Special to South Florida Times


Summer is such a wonderful time to meet new people and establish great new relationships – especially those relationships where love and romance can prevail. I mean, after all, there is so much to do during this time of the year. But in this fast-paced society, people rarely take the opportunity to send a hand-written note, say thank-you or you’re welcome, let alone adhere to those small, yet necessary details which are critical to the success of nurturing a new-found relationship.

Some men and women are accused of being overly self-centered or just plain selfish. Sometimes it can be a bit challenging to go from giving orders all day to asking a person what they would like, and then even going a step further and engaging in an activity you may not necessarily prefer to do. If your companion makes a reasonable request, you should yield and please someone other than yourself.

Going on a first date can be an absolutely nerve-wracking experience. I mean this is one of those times when being concerned about how to act, how to dress, what to say, and a myriad of other thoughts, feelings and emotions can turn any confident man or woman into a bag of nerves – so to speak. However, a first date really doesn’t need to be such an overwhelming experience or catastrophe. Here are a few tips that can help you have a lighthearted and fun summer relationship or a great first date. It’s all about being courteous and considerate.

1. Be on time – Don’t assume because people have waited on you all day that your companion, or date, will do the same. It is in good taste to phone your date if you’re expecting to be more than 5 minutes late. Otherwise, you may find that you no longer have a date at all.

2. Do not use your cell phone – Unless, you are on duty – which you should advise your date beforehand – turn your cellphone off. This isn’t even the time to check social media pages, email or text messages. Your undivided attention should be on your date. Otherwise, you may come across as uninterested and disengaged and may find yourself dining alone with your phone, since your attention is with it and not your date.

relationships3. Table Manners – Dining out is the perfect time to practice your savvy dining skills—how to order, interact with the wait staff, chose wine and chef’s selections, proper utensil use and communication. If you are not as comfortable with your social dining skills, then taking a simple dining etiquette course can solve that problem.

4. Eye Contact — Going out with an attractive date can be, to say the least, a little easy on the eyes, which is a good thing. However, to prevent from coming across as inappropriate, keep direct eye contact. Staring at a specific part of your date’s anatomy, or talking about it obsessively, may have your date feeling as if you are not interested in establishing a wonderful conversation or knowing anything about them as a person.

5. Dress for the occasion – It is always in good taste to inquire where you are going. This way you will know how to dress fit for the occasion. If this is the first time you are visiting a specific location, simply ask what would be the recommended attire. By dressing comfortably and appropriately, you to be at ease and not fidgeting with the fit of the clothing – thus your attention is all on your date.

Rose Hedgemond is CEO of Avenues of Excellence and an etiquette and social protocol professional. Do you have an etiquette or social protocol question?  Email her at or follow her on Facebook at Rose Hedgemond and Twitter @AOE_IN).