We're geeks. We get it. Our phones, be they Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, or Windows Phone, are among the most important things in our lives. We use them for everything, all the time. But in some situations our phones can get in the way, like on a first date. So, from one geek to another, I'm going to share ten basic tips on how to keep your smartphone from ruining a potentially great new relationship... by keeping it in your pants!

Here are the bullet points, watch the video for the details!

  1. Don't use your phone during a first date. Your attention should be on the person you're with, not the device in your hand.
  2. Turn your ringer off. Turn vibration off. Turn notifications off. Go into bedside mode, do not disturb mode, or whatever it takes to keep your phone quiet.
  3. Turning your phone away isn't as good as putting it away. Really, it has to be out of sight to be out of mind.
  4. If you're expecting an emergency call, be upfront about it. Knowing really is half the battle.
  5. $#!+ happens. If you forget to turn your phone off and it goes off, apologize, put it away, and get back to your date.
  6. If your date leaves the area, that's not an excuse to jump back to your phone. If you do decide to text your friend, make sure you don't get caught.
  7. And don't post anything to a public social network your date might see, especially not without their consent.
  8. If your date leaves their phone behind, that's also not an invitation to start snooping. Take a deep breath and leave their phone alone.
  9. Pay attention to your date. Keep eye contact. Use their name. Make sure they feel like the most important person in the room.
  10. Know when to break the rules. If your date wants a picture, to bump phones for contacts, to set up a second date, then do it!

There they are, my tips for how to have a great, phone-free first date. I'd love to hear your tips too, so hit up the comments and tell me what you think! (Especially if you have any juicy phone-related dating stories to share!!)


Reader comments

Keeping it in your pants: Top 10 smartphone etiquette tips for a first date


Word! I can't state enough how much I detest going out with someone and they pay more attention to their phones than me. I'm not an ego type person, but if we're they're to spend time together than your phone shouldn't take priority over myself (emergencies I can forgive naturally).

When I go out with a girl, or hang out with one at her place or mine, my rule is simple. Phone is on silent, in my pocket and I won't glance at it until we part ways for the evening or hangout or whatever. She has my undivided attention.

If a girl is more focused on her phone than me though, I try and give her a chance. A polite cough to get her attention, maybe even say "Is that important? I thought we wanted to spend some time together." If at that point she continues, I politely as possible just state I have somewhere I need to be. "Hey, I just remembered there's something I need to take care of. I should go, like that you can get back to texting or returning those important calls you were receiving. I guess when you're not so busy we can hang out or something." (I am firm believer in heavy and extensive use of sarcasm though. So sometimes it's not as polite as it should be, but can you fault me?)

Aww, is someone upset because they can't get girls to date them? I'm definitely not a virgin. But it's cute that in this day and age that's a default response still.

You're the kind of guy that called people "nerds" in high school, aren't you? Guess what, I'm one of those former "nerds". I'm also probably a thousand times smarter than you and sharper with the tongue than you could ever be. Don't insult me again. But just FYI, with an attitude like yours, your name "StevesBalls", assuming your name is Steve then your balls might be the only thing you get to play with and you'll be the only person to play with them.

Love the title of the article. Can we do just a general:
"Top 10 smartphone etiquette tips"
I would be interested in seeing a list for that.

Yes we plan on doing just that. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them as well.

Happy you liked it

I agree.

This extends far beyond "first dates". Many people I know can be rude as hell with their damn phones. It doesn't matter if it is a date, a friend, a family member, whatever.

That's a grey area. Jerry Hildenbrand has a neckbeard and there isn't a woman in this country that would resist his presence. Probably not many guys either.

D'OH! This used to be what us old timers referred to as "common sense" and applicable to existing relationships as well! :D

I agree that 1) these *should* all be common sense and 2) *should* apply to being with people IRL at anytime, not just on a first date!

I'm a tech lover as much as the next person, but I really try to leave my phone away when I'm with a person or group of people. I've been with my wife's family and seen several of them playing on their phones when they have a rare opportunity to interact with people they don't see everyday. That makes me so mad!

Cool. Great message.
So many young people need to learn this at a younger age from their parents about PAYING ATTENTION to the people in front of you.

Bravo, well played for your fist published Article on AC! This shouldn't be limited to first date, either. Giving your significant other undivided attention during dinner goes a long way ;)

Against my better judgment, I relented and went on a date with 20 year old. It wasn't so much a date as it was me watching him have carry on text conversations with his friends while not making eye contact but still speaking with me. He kept on sharing what he and his friends were conversing about because apparently he felt either obliged or that's what he thought one did on dates.

Is this what our society has come to??

As soon as dinner was over and I excused myself citing an early meeting. He generously offered to pick up the tab for dinner adding, "I just got paid". I chuckled.

Im really sorry that you had such a unthoughtful date =(

Hopefully he will read this how to so not to traumatize his next victim

I don't see how anyone needs to use their phone at all on a date. Well unless you need an excuse to get the hell out of there. It can wait plain and simple.

Rule number one: do NOT have your first date at a food court!!!

Rule number two: leave your phone in the car on the first date... if you wife calls, you can just tell her that you left your phone in the car(which is the truth!)

