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Modern Dating Etiquette?

January 14, 2011
Mature mother standing by daughter (6-8) sitting at table, Dating, etiquette, manners, napkin, courtesy

Everyone knows that you're supposed to put your napkin in your lap, right? And you're supposed to ask someone to make plans at least 2 days in advance? And if you ask you should have a plan and be willing to pay...everyone knows that...right? RIGHT?

Okay, so yesterday I mentioned some things about the lack of modern etiquette that tick me off. I also dipped my toe into my feelings about about dating and date-making in the current era. Allow me to jump right in now: somewhere along the line it seems people have lost a sense of common courtesy where it comes to making plans. (Especially the guys who have recently been trying to date me.)

So yesterday I covered the fact that asking someone to do something the day of the event is RUDE. I also touched on the idea that it is RUDE not to follow up with someone about plans. Everyone for the most part thinks it is rude to stand someone up but I also think there are conditions under which it is RUDE to cancel.

I mentioned yesterday that I am currently have dating etiquette problems with a fella. (Disclaimer: I have a feeling my interactions with him will not continue after the text I sent yesterday morning — but I’ll get to that later in the blog.) He has done all of the things above. And I basically felt so disrespected that I was starting to wonder if I ever want to meet him.

Story time (*I have also created list of etiquette points for those who don’t want the story)…

A few months back he asked me if I wanted to meet up for drinks, but he was very cagey about the whole thing. He wouldn’t let me know his intentions and I found myself wondering, “is this supposed to be a date or some sort of weird business meeting?” Anyway we made the date (or appointment). He was pretty booked I guess so we made the plans for over a week in the future.

As the date got closer I got really excited to meet him. We e-mailed a little bit and we even got a chance to IM a night or two before we were supposed to meet. (That was a little odd too because he didn’t want to tell me what he looked like and it freaked me out a little bit — I started having Silence of the Lambs type scenarios go through my head.)

Then, the evening came and…he cancelled.

I guess I should say he postponed or rescheduled. But that was where things started getting difficult.  He suddenly started asking to meet at like 4:30 in the afternoon even though I had told him several times (via e-mail) that I work until at least 5, sometimes 6. Then he wanted to try to meet up with me before he went to do something else or after a hockey game.

We finally pushed the meeting back to another date. I was still excited. But then he e-mailed me that day and gave me some excuse for why he couldn’t meet up with me at the time we had agreed on. He asked if we could meet up later that night. Disappointed again and now a little offended I said if it’s not too late and when he waffled about what time he might be available (and I remembered him trying to get me to meet him at like 9 or 10) I just told him to text me when he was done with whatever he was doing and we would see if I was still available to hang out.

Well, I don’t know what time he finally texted me but I do remember that I had already changed into my pajamas, so it was probably at least 9:30. I let him know that it was too late for me and said maybe another time.

That was two months ago.

I hadn’t really heard from him since. Maybe a quick IM hi here or there. One that I recall initiating wherein I found out that he splits his time between here and another state. So I gave up. I even kind of forgot that he existed.

And then last Thursday (after I had a rehearsal and a crying fit) he e-mailed me and ask if I would like to grab a drink sometime soon. I was doubtful, but I said yes and asked if he had something in mind. At 8:30 I was still online and he IMed me. He didn’t have anything in mind. I didn’t really have a response for that. Or much patience because I was all heartbroken about losing the role(s) in RENT. He waffled around a bit and I finally just told him what nights I would be available in the upcoming week.

His response: What are you doing tonight?

WTF? It’s 8:30 p.m. Whatever I’m doing tonight I’m doing it. I felt that I had tried, in our previous interactions, to explain that this bothered me and yet he keeps asking me the day of to do something.

If you’re my best friend or a family member or someone I have a close, personal relationship with this is fine. But for our first date (or appointment or meeting or what-the-hell-ever this is)? I just screams “drop everything and come to me,” and suggests that you don’t think anything I could possibly be doing is as important as going to drinks with you right this second.  I’m not your booty call dude — or even just your instant date. If you want something hot and ready in less than 30 minutes call Domino’s.

