8 Things to Avoid on a First Date
You finally went on a date with someone you feel excited about. The conversation seemed effortless, the chemistry was undeniable, and you went to bed that night with the innate sense that you would see this person again. But the days have ticked by, and you haven’t heard a word. You’re starting to wonder whether you might have done something to turn your date off… but what?
If you find yourself having trouble getting to a second date—even when you thought things went well—there’s a good chance you’re sabotaging your chances without even realizing it. Here are eight things to avoid doing on a first date… so you can have better odds of making it to the second!
Making it all about you
Let’s face it: there are few things worse than being stuck on dates with people who only talk about themselves. I know because this was my biggest mistake when I was dating. I was so busy trying to entertain my dates and make them like me that I wasn’t even paying attention to whether or not they were enjoying the show. If I could go back and ask all the guys I went out with what I’d done wrong, many of them would say that they thought I was self-absorbed. What I’ve since learned is learned is to pause every now and then when I am talking to check in with the person sitting across from me. I might ask their opinion about something I’ve said or ask if they’ve had a similar experience. Here’s a tip: if you’ve been talking and notice you’ve barely touched your cocktail—but your date looks ready to order a second—you need to hit the pause button and give him/her a chance to join in.
Turning your date into an interrogation
Most of us go into a date knowing there are certain things we simply must have in a partner (for example, you absolutely want children and are looking for a partner who feels the same or you require a certain degree of financial stability) and you don’t want to waste time with someone who isn’t on the same page. Before you know it, you’re firing off a dozen questions and your date feels like he/she is on the witness stand. Talk about a buzzkill. No matter how hard you try, you’re not going to learn everything you need to know on a first date. So save yourself—and your date—the aggravation and don’t try. The object of the first date is to have a good time and to see if there’s enough intrigue and attraction to warrant a second. The more pressure you put on yourself to figure out whether this person is “the one,” the more pressure you’re going to put on the date… and the more pressure you put on the date, the less likely your date is going to want to see you again. Try asking questions that are more subtle or indirect, that don’t sound probing. Instead of asking, “Are you looking for a committed relationship?” ask, “What inspired you to sign up for Bumble?” Also, really listen to what your date is saying. People reveal themselves through the stories they tell and the little comments they make like, “I can be a real bitch sometimes.” I had a client who was dating a man who mentioned he’d been accused of being narcissistic. Guess what? He was!
Drinking Too Much
Sure, it might help you relax, lower your inhibitions, give you confidence and a sharp wit, but hit your limit and disaster can strike. Charm and wit can quickly make way for inappropriate questions, boasting, and first date sex. If you know you’re going to be drinking, eat something before the date and know your limits. I repeat: Know. Your. Limits. If you have a tendency to overindulge, stick to club soda. Also, remember, the rule of thumb is to have one glass of water for every drink.
This one might sound obvious, but talking badly about people you know (you lose even more points for talking badly about an ex—don’t bring them up at all), past dates, the waiter, or the girl’s cheesy outfit at the table across from you is a no-no. The same thing goes for talking badly about yourself—self-deprecation isn’t sexy. There are so many things to talk about on a first date… trash talk is cheap and boring. You know the old adage: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” Make it your mantra!
Showing up late
When it comes to first dates, there’s no such thing as being fashionably late. It won’t make you seem sexy or mysterious—it will just make you look like a jerk. If you’re running late, have the decency to give your date a call or send a text and let him/her know you’re on your way. Then, offer another apology when you arrive. Or, better yet, show up a few minutes early.
Airing your dirty laundry
Life is tough… maybe you think you’re going to lose your job, your roommate is a total psycho, or your meds stopped working. These are things you can talk about during happy hour with your friends or on the phone with your mom, but not on a first date. Your friends and family know you on a deeper level, they’ve invested in the relationship, and they have a reason to care. Your date does not. I don’t care how intense your connection is, there’s nothing sexy about TMI. Trust me. If you wind up dating, it will come back to haunt you!
You’ve been on more bad dates than you can count, and finally, you’re sitting across from someone who’s attractive, intelligent, and fun. Within ten minutes you know you want to see this person again. That’s great… but you don’t have to announce it. It’s one thing to compliment your date and let him or her know you’re having a good time, but avoid appearing desperate or overeager. Don’t shower your date with compliments and don’t start planning the second date out loud. Everything in moderation… including enthusiasm.
Whether it’s talking with your mouth full, texting, picking at your teeth, or cursing like a sailor, there’s nothing like bad manners to kill the chemistry… and your chances of a second date. Learn how to use a knife and fork, save the swear words for the basketball court, and keep your iPhone in your purse (or pocket). In other words, behave like someone your date would take home to his/her parents, and you just might find yourself at Sunday dinner.
Are you having trouble getting second dates and not sure why? Book a consultation and see how I can help!