10 Things You Must Avoid Doing On A First Date
Dating in the modern world can be scary, confusing, and just plain exasperating. Whether you’re introduced by a friend of a friend or matched with someone on a dating app, that first impression is going to be the most important one. You want to increase your odds of the first date leading to the second one and beyond. Here are 10 things to avoid doing on a first date.
Don’t be late
What a way to make a first impression, showing that you don’t care about other people’s time. Being late is a big no-no. “Fashionably late” only applies to parties, not dates. Take traffic into account and leave early. But don’t leave so early that you arrive well before your date and look either creepy or desperate. You would not like to be left hanging for another appointment, so just don’t do it on a first date.
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Don’t misrepresent yourself
If you’re going into a date having misrepresented your age, prepare for this to be a first and last date. Honesty is one of the most important values you can project during a first date. It shows you’re not here to play games. This is also true for lying about your home, your job, and your income. That last one in particular is kind of scary; you should not be talking about finances on a first date. It impresses no one and can be seen as tacky.
Don’t look at your phone
Unless you’re going on a virtual date, you shouldn’t be looking at your phone all the time. Yes, there are exceptions, like if you are a medical professional who may be called to an emergency, but that’s about the only one. This date is for getting to know another person face to face. Your phone tells the other person that they are not interesting enough to pay attention to. Of course, if the date is going very badly and you need to get yourself out of it, your phone can be your lifesaver. Otherwise, leave it face down.
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Don’t tune out
This is a reminder that there are other ways of being distant without using a phone. You’re having a conversation with a real person, so be sure to be an active listener. Don’t fall into the “yeah, uh huh, right” trap of responding without paying attention. Don’t come prepared with talking points; this is not a debate. Let the conversation move organically, and you will not only get a better read on your date, they will appreciate being heard.
Don’t mention the ex
There’s a saying that there are three topics to avoid in conversation with someone new: politics, religion, and sex. In dating, however, there is a fourth topic to avoid: the ex. Your date is not there to dump a lot of ex related feelings onto. This is not a three party meeting. Also, if you bring up your ex, your date will get the impression that you’re comparing them, and that’s another game they’re probably not willing to play.
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Don’t forget your manners
So, now you’re enjoying a date and talking and keeping a positive attitude, and then the food arrives and you dive in headfirst. That’s probably not a good idea. Another way people can judge you quickly is how your table manners are. You don’t have to be super fancy formal, but you can keep your elbows off the table. You can’t overuse the words “please” and “thank you.” And not just with your date, being polite to the waitstaff will go a long way toward impressing your date.
Don’t be negative
A great way to sabotage your first date is projecting a negative attitude. No one likes a pessimistic wet blanket even among people who know each other, and that goes triple for someone you’ve just met. Give yourself a negative outlook from the beginning and you just may make the whole date depressing. In the same way, being positive and upbeat is also contagious. Wouldn’t you rather hang out with a positive person? Well, so would your date.
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Don’t drink too much
This should be a given. Know your limits and stay well below them on a first date. Not only are you trying to impress the other person, they are literally a stranger you just met. Drinking too much only puts you at a disadvantage in case something bad happens. Now is not the time to get hammered. Also, watch how much your date drinks. If they overdo it, you may not like what you see. Just take it easy on the first date and you will be in a better position to judge how it’s going.
Not only should you not complain about your ex, don’t take the date as an excuse to vent all your problems. This new person does not need to know about your boring job, jerky neighbors, or anything else you have to put up with. This will not score you points in the pity game. In fact, the pity game is dumb, don’t play it at all. Your date will not be impressed by the level or martyrdom in your daily life. Talk about the good things instead.
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Finally, do not brag about those good things. Remember when we said not to lie about things you don’t have? The same is true about bragging about the things you do have. You are not drawing up merger agreements, they don’t need to know your personal assets. Your date is dating you, not your things or your accomplishments. Another game not to play is the “one upmanship” game. It can escalate very quickly and it never ends well.