And for your information, watching Private Practice is more important than rushing out to meet you for drinks because I have never even met you. And sitting on my parent’s couch sobbing, petting my dog and sorting through my current existential dillema is WAY more important than you — because I DON’T KNOW YOU!

So I told him that night was not a good time and re-iterated my schedule for the following week. “I’m free Friday and Saturday, but then I’m busy again until Wednesday after 7 and I’m free next Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”

No response. I finished up what I was doing on Facebook and then said, “Well, let me know when you would like to meet up.” I was hoping he would ask me to hang out on Friday or Saturday. But no. After another long pause he finally said. “Okay, I’ll let you know.”

Again I just figured I wouldn’t hear from him again.

On Sunday, however I went into work for a bit and right after I clocked out I signed into Facebook to send a few e-mails. And he sent me an e-mail while I was signed in:

“Hey, You open for drinks tonight?”

Um…no. I told you on Thursday that I was busy tonight you insensitive ass. Okay, that was on the inside. But I was pissed. I really liked this guy back 3 months ago when we first started talking so I though I would give him one more chance and just lay it out there. So I told him:

“Look [insert name here], I want to meet you. I want to spend time with you. I do want to go out to drinks with you. But I need at least 2 days advance notice/planning. And it needs to be at a reasonable hour if it’s on a weeknight. For me a reasonable hour is something that allows me to be home in bed by 10 p.m. That may sound crazy to you, but that’s my situation. I do hope to meet you soon.”

Again, I started to think I would probably never hear from him again. But I did. And it wasn’t nice. Still trying to take the high road and thinking I could give this guy a chance if he did decide to respect my wishes I responded with:

“Well, it seems pretty obvious that my last e-mail upset you. I’m sorry if that is the case and I want you to know that I was not trying to be harsh. I just wanted to let you know where I’m coming from. I guess I should have just said, “No, I’m not open tonight,” because I was busy last night.

“I also wanted to let you know that my response was not simply a response to your request yesterday afternoon, but to all of the interactions we have had on this subject. (Although, I do treat Sunday like a weeknight because I have to work early on Mondays. I also consider Friday nights the weekend because I generally don’t have to work on Saturdays.)

“I think it is a matter of common courtesy and respect to give anyone (male or female) a few days of notice when planning a meeting. Whether it is meant to be social or business. And, basically I am feeling disrespected in this situation. I realize that is probably not your intent so I wanted to let you know what my boundaries are.

“I do hope I haven’t missed my chance to meet you. But I do need advance notice because I purposely fill my spare time because I and trying to accomplish some important things with my life. I have a feeling you can understand that.

“I am busy tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday nights this week. I am currently open this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But that is likely to change as the days get closer. If you are interested in meeting up any of those nights please let me know. As I have said, I think you are very interesting and I would like to meet you.”

And what did I get? Mid-morning Wednesday he sent this. “I could probably do Thursday. Text me to let me know if that works for you.” I didn’t get the message until late Wednesday night, so I texted him Thursday morning that I was now busy and couldn’t change my plans. I did say sorry but I was pissed. Yeah, my plans included cleaning out my entryway, doing laundry and washing dishes, but still they couldn’t be changed. If, however he has asked me on Tuesday I could have done those things on Wednesday and gone to drinks with him on Thursday.

Again, I don’t expect to ever hear from this guy again. Unless perhaps he reads this blog and bitches at me. I asked several of my advisors how I should deal with these things as they were unfolding and right now, from my viewpoint this guy messed up and missed out. (Of course, I’d love to know what you all think — otherwise i wouldn’t have posted this.) I do also think this fella is a victim of our era.

So for all of you who have fallen prey to this particular rudeness malady I have outlined some dating and friend-making rules…okay guidelines…okay let’s call them *etiquette points. I’ll make them a separate post because this one is already epic. Until I get that posted, please let me know what you all think of all of this.

42 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2011 11:06 am

    Why are you putting up with this shit?!?

    After the second blow-off… “have a good life.”

    Seriously. Fucking seriously.


    • January 14, 2011 11:18 am

      What can I say? I was distracted by larger things initially. At least I think I was. Now I’m not putting up with it.

