Written by Sheryl Myers for LMCo.
A friend of mine is happily back on the dating seen after a long drawn out marriage break up, then, within days I hear that my little cousin (18) is going on his first date!? Suddenly my first date experience springs to mind (many moons ago) and how much things have changed since then. With that thought, I remember the nerve racking mind field that a first date can be and all of the advice that you get from your peers, which sometimes doesn’t actually help but instead makes you nervier. In this day and age dating for the first time is even more of a mind field, especially with all of the instant information & picture sharing and the incredible pressures on both men and women, more now than ever, to be ‘perfect’. So before you or someone you know, goes on a first date (or first date in a very long time), secure yourself that 2nd date by adding these 25 Things to NEVER Do On a First Date to your checklist…
1. Be Late.
This one is self-explanatory really! Whatever your views on timekeeping a lot of people deem lateness as a sign of disrespect. Your time is not more important than your date’s time so make every effort to arrive on time and if you do end up running late you MUST call/text and let them know, its common courtesy at the very least.
2. Go Unprepared.
You may well be meeting your date after work or perhaps after a workout or something but this is no excuse to turn up unprepared. Gyms, workplaces etc. have showers and at the very least washrooms have a sink and usually a mirror too; so turning up (even a little bit) sweaty/smelly and/or with dirty nails, food in teeth etc. is an absolute NO NO – this will almost certainly put your date off from the get go, and remember, first impressions come around only the once.
Now, this might seem obvious but you’d be surprised how much people actually do this with not a word said to their unsuspecting date. This makes the situation super awkward because your date now feels like the third wheel that has to make every effort to impress you and your mate, no pressure there then. Not to mention they’ve now been made to feel that you didn’t care to make the date a 1-2-1 and probably don’t care to get to know them as an individual. If you need a friend’s support or input, call/text your mate when you pop to the loo or better still just wait until after the date to fill your friends in on all of the goss.
4. Wear Uncomfortable Clothes.
Fashion trends often have us make bold choices, some of which we sometimes aren’t completely sure of but may take a chance with anyway. For a first date though, don’t take any chances that take you outside of your comfort zone. If an outfit makes you feel uncomfortable or unsure then you’ll probably spend too much time fixing and worrying about it to actually enjoy your date, and your date will probably notice your awkwardness too.
5. Forget the Small Detail.
Don’t forget that the simple things matter, never more so then on a first date where first impressions are everything. So don’t forget to shave/trim, paint chipped nails, fix that missing button on your coat etc. Remember your date is checking you out head to toe.
6 .Give Away your Whole Life Story.
When it’s time to inevitably talk about yourself, keep it light hearted. Don’t break down your life story from your conception to the present day, don’t talk about anything too serious or detailed, it’s over kill and frankly can be boring. Equally it’s good to leave some air of mystery to allow for future conversation and interest. After all, if he/she does turn out to be ‘the one’ you’ve got the rest of your lives to talk about all of that stuff. On the flip side, if he/she isn’t ‘the one’ you’ll be glad that you didn’t give too much away about yourself.
7. Get Drunk!
Dutch courage is one thing or having a couple of drinks to calm your nerves if required yes we get but, whatever you do don’t drink too much. There’s nothing worse than getting drunk on a first date slurring and spitting your words and saying or doing things that you forget or regret. Try a 2 drink max policy, sip slowly and enjoy the date.
8. Talk about Sex, Marriage or Babies.
Need I explain this one?? At the risk of seeming like a desperate psycho weirdo and scaring your date off half to death before you even get to dessert, steer clear from these topics. If a second or third date is on the cards then save it for then (if you must) but avoid this at all cost on the very first date.
