Who hasn’t been on a really bad first date? Whether the other person did something embarrassing, annoying or rude, it doesn’t take much to make a good date turn sour. There is a lot to pay attention to on a first date which will ultimately determine if there will be a second date.
So, wouldn’t it be nice to know ahead of time what behaviors to avoid so you don’t turn the other person off? As petty as they may sound, here are 14 mistakes to avoid so you don’t get disqualified from the dating game.
Being late: Here’s a way to kick-start a date heading nowhere. If you set a time to meet, be there. That goes for both men and women. It makes a terrible first impression and guarantees the other person starts the date annoyed, notes psychologist Dr. Guy Winch in his piece for Psychology Today.
Drinking too much: Getting blitzed on a first date won’t leave a good impression. A drink or two is fine, but make sure you are present and in control. “Drinking also impairs your judgment and can make you more susceptible to let your physical desires overstep your relationship demands,” says relationship counselors and co-authors, Drs. Judith and Bob Wright.
Not speaking up: If the other person does something that makes you uncomfortable—subtly puts you down, is rude to the waitress, makes snide comments—don’t just take it like a punching a bag; say something! Dating is about finding the “the one”, not about torturing yourself with bad company.
Spilling your guts: Be forthcoming and real, but don’t turn the date into a therapy session. “Ease into talking about yourself—remember intimacy is a bit at a time. Let him or her reveal a little, then you reveal a little,” says Dr. Judith.
Trying to impress: Trying too hard to impress a date can easily backfire, if, for example, you take your date to a Michelin-Starred restaurant and your credit card gets declined. Know your limits and be confident that just being yourself, is enough to impress anybody.
Lying: Fudging the truth—even a little—on a first date means you’re starting the relationship with a lie. “When wanting to be liked, we may embellish, hide relevant data and say anything to make us appear more authentic. However, if you continue to date, the truth will eventually come out,” says Dr. Judith.
Thinking too far ahead: You may be thinking about the next date, but you’re still on date number one, so be present. “If you worry about what comes after the first date, chances are you’ll be anxious, appear needy and may try harder to impress the other person. Be on the date you’re on now,” says Dr. Bob.
Worrying about chemistry: Questioning whether there is a spark too early will easily eliminate a chance for a second date. You could be attracted to a “bad boy”, but that doesn’t mean he’s “the one”. Chemistry grows over time when one’s real self comes out. So, stop worrying about that before you even know your date’s last name.
Playing it safe: It’s normal to keep your guard up on a first date. Remember, it’s hard to get to know someone who isn’t open to letting somebody in. “If you don’t give the other person the chance to know you, they may not ask you out again because neither of you were real to begin with,” says Dr. Judith.
Talking about an ex: Unless specifically ask, avoid getting into relationships past. A recent survey by the dating website Zoosk.com on what’s okay to disclose and when, shows that nearly half of men and women say past relationships, including recent breakups, should not be discussed until after a few weeks of dating.
Checking your phone: It’s the classic 2016 scene: a man and a woman out to dinner and both have their smartphones on the table. Checking your phone makes you come across as bored, distracted, or worse, uninterested. “If you must check your phone, apologize, explain why, and do it quickly,” says Dr. Winch. Better yet, just keep it in your pocket or purse and on silent.
Being too self-demeaning: Modesty is appealing; low self-esteem is not. There is no need to announce all your flaws on the first date. Joking about how bad you are at dating is also a huge turn off. “Telling someone on a first date that you’re bad at dating is like a director coming out before the movie to announce that it stinks. It kills interest or motivation the other person might have had,” says Dr. Winch.
Lecturing or ranting: They say there are two things you should never discuss at the dinner table: religion and politics. The same holds true for the first date. When you have strong beliefs or opinions, it is easy to get overexcited. Zoosk.com’s disclosure survey again shows that close to half of men and women daters say religious beliefs should be discussed after a few weeks of dating.
Not asking questions: Conversations should flow back and forth. So, if you’re not asking questions to the other person and just talking about yourself, you’ll either look A, not interested, B, self-absorbed, or C, both. “Asking questions conveys engagement. If you’re shy or unsure of what to ask, think of topics ahead of time,” says Dr. Winch.