      The thing is, Dennis, this is kind of par for the course around here. IN fact, I know a lot of women all over America putting up with this crap. Stories like these are why women (who don’t know how awesome you are) say things like, “there are no good, single, men out there.” And I tell this story in part to let men who do this sort of thing know that it is not okay and to inspire women not to put up with it.

      I know we all want to be understanding and we all want our potential partners to think of us as understanding, but potting up with this kind of crap does not qualify as being understanding. It is basically self-abuse. And as you so eloquently put it: shit!

      (Thanks for the support sexy man. 😉 )


      • January 14, 2011 12:16 pm

        Yeah, I agree. We want to be understanding. But, in my opinion, understanding is one, maybe two second chances (so, a third chance, as it were). Not… whatever this was. 🙂

        And… you’re welcome!


  2. January 14, 2011 11:08 am

    This is one of my biggest pet peeves- when a friend calls and wants me to hang then and now with little or no consideration to my work schedule, the fact that I may have other plans or the fact that it’s just rude! I say, let him go- there has to be more timely fish in the sea!


  3. January 14, 2011 11:33 am

    He messed up! Multiple times. If he contacts you again, ignore him. At least that’s what I would do. He’s being disrespectful.


  4. Just Saying permalink
    January 14, 2011 11:35 am

    Why did you give him so many chances?

    He clearly was not interested enough to listen to when you’re available and respect it.
    If he wanted to meet you for anything other than a last minute booty call, he would have opened his ears.

    You’re 100% correct, first dates are not a last minute thing. They should be planned.
    It tells me that if he’s treating you so casually from the start, he will continue to do and it gets worse from there.

    Be done with him and move forward with men who respect you from day one.

    Victim of our era or not, men are not completely stupid when it comes to something they are truly interested in.

    I don’t buy into he’s a victim. He’s a grown man, not a teenager still learning.

    I’m glad you’re standing up for yourself, but a little upset you gave him so many chances.


    • January 14, 2011 11:40 am

      I’m a little mad that I gave him so many chances as well. For awhile I was afraid I was being too rigid. And honestly I didn’t care all that much or I would have gotten pissed a lot sooner. Also, confession time, I’ve been in truly abusive relationships before so I’m still plumbing the depths of normalcy.


      • January 14, 2011 12:14 pm

        No, no, no. Don’t plumb the depths. Paddle up to the surface of normalcy. The air is much fresher up there.


  5. Nathan permalink
    January 14, 2011 12:49 pm

    Agree on both counts (etiquette & dating etiquette posts). I just sent an email for a business meeting and now am going to resend an apology based on your post! Dang! I guess I occasionally fall into the trap too (though I try to correct it after the first mistake and don’t continue to be a jerk again and again a la Mr. Selfish). Thanks for reminding me about the effects of this on others and please don’t ever settle for a guy like this. Women deserve better and there are men that are chivalrous and kind and good still out there. Keep your eyes open!


    • January 14, 2011 2:41 pm

      A contrite Nate would be so difficult to forgive. So sweet and charming! I’m sure you’ll do fine. 😉


  6. January 14, 2011 1:27 pm

    I agree with what has already been written – this guy got way more chances than he merited and still seemed intent on ignoring your requests and messing you around. Consciously or unconsciously I think he got the message that you might put up with this kind of thing at least for a while.

    It’s tough when someone jerks you around and you point it out to them and then they try to make you out to be the unreasonable one – it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to demonstrate just how reasonable you are in the hopes that they’ll give you validation by agreeing with your point of view. Actually I think guys like this really know full well that you’re being reasonable – they just don’t think it’ll benefit them to acknowledge it and be straight with you, so they don’t.

    Glad to hear you’re done giving him chances – I hope that the next prospect to come your way is a Dennis-esque exception to the apparent lack of good ones!


  7. January 14, 2011 7:16 pm

    Ugh. Never ever ever again. Right?

    My heart goes out to you on the “what’s normal?” issue because, if you haven’t been treated well by men your have been trained (as have many women) to take a lot of shit, smile, and take some more.