Rule number three: if your date is as hot as the lady in the video, you are the luckiest man in the world

Did anyone notice that this guy has a black eye?
That's what happens when you use your phone on a date with this lady.
When not only beats you up, but she then uses you to make the video on "WHAT NOT TO DO!"

Wait, wait, wait... so you're telling me I shouldn't(?!) secretly rummage through the belongings of a person I just recently met? That defies all logic.

We are in a date with our phone all the Time... So 1-2 hours with a real person that a good idea & recommended. :-)

who is this girl?

Does she have a last name?

Or is it just "Georgia" (like "Cher" or "Madonna" or "Sting" or "Yanni")


The guy is her hubby I think, and her name has always been hidden unlike everyone else on iMore. (although I remember seeing it at one time)

Maybe she has stalkers, but said stalkers had better bring backup, or she'd kick his assetts.

See the imore page: http://www.imore.com/tag/bjj

Good tips, Georgia! I'm not in the dating scene but would love to see another article geared towards co-workers. Lately, I've noticed it's nearly impossible to have a conversation with co-workers without them pulling out their phones to look at it or excusing themselves to take a call. It's become the status quo that I think needs to be addressed. Not every email needs immediate attention. Not every call needs to be taken. Not every alert (bleep, pop, buzz) needs to be looked at.

I'm annoy enough to call out some co-workers, "Do you really need to check your Facebook right this second?" and yes, it's gotten ugly a few times! Where's people sense of courtesy these days?

A really good suggestion I will add it to the list. Thank you for the comment and I agree fully as well. I make sure to turn off my phone.

Now I don't text on the first date. Unless she's boring the hell out of me. Then I'll text to be rude. Or read memes out loud and LOL at ALL of them. If she starts enjoying the Memes then there's only one thing left to do... Calmly go to the bathroom and while she's texting her friend at the table/seat leave. Seriously, pay your share of the bill or whatever and leave. Leave the movies if you're at the movies. If you picked her up and she can't afford cab fair it's probably a waste of time anyway. Block her number from your contacts so she can't text/call you. If you gave her your Facebook/Twitter/Google+ block her from everything. Then go on with your life.

Our smart phones are smart enough to program them to be silent during certain times, or to mute certain notifications, etc.. Unfortunately the same isn't true for the users of the smartphones.

It is not as applicable as I am using a iPhone. Which is too bad but I am enjoying getting my texts on my wrist.
Hope the next gen watch is even better =)

Yeah I just updated her phone to iOS 6 just to get some notifications at least. I almost have her convinced to get a Android device. I hope to do some home automation development. Then hopefully she will spend less time on her phone. At least she has now uninstalled the FB app.

I think they can do a lot with this hardware before needing another revision.

I leave mine on and loud so that when it does buzz and I ignore it, telling the person I'm with that it can wait, she's impressed and falls immediately in love with me.

Dumped a girl in part for that reason. First date - was on her cell almost the whole time. And not with her kids - playing Words with Friends, updating Facebook, commenting, etc. 3rd date - had her over for supper and she comes to my door on the phone, walked in on the phone, stays on the phone for several minutes, even while I'm putting dinner on the table. Took a trip up to the mtns and she was on the phone the whole time playing Words with Friends. And, no, it wasn't just me! I got to where I'd take the phone away and we'd have a great time. But with the phone in hand she couldn't leave it alone. And with the phone hidden, she couldn't leave me alone ;) But I couldn't keep it hidden all the time. Craziness. And rude. She'd do the same with her kids, too, when they were around. Nose buried in her phone while her kids just kind of were there.

I went one one...and only one...date with a girl who spent the whole time texting her ex. Classy lady, she was.

I have a question about 6:
"If your date leaves the area, that's not an excuse to jump back to your phone."

What if my date is away for an extended period, like 15 minutes? Wouldn't be ok to check on something or play a quick game on my phone during those 15 minutes? (Of course, if the date could be back soon, I would just stay off my phone.)

Also, why does the article specifically mention "first date"? Aren't these guidelines true for any date?

I wouldn't risk using my phone at all on a first date even if they leave for a really long time. Perhaps to make sure they are ok and message my date ? I said on a first date because in time you will have a better understanding of what each of your parameters are and can adjust.

That's just silly. Anybody that is going to be dating me should get to know the real me, including my love for technology. If she has a problem with me checking Twitter while she's powdering her nose or whatever else interminable thing you gals do in the bathroom, then she's not a good match in the first place. I guess you can see it as a good litmus test.

If she's gone that long, she's probably getting her Candy Crush fix.

It's almost absurd to not take advantage of a moment to catch up on messages or whatever, even if just to check if any are the babysitter letting you know she has your kids at the ER to get them surgically separated, not necessarily respond.

When my fiance and I went on our first date, our phones got played with quite a bunch. We met on Twitter back in 2007 so we both compared our mobile habits. But aside from special cases like that, I agree with this list 100%.

This post points out the problem we have... that we think in terms of "how to ignore your phone" and not "how to pay attention to people".

It's a funny vid, but the truth is that it should apply to more than just dates.

If this articles title was a pun relating to females bodies, there would be people screaming "SEXISM!" But because it's basically men it's targeting it's just peachy.

Love them double standards.

Recently a friend's son went on his first date. Afterwards, his mother asked how it went. MISERABLE, was his response. Because he and the girl had previously only communicated through texts, they had nothing to say while face to face!