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Dating: Rules of Civility

We are living in a time when civility, diplomacy, and discretion are at an all time low. The fact is that the finer part of our natures wants to get along with others, and it is extremely important to be able to spend time with those whose opinions we do not share. This is especially true when it comes to dating and establishing new romantic or platonic friendships.

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People who are dating are those who have chosen to pursue new relationships. The process of dating gives individuals a chance to practice social skills that may or may not be used in everyday life, but should certainly be cultivated for social interaction. In other words, dating is good practice for making friends and for moving comfortably through the world. This includes knowing when certain subjects and behaviors are taboo or inappropriate for a social setting.

It is generally agreed that there are taboo subjects for the first three dates: ex-spouses (girl/boyfriends, lovers, etc.), politics, religion, finances (money in general), sex, and death. With ex’s, money and politics leading the pack, these subjects are taboo because they take the focus away from two people getting to know each other and place the spotlight on other people, places, and things. These subjects have the power to terminate a potential relationship before it starts because they remove the people present away from the moment.

Picture yourself getting all dressed up and excited about going to a lovely restaurant with someone who is new and potentially interested in you as a partner or friend. The stage is set for a wonderful evening. Now ask yourself these questions:
Who wants to hear about an evil ex or “irreplaceable” spouse who died of an insidious fatal disease?
Who wants to be bludgeoned by questions about political issues when the discussion will end in either an alienating argument or a heated agreement about something other than the people having dinner?
Who wants to hear about how much money someone makes or used to make before he/she was laid off, got divorced, lost all his/her money to his/her gambling (or any other kind of) addiction?
Who wants to be insulted for his/her own beliefs and hear about how a date is morally superior to others because of his/her devout beliefs.

The answer to these questions is NO ONE! That’s who.

In such a scenario, you are encouraged to talk about other subjects and enjoy the moment, the atmosphere, the dining experience, the wine, the music being played by the pianist in the lounge. Appropriate subjects are: travel, music, movies, history, hobbies, professions, art, literature, the animal kingdom, sports, how attractive your date looks, humor, theatre. The list is endless.

Believe it or not, if you can overcome defensiveness regarding avoidance of taboo subjects, there is still a world of things to discuss and a delightful memory to be made from an enjoyable evening with someone special.

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