    No one of any gender or age worth knowing in any way behaves like this! You sound like someone who knows (yay) what she wants and the challenge now is having the spine to stick with it and tell anyone this rude — in this language to — Piss OFF! Really. Guy is an abusive ass.

    Never give any man your sked. If they want to squeeze into it badly enough, they will make the effort.

    Good luck!


    • January 14, 2011 9:08 pm

      You’re right on when you say “no one of any gender.” I think the issue with a lot of this stuff is that we wind up treating each gender differently and that’s stupid. I mean common courtesy should apply to all of us. Whether male, female, friend, business partner or romantic interest. But we often allow simple manners to be left out because they are overshadowed by our emotions surrounding those ideas and titles.


  8. January 15, 2011 7:45 am

    I know a lot of women who are far more forgiving with men then they are with members of their own sex. Women tend to be pleasers and to be forgiving. I understand that. But why should they treat men differently? That was a gratuitous question. I know exactly why they do. But it isn’t right. Common curtesy is common curtesy. Period.


  9. anon permalink
    January 25, 2011 3:03 pm

    I just stumbled upon this but I feel like commenting.

    Yeah, yeah, this guy definitely needs to get his act together. Canceling once is forgivable but not multiple times. The other thing I found annoying is that he didn’t have a game plan for the date. Whether guys like it or not it is their obligation to plan set the logistics of the first meetup.

    The thing the struck me the most in this post is how inflexible you are. Sure, if someone asks you out last minute, or on a night where you are dead set on staying in, it’s ok to say no. But the fact that you find it offensive is unreasonable.

    There are good times you could miss out on because you have a strict policy of saying no if it’s too late or you weren’t given enough notice. The silly thing is that your attitude about it suggests that you say no out of principle or respect or something, rather than that you’re busy.

    My advice, stick to your principles but don’t be so uptight when it comes to dating. The part where you are sitting on your couch at 8:30 and you think it’s too late to go out is just bitchy. If you want to meet up, tell the dude you’ll get 1 drink but have to be home by 10.

    I’m in the dating market right now and I make concessions to my everyday schedule in the hopes of meeting someone I really like. I’ll meet up with someone at 9 on a weeknight and not go to bed until almost 1 even thought i have to wake up at 7. I’m not going to do that every night, but being tired for a day isn’t that bad and I might meet someone great.

    In short, this dude overstepped his bounds in ridiculousness, but you should consider being a little more flexible. Having a set amount of notice that you need before meeting up or only being able to meet up during narrow windows of time is just shooting yourself in the foot. It seems like a device to protect your feelings, rather than being pragmatic.


    • January 25, 2011 5:42 pm

      I’m not terribly rigid. I do stay out past my bed time every now and then. I don’t make plans with people on the fly. But not on a first date. Not for someone I have NEVER met before. It is offensive to treat someone you hardly know as if he or she is an afterthought. It is rude not to plan ahead for AT LEAST THE FIRST DATE. I explained this in pretty major detail in the post that followed this one:

      The truth is, the more inconsiderate this fella was the more rigid I became. Furthermore, the time I declined meeting him at 8:30 p.m. I was not sitting on my couch and I WAS NOT bitchy. And that is a horrible thing to say. I was very polite in fact. I let him know that I wasn’t free and that it was pretty late for me to go out. In fact I had told him several times before that 8:30 was too late for me to go out on a weeknight, so I was kind of offended that he asked again.

      I had actually been crying for the past 2 hours (about something completely unrelated) so I didn’t exactly feel like getting a drink. Furthermore, I did not want my first interactions with him to be under those circumstances. But, since I had never met him before that was NONE of his business.

      And it is rude to ask someone to do something the day of the event. As in lacking courtesy, impolite, unrefined, etc. If it had been someone I am in a close and intimate relationship with — like my friend Kendra or a boyfriend — it might have been appropriate. But I had NEVER met this guy in person. I should also note that might have been more interested in the idea if he had asked me a day or two in advance, if it had been a weekend or if he hadn’t already been so rude to me.