9. Discuss your Ex.
Don’t bang on about your ex. Even if you’re feeling hurt, betrayed or maybe even relived with the break up, your date doesn’t need or want to know about it. Your date is not your therapist! It’s too much information, it shows that you still have that person on your mind and frankly, it’s off putting. The absolutely cardinal sin would be to compare your date with ANY traits similar to that of your ex, if you happen to think it at any point…NEVER say it. If your date does ask about your ex (e.g. – ex-wife/husband) and why you broke up, keep your answer neutral, brief & then move the hell on real quick.
10. Don’t be Gross.
Avoid incriminating food and drink choices. Don’t order food that you know is particularly messy i.e. – Burrito’s, or food that you know makes you gassy/bloated, will stain/stick in your teeth i.e. – parsley. Avoid smelly breath choices like garlic wrapped in more garlic drizzled and infused in garlic oil, and for goodness sake… burping or farting is NOT ok or even remotely amusing so, for your own sake, don’t do it! This does not mean that they are not getting to know your ‘real’ self, it means that you are a respectable, decent person to date and you may just bag yourself a second date.
11. Interview your Date.
We all know those people who have been off the dating scene for a while and during that time have fully established exactly what they want and don’t want from there next relationship. Now…that isn’t an excuse to interview your date trying to establish where there head is at, where they see themselves in 5 year’s time, there views on monogamy blah blah blah #overload. At best, this technique makes your date feel really on the spot and uneasy. At worst, you’re looking a little bit on the desperate side. Keep the convo two-way and light hearted, laugh and enjoy yourselves, what you need to know you will find out about in time, if it is meant to be.
12. Be Distracted by your Phone.
OMG! Our phones have become like our heartbeats, we just can’t live without them. However, your phone ‘pinging’ every 5 mins really is distracting and could be seen as rude. Put the phone away, preferably into your pocket or bag and leave it on silent wherever possible. If you want to take a couple of pix or selfies with your date and they seem comfortable with it, then by all means go ahead but keep it snappy.
13. Keep Checking the Time.
Perhaps your sitter can only cover until a certain time, maybe you’ve made plans for after your date or maybe you just don’t want to miss the last train home, whatever the case try not to be too obvious. Don’t keep time checking, it makes your date feel less important, as if they’ve somehow infringed on your precious time and no body want to be made to feel like that. If you have to mention your impending plans then it’s probably best to do so subtly whilst you’re arranging to meet, that way everyone knows where they stand.
14. Coming Across too Keen OR Coming Across too Aloof.
It’s hard to get that perfect balance, especially if you’re not used to meeting new people often or you’ve not dated for a while and aren’t entirely sure about this. Giving a compliment is a good thing, it shows an interest and makes you date know that you like what you see but over complimenting i.e. – telling a lady how lovely her dress is 3 times in a hr or telling a guy how crazy you are about his tattoos over and over, can come across desperate and distracting to your date. Equally, when you act so damn mysterious that you fail to answer a single question properly or give anything away about yourself, that can be deemed as unappealing as you are now looking like an impossible ‘nut to crack’ (relate to). If you’re unsure of how to play this one, simply decide to yourself prior to your date, exactly what you will/won’t speak about and how you will evade certain subjects if they arise.
15. Go for Long Comfort Breaks.
When you go for a comfort break, make it brief. Leaving your date for long periods of time will give the impression that perhaps you aren’t enjoying yourself. Anything over 5 mins can be seen as rude, if left alone for 10 minutes or more than your date is likely to send out a search party or think that perhaps you’ve bailed out via the fire exit door round the back leaving them to foot the bill.
16. Insult Anyone/Anything.
Don’t don’t don’t mock a person, type of name, accent, place/area etc. as you haven’t yet learned of your dates back ground and family/friend circles. When you’re busy cracking up, your date could actually be quite offended as it turns out your date knows that person, has that name or family members that live in that place/area. Just stay well clear at all costs as you could end up with egg on your face.
