Valentine's Day: Dating Sins
On Valentine's Day, restaurants and cafes will be full of couples. Some will be celebrating years together, some will be on that first nerve-wracking date.
For that first meeting, many people might tell you to just be yourself.
But that does not mean that you don't make any effort. Ms Violet Lim, co-founder of local dating agency Lunch Actually says that you should be "the best version of yourself".
Ms Lim helped The New Paper put together some common "dating sins" for men and women.
Avoid these and your date should be closer to a dream than a nightmare....
Dating Sins for Men
FORGETTING YOUR MANNERS
Turning up late is just rude. There is no such thing as fashionably late. It shows that you don’t respect either your own or your date's time.
At the restaurant, don't act like you own the place and be rude to the service staff. Be gracious and kind because there’s nothing that turns ladies off more than snotty behaviour.
Don't forget to let her order first. Letting someone else have their turn before you is basic manners anyway,
And then there are some other basics that apply whenever you eat in public. Like not talking with your mouth full and eating with your mouth closed.
One more thing. Guys, stay off the phone. Give her your full attention.
Note: Girls, most of these go for you too.
Don't let your handshake be limp or clammy. A firm grip (that's firm, not crushing) exhibits confidence which can be attractive.
And don't dither over choosing food. Look up the menu before you go.
Someone who spends an age trying to decide between chicken and fish is less likely to be viewed as a potential life partner. It doesn't bode well for when you need to make big decisions.
BEING ALL ABOUT YOU
Conversations should be two-way affairs, so don't be a hog. Show interest in your date by asking questions and then actually listening to what she has to say.
And forget about the mid-date assessment. You may be nervous and it could be a genuine question that comes from a desire to please, but asking how the date is going so far could come off as needy. Just get to know each other and have fun.
SETTING TRAPS FOR YOURSELF
Some problems aren't attitude-based but try not to put yourself in situations that set you up for a fall.
Ordering messy food like chilli crab or sauce-laden pasta - has been the source of embarrassment on many a date.
Also, bringing up sensitive topics such as sex, politics and religion can make for very awkward conversation.
FORGETTING TO BE A GENTLEMAN
Don't check out other women. You might think you're being subtle but the chances are that you're not and your leering was noticed.
And don't turn up in your sportswear or something too casual. Dress for the occasion. You want to look good for her, right?
When it's time to go, don't ask her to split the bill. She may offer, which is also a sign you made a good choice, but offering to pay gives your date the impression that you’re chivalrous and are confident to take the lead.
At the end of a date, ask how she is going to get to home. You want to make sure she gets home safely. At the very least, offer to get her a cab.
Dating Sins For Women
Ask your date where you are going so you can dress up appropriately. If you are meeting in a casual joint, an evening dress will be too much.
It also limits what you can do afterwards.
Ordering the most expensive things on the menu can make a first date a last date. The amount of money your date spends on you does not equate to how much he likes you.
At the same time, not eating at all is just as bad. It can come off as pretentious and annoying. Especially so if he booked a posh restaurant.
Putting on a persona can be very obvious fake, and the point is that you both get to know each other.
If he is a gentleman, he may well offer to pay. At least offer to split the bill. Sitting there will as though he should be paying for everything will give the impression that you are a leech and that's not attractive. Offer to buy coffee after or to pay for the tickets if you are catching a movie after.
And even if the date did not go well, keep things nice. A thank you is often appreciated, even is date two is not on the cards.
The key thing to remember is that it is a date, not an interview. Sure, ask some questions about his family and his work. But family background, job history and asking about his salary is too much.
If you have had a sneaky look at his social media, don't let on. That's stalker territory and nobody likes to be reminded about just how much they put out there on Facebook.
Likewise for questions about the future. Plans for marriage, children and buying flats will sound alarm bells in his mind.
It's meant to be a pleasant session of getting to know each other, not therapy.
He won't want to know about your annoying work colleagues, the girls you think hate you or how awful your family has been.
And don't bring up the ex - yours or his. That just lets him know that you aren't totally over the previous chap.
Keep these in mind and you should have a happy dating experience.