1. Don't wax poetic to the object of your interest about somebody else, especially of the same sex:
- OKAY: "I have this friend who complains a lot despite a life of privilege, and it's kind of annoying."
- NOT OKAY: "This dude has lived in 37 countries, and he is sooooo hot, rich, a genius, got nominated for a Nobel but turned it down because he thought he didn't deserve it, and -- what was my point again? oh, right -- he's really lucky, so I don't get why he's not happy." This sounds like you'd much rather be talking to him instead.
2. Don't insult your friend and then expect him or her to do something for you:
- RIGHT: "You have lovely fingernails." Later: "May I hold your hand?"
- WRONG: "Americans are terrible kissers." Later: "Kiss me."
3. Ask genuine questions of your date:
- QUESTIONS: "If you were a vegetable, which one would you be?" or "What's the best joke you know?" or "Why does your cat bite me every time I come over?"
- NOT A QUESTION: "Tell me something."
4. Make eye contact, but don't be a creeper:
- GOOD: Looking into your amor's eyes about 75 percent of the time while you are conversing, and look elsewhere (the table, your gesturing hands, passing glances at folks around you, the road) the remaining 25 percent. Don't forget to blink.
- NOT AS GOOD: Trying to make eye contact when the other person is avoiding it, looking down the whole time, or gawking at his or her mouth, chest, or unibrow.
5. Break a mold: If you are a lady, hold the door open for your gent; if you are a dude, laugh at your chick's dumb joke. Such things are welcome surprises and set you apart from everyone settling into a stereotype.
Good luck hunting!