17. Use Social Media as a Talking Piece.
Whatever our views, social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. With so much information sharing it’s hard to stay away from the subject completely so keep it brief and talk about the real you living in the real world. Whatever you do, don’t have yourself look like a sado by telling your date that you saw them on FB at a party with their arm around a friends, friend’s friend who you don’t particularly like. Telling your date that you ‘checked ‘em out’ online prior to the date (and whilst doing so you ‘liked’ 101 of their photos) just looks sad and a little bit stalky. Try to avoid taking lots of pictures or selfies, even if your date seems happy to do so, too many can be distracting and come across vain. Try to stay in the (real) moment and avoid the virtual world. Finally, always asked, don’t assume that they’re OK with you uploading and sharing their pictures onto any social media networks.
It’s simply, if you have kids mention them. Staying quiet about your offspring can be seen as deceiving or that you are somehow embarrassed about it and that you’re trying to be tricky about your situation. You don’t have to give much detail about your child/ren (not even the name/s if you don’t want to) but your date is trying to get to know about who you are and your kid/s are a part of you and your life so be up front. If you having kids is a put off to you date then they aren’t for you anyway.
19. Talk Endlessly about your Family, Friends and Pets etc.
TMI overload! Talking endlessly about your kids, friends, family, work mates or pets can seem like overkill. Your date may not know them plus your date wants to know about you. Talking briefly about any of these subjects is a good thing as it’s very much a part of your life but don’t bang on for long periods of time. Talk more specifically about yourself, the kind of person you are, what you like to do, etc. and don’t forget to keep the conversation two-way by asking questions and putting on your listening ears!
20. Talk about your Problems.
This is a cardinal sin! Don’t depress and put off your date moaning about your problems. Whilst some can argue that harmless dating can be a good source of therapy, don’t expect your date to bare that cross. Everyone has problems, you nor your date are any exception and they may well have things troubling them too but, is it a good topic of discussion on a first date? Do you think further dating is looking likely now? We thinks not. To be honest, It’s depressing so save it for your family/friends to hear and to lend that sympathetic ear.
21. Flirt with/give your Attention to Other People in the Room.
OMD!! Even if you are top flirt, of all flirts, and see it as completely harmless, this MUST be off limits on a first date. Don’t allow others in the room to attract more attention than the date that is right in front of you! At best this is upsetting and off putting and at worst this is offensive as your date now thinks you’re untrustworthy because if this is how you behave on a first date how are you behaving when on your own or out with friends? Stay well clear of this. Give your date good eye contact and your undivided attention, if you can make them feel as if they’re the only person in the room then that is the best case scenario.
22. To Breathe!
If you talk a lot, don’t forget to stop and breathe. Don’t talk for the sake of it just to fill in (what you think are) awkward silences, remember to give good body language, ask questions, smile, be comfortable as your date will pick up on this, remember that listening is a fantastic and under rated skill….and most of all remember to breathe.
23. Forget to Ask about a 2nd Date.
Leave this until about dessert time but don’t forget to go in and ask about the possibility of a 2nd date if you feel that the first date is going well. Drop it in conversation, ask your date how they feel the date is going so far and whether they’d like to do it again. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
24. Assume Your Date will Pay.
In a society where equality is key you must be prepared to go halves on the bill. NEVER ever expect or assume that the other person will pay, even if they have offered to pay beforehand. If you date says that they will pay, still offer to cover half of the bill. Make sure you’ve got the funds to pay and even if your date insists on paying perhaps offer to at least pay the tip if your service was good. If your date does pay everything in full (which is a nice courteous gesture) then offer to pay on the next date, if another date is on the cards.
25. Forget the follow up call!
So your date is over and it’s (hopefully) gone well. Perhaps you’ve walked your date to the station and had that first date hug or peck on the cheek. Remember to follow up after with a call/message checking that they have got home safely. Don’t forget to let your date know that you had a good time and that you hope to see them again soon. Fingers crossed this will let your date know that you have a genuine interest in seeing them again, securing a second date night for the near future. [wink wink].
Founder of Lifestyle Management Company.