture of courtesy. As time has evolved and online dating has become more prevalent, though, some have understandably become uncomfortable with the idea of a stranger coming to their house.

In fact, most women reading this are probably thinking: “I don’t want someone knowing where I live before I even meet them.”

Some, though, will be perfectly fine getting picked up, especially if you’ve put in the work to build rapport through open communication.

The fact is that you won’t know whether or not your date is comfortable with being picked up unless you ask — so let her know you’re willing to make the effort, and graciously accept the option that’s most comfortable for her.

6: Open the doors.

All of the doors. The door to the restaurant, the car door, the door to the car picking you up. Whatever door you’re both walking through. You open it, stand aside, and she passes through first.

A small detail that shows class.

7: Remember: Ladies first.

This is a general statement because it applies to many facets of the evening. Proper etiquette states that she is to sit first (Revisit point #2), she is to order first, and even to take the first bite of the appetizer, bread, or whatever is on the table before the entrees arrive.

If you have a hard time remembering any of these, simply think of the old adage throughout the night: Ladies first.

8: Dress appropriately.

To quote Tom Ford: “Dressing well is a sign of good manners.”

How can the way you dress be considered an act of respect? Well, because the way you dress not only speaks to the respect you have for yourself, but also for the respect you have for the people you are dressing to be around.

The more effort you put into how you look, the more it shows you value how the other person is going to perceive you and act towards you in return.

Plus: First impressions are important.

Dressing appropriately is about being best suited (no pun intended) for the circumstances. When I say “well dressed,” some people automatically assume that I mean wearing something expensive, and/or formal.

Not the case.

The key is appropriate attire for the occasion. Your outfit for a daytime date or a stroll on the beach will differ greatly from your choice of dinner jacket on your anniversary.

You can be casual but still well groomed and well put together. Believe me, she will notice.

9: Pay the bill.

All of it.

Yes, I know this might start an argument in the comments.

No, it won’t change my opinion.

10: Put your phone away.

I believe that cell phones on dates should be reserved for snapping that great photo of you together, maybe a quick shot of that beautiful dish you ordered, and for emergencies.

Besides that, scrolling through Instagram or checking your notifications during a date is a bad look.

It sends the message that whatever is on your screen is more important than the person in front of you.

Leave it in your pocket. Glance at it when you use the restroom if you must. If you are expecting an emergency call or text, inform your date at the beginning of the evening.

Why is this so important? This article is about paying attention to small details in order to stand out from the crowd. In a society where we are always overstimulated and focusing on a million things at once, choosing to show your date that she is your only focus is a gift that most people are not given on a regular basis.

For this reason, it speaks volumes.

11: Walk on the street side of the sidewalk.

The old origins of this practice are centered around keeping your date protected from cars splashing up water from the road, or, in some countries, people throwing trash out of their windows which was more likely to fall on the person closest to the road — a risk you’re willing to take, because you are a gentleman. Plus, it’s simply symbolic in modern times because you’re probably not at risk of being hit by a rogue frying pan.

While the origins are from the past, the intention remains the same: Protection. Making her feel safe. A little extra effort.

It’s an effortless way to show that you care.

12: Stand when she arrives or departs from the table.

You may be saying to yourself: Come on, nobody does that anymore.

That’s the point. Set yourself apart.

13: If she orders something and doesn’t end up enjoying it…

Offer to trade plates with her, or order something else.

14: Stay in consistent communication.

A good morning text first thing doesn’t just say “good morning” — it says “you’re the first person I thought of when I woke up today.”

I find this to be an interesting divide between men and women:

I’ve coached men who tell me that they’ve set a date for Friday night and will reach out Friday morning to confirm.

I’ve coached women who tell me that they’ve set a date for Friday night, and don’t even know if it’s still happening because he’s not reached out to her since.

Guys: If you’re truly interested in someone, don’t you want to keep talking consistently in order to get to know them? If you keep the lines of communication open, by the time you actually meet on Friday night, it won’t feel like a first date at all.

15: Putting a bow on it.

If she’s agreed to be picked up (See point #5), walk her safely to her door at the end of the evening.

This is especially important if she lives in a city. It shows you’re willing to put effort into protecting her and makes her feel safe — two important aspects of building her trust and comfort.

Chivalry has evolved, as it should. We’re no longer going to lay our jackets across a puddle so that our date may walk across it, but, common courtesy and respect never go out of style.

While many of today’s men have lost sight of these small details, or perhaps never learned them in the first place — the gentleman who holds himself to higher standards will always work to keep them alive.

Subscribe to my newsletter “The Next Level” for honest and uncensored advice normally reserved for private clients.

James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach.

Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 39 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.

James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.


  1. Renee Edwards on October 2, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    Have subscribed but not getting access. 

    • Stephen Monteith Albers on October 6, 2023 at 11:22 am

      In counterpoint, bitter extensive experience mandates NEVER TAKE A DATE TO A RESTURANT DINNER no matter who pays for it. A huge percentage of dating females intentionally feed themselves with free food and don’t give a hoot for their date or feel any appreciation. Better strategy. Plan a fun recreational date and suggest YOUR DATE COOK DINNER FOR YOU in reciprocation. This proposal will fail most of the time because the vast majority of females cannot cook. Their mothers never taught them and they are too busy burning their bras to learn themselves. Alternatively, offer TO COOK THEM DINNER. This will also fail most of the time. But it identifies the human carrion who have no future except eating in restaurants the rest of their lives.

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