9 Women Explain The "Rules" They Follow On First Dates

Photographed by Refinery29.
Don't text first. Don't text too much. Don't talk too much. Don't be too demanding. Don't... The list of "rules" women are told to follow on first dates goes on and on, but the intention behind the rules is almost always the same. Usually, these guidelines are set up so women (typically, straight women) don't seem too clingy or too bossy to their dates.
Once you start thinking about the rules, it's pretty clear that they're BS. Actively trying not to be clingy does nothing more than make someone more anxious about an already nerve-wracking situation (and also keeps them from being their true selves). So lots of women have decided to ditch these rules, and make their own first date guidelines, because the only rules that really count are the ones we make for ourselves.
Advertisement
Ahead, nine women share the rules they choose to follow when they go on first dates, and why these rules are so important to them. The takeaway? Women are more worried about staying safe than they are about being clingy.
1 of 9

A girl's gotta be safe.

"I have five rules. 1) Telling my friends where I'm going on a date. 2) Setting LOW expectations. 3) Meeting somewhere public, of course. 4) Not drinking more than one to two drinks (and watching whatever my date brings back). 5) Saying "I have to take the train at [whatever time]" so I have an exit strategy.

"Because I don't know this guy! A girl's gotta be safe. There are a lot of people with suspicious motivations out there. A lot of them don't even know they're creepy, which is the creepiest part." — Sophia, 24, New Jersey
2 of 9

If my friend is in the area I can send an SOS.

"I just make sure to send wherever I'm going (restaurant, bar, etc) to one or two of my best friends for safety. Guys can be creepy, so in case I need a way out or anything happens (unlikely, but just in case) and if my friend is in the area I can send an SOS." — Samantha, 23, New York
Advertisement
3 of 9

Many of my rules are common sense.

"My rules: Don't bring up your ex, don't sleep with them, don't do drugs with them, don't check your phone unless you're going to the bathroom, offer to pay, don't stay if they like Trump, don't be right on time (make them wait 5 minutes), do wear something sexy yet subtle.

"Many of my rules are common sense, and some I've just learned with experience." — Serena, 24, New York
4 of 9

If I can't fuck with him, I won't go on the date.

"If I can't fuck with him, I won't go on the date. It's important for me to feel sexually attracted to a person." — Sitis, 26, Malaysia
5 of 9

It ruins everything.

"Don't get really wasted, because it ruins everything." — Judy, 56, New York
6 of 9

Don’t expect me to be 'intimate' or gushy with you right off the bat.

"On a first date, don’t expect me to be 'intimate' or gushy with you right off the bat. I need time to get to know you better before I just expose myself like that. And that’s for anybody I meet for the first time. I’ve created that rule for myself for not only for my safety but for my mental stability. The idea of hookups just isn’t me, and I know how emotionally attached I can get from words on their own." — Shaniya, 19, Texas
7 of 9

I typically avoid small talk at all costs.

"I typically avoid small talk at all costs. I want to get to know the person, who they are, what they stand for, and then use that to guide me in my dating life. If their values, interests, and lifestyle appear to match or compliment mine, I will pursue the idea of a second date.

"My rules are mainly based on my goals, hopes, and dreams for the future. Although I do think it's important to have someone who is financially, emotionally, physically attractive. I want to be treated with respect and ensure that I'm motivated and supported in all aspects of my life." — Rebecca, 25, Vancouver
8 of 9

I always take my own car or have public transportation planned in advance.

"I always take my own car or have public transportation planned in advance on the first date, because I've had too many close calls and one assault when I ignored my 'bad feeling.' I can't be stranded in an unfamiliar place.

"I always let somebody else know where I'll be, who I'm meeting and when I'll be home. And I text that person mid-date to let them know how it's going, because I want someone to have a rough idea of where I'll be and when to expect me back just in case my date has bad intentions." — Amber, 36, New York
9 of 9

I send a screenshot of my date's dating profile and, if possible, a picture of them.

"Location sharing, location sharing, location sharing. I turn it on and leave it on until I'm in my house. I send a screenshot of my date's dating profile and, if possible, a picture of them at the date and their ID or license plates (I also send a picture or description of what I'm wearing). I text my friends before, during, and after the date. I miiiight run to the bathroom to send the text, but usually I blatantly do it in front of them. I let my date know that I'm keeping my friends updated with where I am and that I'm safe, 10/10 times. I'm very upfront about it. And if they're offended, that's probably a sign I should leave.

"It's all about safety. Dating is already daunting, taking precautions to not get murdered and/or raped helps ease my anxiety." — Jessica, 25, Texas
Advertisement

More from Sex & Relationships

Watch

R29 Original Series