      Furthermore, being home and being in bed are 2 different things. I need to be IN BED at 10 so that I can get up in time to be ready for work in the morning. It takes a significant time commitment each day. It’s called being a woman. In order to be in bed by 10 I need to be home by 9…maybe 9:30. And the hours between when I get off work at 5 p.m. and when I need to get home are a rather large window — especially for a first meeting. Four hours is a lot of time to make available to another person when you have never met the person before.

      And things can escalate from there. If I know someone committing my time to them is different than hauling my butt out a bedtime for a veritable stranger. For a friend or lover I’ll get out of bed and run across town if I’m needed. And if the first few hours go well I can spend a few more hours next time. But really how much time do you need on a date? Even if I really like a person our schedules need to be compatible. I can’t date a bartender because I will never be able to see him. So why bother trying to juggle myself around for someone who really doesn’t have the time to date me?

      I’m tired. You seem like a good enough guy, but it is really mean to call a stranger bitchy and rigid. Maybe try not to do that next time.


  10. Michael permalink
    May 26, 2011 10:00 am

    There is no dating technique. Woman have always, and will always choose her man, while he “thinks” he is chatting her up, ie chasing her.

    When all the time, the woman is doing the chasing.

    We men are so gullable when it comes to the fair sex. If a woman likes a man, she will let him know it. It’s a fact of life.

    And she will reel him in slowly and subtely.


    • May 26, 2011 10:54 am

      “If a woman likes a man, she will let him know it. It’s a fact of life.”

      HEAR, HEAR!

      Great point, Michael. Thank you for interjecting. I wish there were more men around my part of the world who realized this.


      • Michael permalink
        May 26, 2011 11:12 am

        Yes, my own sex are living in fantasy land when it comes to woman.

        Chat up lines are a macho thing that really resorts grown men into boys.

        There isnt a man alive who pulls, as they say, a woman, women do it all by themselves.

        The greatest attraction to any woman is the man who doesnt try. This is the man woman are attracted to.

        Because this man knows the score.

        The trouble is that most American and English men are so full of themselves most of the time.

        And this is because they havent grown up.


        • May 26, 2011 11:15 am

          I wish I could have a conversation with you in person — maybe even go out to a pub/dance club with you, get myself a vodka, and observe the game being played.


          • Michael permalink
            May 26, 2011 11:37 am

            The game being played is a facinating one.


          • Michael permalink
            May 26, 2011 12:16 pm

            Dont we live in different countries ?


          • Michael permalink
            May 26, 2011 1:35 pm

            If you are serious about a conversation, we could always web cam via skype


            • May 26, 2011 2:52 pm

              Let me think about it. You know a lot about me already after reading my blog…I don’t know much about you from your comments. I’m totally flattered by the offer and definitely interested.


              • Michael permalink
                May 28, 2011 5:30 am

                CrystalSpins, if and when you decide positivelly.

                Contact me direct at my email address on this site, and I will teh give you my Ske email address.


              • Michael permalink
                May 29, 2011 5:15 am


                Im much older than you, and wise.

                Life plays tricks on us.

                There is an old saying, which goes as follows.

                When a man meets a woman he finds attrative, he cannot just be friends with her, he wants sex with her.

                When a woman meets a man she finds attractive, she will go all out to get him.

                If and when you decide to web cam with me, you will learn much more.

                Oh the games people play.

                Because we all want what we havent got.


      • Michael permalink
        May 26, 2011 12:37 pm

        Where exactly is your part of the world ?


  11. Katie permalink
    June 2, 2011 10:34 am

    Dude sounds like he’s married or otherwise committed to someone else.


  12. ELM permalink
    January 8, 2013 6:06 pm

    Sounds like this man is (a) married; and (b) a serial cheater. If you haven’t already done so, drop him like yesterday’s newspaper!


  13. Michelle permalink
    October 16, 2013 3:34 pm

    I think you’re spending way too much time analyzing the behavior of an immature, inconsiderate, selfish and likely egotistical guy. I wouldn’t give him anymore chances to meet and would stop replying to any emails from this guy. There’s a great website to go to that will put this guy and you’re whole situation in a much healthier perspective. I

    I found it after dealing with some BS of my own online, lol.

    Good Luck!



  1. Dating (and Friend-Making) Etiquette Points « Everybody Wants Some

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