When I lived with my mother, one of her pet peeves was when my dates wouldn't come to the door. Indeed, it was a rule of sorts that my dates had to pick me up. That meant not just driving to my house, but no honking. Each date had to get out of his car, walk to the front door and escort me back to the car after waving hello to my mother. Assume they've already been interrogated, otherwise I doubt I was going out at all. Even after I was a little older, I didn't do the honking thing. Not only because it annoyed my neighbors, but it seemed more gentlemanly for my dates to walk to the door.
Now it seems honking might be a blessing considering how infrequently a date actually picks you up. In our busy lives it isn't uncommon to meet your date somewhere. She works. He works. Oh, I'm downtown already, just meet me at the restaurant.
You get the picture. If it's early in the relationship, the advantage of arriving separately is that you have an escape route. You can leave at any time without worrying about your date's plans. Just grab your keys and go. Another advantage is you're not sitting at home waiting and wondering. Since tardiness is my peeve, I'd rather be sitting at the bar with a drink in my hand than at home wondering when the hell you're going to show up.
A disadvantage of meeting somewhere is you might get an unexpected surprise, like a third party. This just happened to me on a double date. My man and I were meeting another couple at a restaurant because it was more convenient than coming to our house and going in one car. No problem. Yet when we get to the restaurant, there isn't just the other couple. They thought we wouldn't mind if they invited a single friend along. They thought wrong.
They had ample time to tell me on the phone and give me and my man the opportunity to decline the invitation. It's not like they just ran into the guy; they had to have called him. If you are on a date, it is beyond rude to accept another person into the equation without considering the feelings of the other people you already have plans with. I didn't show my ass, as my father would say. I tolerated the interloper for the evening and merely added our friends (who have done this to me before) to my list of inconsiderate assholes whom I'll never make plans with again. Better still, the next time they invite us over, I might have to bring my two big dogs. Oh, you have three cats? Oh, I didn't think you'd mind.
What if you are waiting for a date and run into an old friend? Explain that you are waiting for someone and make separate plans for a later time. Never assume it's OK to add that friend to the evening's plans without talking first to your original date. No exceptions. I don't care if you haven't seen this person since you were 12 years old, having circle jerks at camp. It's absolutely unacceptable to alter plans with a date without consulting said date first.
Good manners are crumbling all the time. But it's not too late to hold onto some elements of acceptable behavior. It's more than do unto others: It's about avoiding your date throwing her drink in your face when she sees your college roommate with the used handkerchief collection coming to your table.