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12/09/2014 07:10 am ET Updated Feb 08, 2015

The Rudest Thing You Can Do On A First Date

Tale Of Two Cities
Two women friends from neighboring communities shared the same weird dating story with me last week. Both were about coffee dates that quickly dropped into the disaster category. One woman arrived after her date was already seated at a table drinking a glass of mineral water from a large bottle on the table. She sat down and they talked for a while, but he never offered her a glass of water. After 10 minutes she got up and bought herself coffee, but she still can't fathom why a guy wouldn't offer his date a glass of water.

The second woman met her date at a café where they arrived at the same time. They stood in line together after getting their drinks. He was just ahead of her and they chatted while the line moved. When he reached the cashier he pulled out his wallet, paid for his coffee, and walked to a table. He noticed she had coffee but never offered to pay for it.

A Paucity of Spirit
I want to be clear that I advocate sharing expenses in new relationships, but the lack of savoir-faire these guys exhibited wasn't really related to money. These weren't wine bar dates, five-course dinners, or pricey theater tickets. This article is about generosity of spirit. Buying a date a cup of coffee, or sharing a bottle of mineral water, is about generosity of spirit, and it's not gender specific.

Generosity Of Spirit

I dated for a several years before meeting my partner. During that time a fair number of women paid for my coffee, especially if they were ahead of me in line, but sometimes for no reason other than generosity of spirit. Of course I thanked them, but buying a date a cup of coffee, or sharing your bottle of mineral water, while polite, aren't particularly noteworthy. But pettiness or a lack of manners is remembered long after a date. Both leave a bad taste and suggest a less than stellar catch. Losing a good man or woman simply because you don't know about an essential character quality is tragic. Generosity of spirit means liberal in giving or sharing; unselfish; free from meanness or smallness of mind or character; magnanimous; and being warm and giving without expectation. If your character doesn't include it you might want to consider that the nature of your character bleeds into all of your relationships, romantic or not. Whether on a date or in a relationship, nothing says, "Get me outta here," louder than being treated in a petty manner. A first date is meaningful in terms of how someone's behavior defines them, and while every first impression mistake isn't a deal killer, bad manners, pettiness, and weird behavior most certainly are.

Manners Reflect Your Nature
I urge daters to consider whether or not their interactive behavior with people reflects generosity of spirit. It's an admirable and attractive quality that savvy people always notice. Had the situations in the two stories been reversed, in terms of a woman already seated with a bottle of water on the table, or a woman ahead of a man in line at a café, and either behaved like the men in these stories, their behavior would also be petty and small,, and life's too short for small.

It's Not About Falling In Love

You don't have to feel the earth move when you meet someone in person in order to demonstrate good manners and generosity of spirit. If neither is in your DNA then consider implanting them if you hope to attract someone special, because anyone worthwhile will surely recognize good manners and generosity of spirit and they'll expect both in a date.

Lead With Your Best
For heaven's sake get your head screwed on tight before a date to avoid committing the thoughtless faux pas nearly everyone finds unappealing. What else are you going to be unwilling to share in a relationship if you won't even share a bottle of water with a date? And if you're so stuck in outdated, non-evolved behavior that you won't buy a date a cup of coffee, you might consider working on whatever issue is keeping you in such a dysfunctional stuck place. Generosity of spirit will have a positive affect on every relationship you will ever have. If you're dating, think of it in terms of behaving like the man or woman you'd be most attracted to.

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