What is etiquette?

According to Emily Post (the Queen of Manners, herself) etiquette is simply the “consideration for the rights and feelings of others.”

However, a lot has changed since Mrs. Post’s day. Navigating the considerations of others has gotten a bit more complex in the electronic age–especially, when it comes to dating.

To help clear up the confusion, we talked with one of The Setup’s star matchmakers, Marie Glover. Here’s her expert take on the do’s and don’ts of digital dating.

Don’t: Overshare

It’s only natural that you want your partner to know the real you. However, if you tell all early on—especially intimate secrets—your date is likely to feel overwhelmed.

Studies show that oversharing is a turn off. When someone divulges excessive amounts of personal information to a relative stranger, listeners experience “airplane syndrome,” mentally tuning out of the conversation.

Oversharing, or just being honest?

Either way, beware. Research has also found that listeners tend to view over-sharers as untrustworthy because they tell all without knowing the other person first.

“Your date is not your therapist,” Marie says. “If you want to build trust and be liked by a new partner, disclose personal information gradually over time.”

If your date is right for you, there will be plenty of time to share personal details later.

Do: Be authentic

When it comes to expressing yourself in dating, Marie suggest viewing the glass as half full. “If a new partner texts you and asks how your day is going,” she says, “try to focus on the positive.”

Highlighting the good parts of your day is a great way to express yourself positively without sacrificing your authenticity.

Being authentic also goes for how you represent yourself in the digital world. “I have so many clients who enter matchmaking because they’re scorned from online dating,” she says. “Lying about things like height, weight, or age, is not a healthy way to begin a relationship.”

Misleading others about physical appearance says a lot about a person’s values. “It shows that you’re okay with a little dishonesty,” Marie says, “which is not something most people are willing to risk in a relationship.”

The solution?

Get out and date in the real world. “Don’t hide behind the screen,” says Marie. “You deserve to date as your authentic, true, and amazing self.

Don’t: Only text at night

“Texting should be sporadic throughout the day–not just the booty call hours,” Marie says. “It’s important to be respectable.”

Even wholesome intentions risk being misinterpreted if the only time you reach out is after dark.

According to Marie, late-night texts say more than just the words you type. “Nighttime texts send a certain message,” she says. “Either you’re only interested in hooking up, or that you only think about them when you’re alone and bored at home.”

Recalling old school etiquette is a good rule of thumb. “Back in the day, it was considered bad manners to call someone past 10 PM,” she says. “The same rule applies to texting.”

The only exception? A text goodnight.

“Reserve the after-hours texts for saying goodnight,” says Marie, “That way, you’re the last thing they think about before going to sleep.”

Do: Text throughout the day

Avoid only texting your partner at night. Instead, keep up contact at various times of day. Even if it’s only handful of messages, sending them throughout the day is a nice gesture. This tells your date that despite being apart, you’re still thinking about them.

However, it’s not always realistic to expect you or your partner to maintain constant communication.

“Communicate to your partner if you’re going to be busy, and won’t be able to chat for some period of time,” says Marie, “especially if they are expecting to hear from you.”

At the very least, Marie suggests sending a ‘good morning’ text. “Texting first thing when you wake up is a cute and romantic way to start the day.”

Don’t: Limit your communication

The communication theorist Marshal McLuhan once said: “The medium is the message.” How does that apply to dating?

According to Marie, the means in which we communicate with our partners says more than most people realize. “If texting is the exclusive method of communication in your relationship,” she says, “that could be a sign of a weak connection between you and your partner.”

Despite its convenience, Marie warns that texting is a breeding ground for mixed messages, especially in the early stages of a relationship. “It really eliminates the personal aspect of dating,” she says.

“With texting, you can unconsciously start to build a false sense of security with someone, misinterpret messages, or believe they’re something they’re not,” says Marie. “You risk being disappointed by the time you actually meet in person.”

Avoid this by making sure that your relationship isn’t entirely based on text messages alone.

Do: Mix it up

Mix up how you communicate by incorporating texts, voice messages, phone, and video calls when you’re apart.

As always, in-person conversations are preferred. “Real connection requires physical presence,” says Marie. “Nothing beats having a conversation while looking into each other’s eyes.”

Don’t: Come on too strong

Have you ever been messaging with a WhatsApp Romeo but, when you met up for the date, he was a total dud?

“It’s easy to be bold through a screen,” Marie says. “But, sometimes that disconnect makes people say things they otherwise wouldn’t in person.”

Remember that feeling comfortable with a partner takes time. When the only way you communicate with someone is through text, you might forget how little you actually know them.

Do: Flirt

Flirting a great way to dial up the romance. But, make sure you keep authentic to your personality. “If you’re a total flirt in real life, then let that show on text, too,” says Marie.

If flirting’s not your thing?

Start with compliments. Marie suggests shifting your focus away from their physical traits. “By complimenting their personality,” she says, “you show them that you’re really interested in them as a person, not just their hot body.”

Don’t: Immediately go ‘follow’

Nowadays, it’s pretty common to Google your date, or, at least, search for their profile on social media.

“After the first date, I’m creeping!” Marie says. “It’s just human curiosity.”

But, when it comes to the ‘follow’ button, Marie says to look–but don’t touch. “Once you send the friend request, there’s no going back,” she says. “Connecting online takes the relationship into an entirely new digital sphere.”

Of course, you can always unfollow or block later. Or, avoid that awkwardness altogether by being cautious about online connections. Before taking the next digital step, make sure there is a real foundation of friendship and trust with your partner in the real world.

Do: Your research

While you don’t want to get carried away with obsessive lurking, a little research never hurt anybody.

“It’s important to remember that social media is not real,” Marie says. “However, the way someone chooses to represent themselves online can say a lot about a person.”

Thankfully, The Setup screens all its members with background checks. So, you don’t have to be worried about your safety. However, a quick social-media scan can give you some insights on your date’s interests, hobbies, and lifestyle.

Don’t: Cancel last-minute

Canceling last-minute is a big dating no-no. It should be reserved for legitimate reasons. “Pre-date jitters is not a good enough reason not to show up,” Marie says.

Sometimes, emergencies happen.

If you absolutely must cancel, don’t expect a quick text to do the trick. “Call them,” she says. “Express how genuinely sorry you feel and set up another time to meet instead.”

Do: Confirm plans

It’s Friday, and tonight you have plans–at least, you think you do–for a second date with Rod. A couple days have passed since you’ve last spoken. Do you text him to make sure the date is still on?

“Confirming plans before the date is a polite thing to do,” Marie says. “Send a quick text the day-of to make sure you’re both on the same page before meeting up.”

Not sure what to say? Try this:

Hey, I’m really excited to see you tonight! 7:30, right?

Don’t get overwhelmed with the formality of it. “A little message is all it takes to lock in plans,” Marie says. “Don’t be afraid to make it cute and express your excitement about the date.”

Coaching: Is it right for you?

If the do’s and don’ts of digital dating still feel overwhelming to you, don’t worry.

At The Setup, we combine the expertise of the world’s leading matchmakers, love experts, and dating coaches, for a modern approach to matchmaking.

Interested in speaking with a dating coach? Join The Setup today!