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Dating etiquette changes with each passing year, but there are a few baseline principles that don’t seem to budge. They’ve been serving men well for ages and will continue to deliver beneficial results for generations. There’s good and bad news for men who want to do the right thing on a first date. On the downside, it’s easy to get pulled into short-term social trends and forget the essential rules. The good news is that if you study the seven basics, you’ll never be at a loss.

What do you get from learning how to act, speak, and behave during a first social outing? The apparent primary benefit is that you’ll have a better chance of getting a second date if you want one. It’ll be your decision to ask, not hers to accept or reject. Second, you won’t make a pathetic fool of yourself. Third, even if you never go out with the woman again, she’ll remember you as a self-assured, confident, serious person and won’t put you on that awful dates I’ve had a list that all women seem to have.

Finally, you’ll get more chances with more women and be in the decider role more often than before. The translation is that you’ll have female companionship when you want it and won’t have to lower your standards to get the woman you want. Here are the seven simple principles that smart males have been using for generations. They’ll work for you if you are diligent enough to apply them to your dating philosophy.

1. Don’t Discuss Former Romantic Partners

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If you want to look like a total emotional weakling and crybaby, discuss past relationships that went bad. Do you want to hear about her ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands, or ex-anything? Of course not, and she doesn’t want to hear about yours, either. Steer clear of the topic. If she asks, look her in the eye and say you don’t discuss past relationships on a first date, that it’s rude. Note that it’s okay to say something like you were married for a few years but am divorced now and don’t have any kids, but other than the bare, essentials like a prior marriage, don’t speak of past romances.

2. Don’t Talk About Income

On a first date, people often exchange routine data about each other, including short life histories, educational backgrounds, job histories, and hobbies. Salaries should not be part of the conversation. If she asks, say something like, “You’ve got to be kidding, right? I don’t go there on a first date. You might be with the IRS, how do I know?” Then laugh it off and change the subject. If a woman asks you how much money you earn, be sure that this first date becomes the last, with her, anyway. She loses her chance for another shot at you with rudeness like that.

3. Don’t Brag About Sexual Prowess or Shortcomings

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You lose either way if you brag about your sexual stamina or downgrade yourself as a borderline sexual weakling with no staying power. If you’re working on building up your ability to get or keep an erection, that’s no topic for first date conversations. Any guy with erectile challenges can get help with a generic Viagra pill and be back in action in a matter of minutes. If you want specific advice about that topic, this site here has all the pertinent information.

But when it comes to conversation, stay away from bragging or putting yourself down about sexual performance. First, it’s not her business. Second, if it ever becomes her business, she’ll find out when she needs to know. Most women are turned off by such talk on a first encounter. If she is the type who asks about your sexual stamina or abilities, cut her off by saying, “mine works just fine, thank you.” Then, consider crossing her name off your list because she inadvertently revealed her poor manners and weak character.

4. Don’t Give Gifts

Giving a gift to a woman on an initial social outing says you’re emotionally needy and don’t think you have what it takes, in terms of personality, to win them over. The bigger the gift, the needier the man looks. Make this a priority rule in that gifts are for anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, and only for couples who are in long-term relationships.

5. Don’t Be Too Generous with Compliments

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Compliments are verbal gifts. There’s a small exception here because you can get away with giving casual compliments, like looking nice, loving how the hairstyle looks, or how that dress is perfect on. But avoid the temptation to tell her she’s beautiful, gorgeous, stunningly hot, or, the worst of all, looks like a model. Be polite and considerate in how you speak, but don’t dish out heavy-handed praise. It makes you look spineless and desperate.

6. Don’t Put Yourself Down

Never put yourself down with phrases like, “I’m just a guy…,” “I’m not the brightest person I know…,” or “You could probably have any guy you want.” Regardless of what they tell you, women don’t want to date men who hold themselves in low esteem or are overly critical of their own abilities. Save that sort of talk, if you genuinely believe it, for your therapist. And get over the problems before spending further social time with women. You’re not ready if you feel like saying stuff like that.

7. Don’t Be Emotionally Needy

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The concept of being emotionally needy is covered in some of the other principles for behavior on first dates, but there’s more to it. If you come across as a guy who needs a woman for sex or emotional companionship, you’ll turn off 99 percent of all women on the planet. Needy, clinging, desperate, men who spew out their emotions to a woman so early in a relationship look like train wrecks. In many cases, they are, and they need psychological help. Don’t be that man. Be and act like a confident man, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting the girl you want.