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.
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
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
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
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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