How to show respect and be polite while on a date as a youth

I have enjoyed teaching classes on good behavior to thousands of youth and full-time missionaries for the past 15 years in Texas and Delaware.

I teach the following in relation to what young women appreciate in young men:- Be clean and neat in appearance.

Be specific when asking for a date, not, "How would you like to do something?"

Arrange for transportation; do not rely on the girl for the car, except once in a while.

Be on time when arriving, and come in and say "hello" to the folks. No honking at the curb.

Hold a car door or entrance door and let the girl go first.

Keep the language clean.

Return from the date early enough to allow for travel so she can still get home on time, without being late.

Walk her to the door; do not drop her off at the curb.

Ask questions about her, get to know her, let her talk, too. No one likes to hear a one-sided story.

Select movies that are not R-rated and something she would enjoy as well.

Don't ever ask her to break her family's rules. It is hard for her to hurt the guy's feelings, but it's even harder to think about doing something wrong.

Say "thanks," "please," and "I'm sorry" when necessary.

Be sensitive to her physical health and well-being. If she is tired, suggest a shorter evening. Choose an activity or sport that she enjoys.

Concerning what young men appreciate in young women:

Don't wear too much makeup. Be clean, well groomed.

Always dress modestly. Whether it's dressy, casual or sporty, look nice and appropriate.

Accept compliments graciously.

Ask him about or talk about things he can talk about too.

Be prompt; don't keep your date waiting.

Do not leave and go off to have long conversations with others girls or friends when on your date.

Be considerate of finances, and if not sure, ask for suggestions about menu selections, movie costs, etc.

Let the guy be a gentleman. Allow him to open your door, take your coat, seat you at a table, or anything of that nature. - Carmen I. Jones, Newark, Del.

What we did:

Be obedient

Young people on dates should remember to be obedient to the commandments of God, which brings peace, love, respect and salvation to our souls.

In addition, youth should live the principles taught in the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet and by the prophets. Youth have been counseled to date in pairs. This encourages the attitude of self-respect and politeness. Young people should recognize their goals. They should regard each person as an equal. They should be honest in all their doings with their dates. - Mba Ogburubi, Lagos 6th Branch, Nigeria

Good clean fun

Carefully choose your date. Choose a person who will not tempt you to break Church standards.

Be courteous through the whole date. Do an activity that you both enjoy. Don't tell impolite stories. Be yourself and have good clean fun. Use good manners and proper etiquette. Make conversation.

Realize that in some cases, it is OK to call on a whim, but normally you should ask at least three days in advance. For a formal dance, ask two to three weeks in advance.

Recognize that your date is a child of God. Then let it be the basis for your treatment of your date. Don't do things that would violate Church standards or that would make your date uncomfortable. Be sure to show respect for parents by having your date home on time. - Rexburg (Idaho) seminary

Modesty can be stylish

Dress modestly. There seems to be a misunderstanding among young pepole that fashion cannot be modest. This is untrue. You can still be modest and stylish at the same time.

Emphasize social group activities. Remember, good company supports high morals.

Avoid early dating, R-rated movies and wild parties. These three things are not in harmony with the teachings of modern-day prophets.

Plan each date ahead of time. Know what you're getting into before you go. - Elders Toby Andrew Mendenhall and David Alma Torgersen, New Mexico Albuquerque Mission

Meet parents

Respect and being polite begin with asking someone on a date. When you call for a date, have the time and the activity planned. This gives your date an opportunity to OK it with his or her parents, dress for the activity and be prepared for the events of the night.

When you pick up your date, go to the door - no honking allowed. If it is the first date, you may want to meet your date's parents. You will want to look them in the eye and give them a firm handshake.

All good manners apply on dates - using "please" and "thank you," standing when ladies enter or leave, no chewing with your mouth open.

Being genuinely interested in the other person shows great respect and is polite. You shouldn't talk about yourself constantly. Latter-day Saint youth should always respect and obey the moral guidelines that are laid out so clearly by gospel principles.

At the end of the date, you should be respectful of the curfew that has been set. Have dates home in plenty of time so that their parents would love you to take out their youth again. - Monrovia (Calif.) seminary class

Treat as sister

One thing I tried was to treat my date as my sister. I know, I used to give my sisters hard times, too, but try treating your date like you would your sister. You'll be surprised how well it works. I even took my own sister to some high school dances. I had a great time with her because I could be myself. Try practicing with your sister on how to dance. She can give you a few pointers on how to treat girls.

Once I took my parents with me and my date to see a movie and go out for dinner. I really got to know my parents better, and my dad even helped me with my manners. It really shows respect for your date when you love your parents enough to go on a date with them. - Elder Benjamin Roper, Belgium Brussels Mission

Be friends

First, when you go out with someone, you should know at least a little bit about them beforehand - their likes, concerns.

Second, avoid using anything - whether it be jokes, language or even flirting - if it seems as though it may bother or offend the other person. Just be friends; the rest will work out on its own. - Elder Tyler Jay Leavitt, Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah

How to checklist:

Recognize that your date is a child of God; never to do anything immoral; be obedient.

Keep good hygiene; be clean, neat in appearance.

Have good manners, etiquette; say "please," "thank you"; be courteous.

Keep curfews; be respectful of date's parents.

Write to us:

May 4 "How to take control of and responsibility for your own life."

May 11 "How to make extra money as a youth under 16."

May 18 "How to decorate your home on a limited budget."

May 25 "How to keep children busy during summer vacation."

June 1 "How to curb impulsive spending."

June 8 "How to cope when your child has had a permanently disabling accident or illness."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2121 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed