Dating isn’t always easy—especially for guys (or girls) who haven’t done a lot of it! The thing about dating is that very few people actually want to date. For many people, dating is just a necessary step in the journey toward an actual relationship. But avoiding mistakes that can ruin the first date is still important, even if the dating itself, for the sake of dating, is not the goal.
But whether you enjoy dating, are looking for a relationship, or are just going out to have a good time—it is important to know what not to do, and the first date is perhaps the most crucial date of them all!
Here are some of the biggest mistakes to avoid!
1… Talk (or worse, cry) About Your Problems
There is probably no greater turn-off than being on a date with a sad-boy. So men, take the hint—when it comes to meeting up for a first-date, you are allowed to briefly mention how bad the traffic tends to be at this time of the day… but you are not allowed to cry about your past relationships, your marriage that didn’t work, how your hot next door neighbor doesn’t return your texts, how your parents never understood you, etc.
If you want to appear attractive, you should have it together. You should be a happy guy who is happy with his life, who wants to add a happy partner to it to make it even better. If you are not there yet, maybe it isn’t the time to start dating. But either way, stop complaining about your past and crying about what has happened to you.
This is a date. It is a time for fun, smiles, and happiness.
Special Tip: If you really want to emasculate yourself and look like a pitiful ball of mud, literally cry during the first date. Trust us… this is not about being afraid to show your emotions. This is about not being such a wreck that you have no control over them!
2… Spending Too Much Time on Your Phone
If you need to check the time or respond to an important message, that is understandable. But as a general rule, if you plan to make a date with a lady, she is going to expect (understandably) that you will make spending time with her a priority.
Guys, that means ditch the phone for the duration of the date. Some people say that checking your phone once in a while isn’t a huge mistake… but it can very quickly turn bad if she even begins to suspect that you might be more interested in the phone than you are in her.
Your date wants to feel wanted. And if you want your date to be successful, then you should try to make her (or him) feel that way.
As a general rule, checking your messages when she leaves the table to use the restroom is acceptable… though you will want to put it back when you see her returning.
Special Tip: Want to really level-up as a piece of trash in her eyes? Scroll through a dating app while you’re talking to her. This is a really good way to make her hate your guts and ensure that you will never, ever, see her again!
3… Insist That She Decide Where to Go or What to Do
Ok, this particular topic has become so convoluted that it is almost sickening to hear people talk about it. So we will make this really simple for you.
You make the plan. You decide where to go. It doesn’t matter if you choose barbecue and she secretly hates barbecue… because it will appear attractive to her that you made the plan and took the initiative.
Do you want her attraction for you to plummet like a rock in the water? Then insist that she tell you what she likes to eat. Giving her a choice isn’t quite as bad… but it’s still bad. Take control and take initiative, guys… trust us. Unless she has some kind of unusual quirk that would keep her from wanting you to make decisions (which is highly unlikely), this is going to be the absolute best way to move things along.
4… Forget Her Name
You would think that this one would be a no-brainer, especially if you are a legitimately thoughtful guy. But it can sometimes be difficult to remember names when you don’t know someone very well.
But guys… if she so much as even suspects that you have forgotten her name during the date, then odds are very good that she is going to feel about one inch tall, and super unimportant—and that is not how you want your date to feel.
So remember her name and don’t mess it up!
5… Flirt With Other Girls (or Gawk at Them) While on Your Date
Yes, playing it cool can be a good thing. But let’s not go too far!
If you flirt with another girl while on the date, or spend your time checking out other women during brief lulls in the conversation, you can pretty much be sure of two things.
- She is going to notice
- She is not going to go on another date with you
Like we said, your date wants to feel wanted. That is the whole point!
Now, if a girl just happens to flirt with you while you are on a date, ok… that is not something you can control. But how you respond to it can make a big difference. If a girl comes onto you and you dismiss her immediately, and act as if your current date is the girl you really want to spend time with…
Well, you might just win some serious brownie points for that one!
6… Act Like Your Date Owes You Something
This is a big one… and girls these days are (rightfully so) quite sensitive to it. If you buy her dinner, or a drink, or give her a ride, or do anything for her—you need to keep in mind that you are choosing to do those things without any assurance of any sort of reward. If you cannot do those things out of the genuine goodness of your own heart, without expecting anything to come from them, then just don’t do them.
Because your date wants you to do nice things for her because you like her and want to make her happy. She does not want to feel obligated to go home with you because you bought her chicken parmesan and two glasses of wine.
So yeah… if you want to look like a special kind of &$$-hole, act like she is expected or obligated to do something with you, or for you, because of the date. We can pretty much guarantee that you won’t get a second date if you act like this anyway, so you might as well start practicing genuine goodness now—and save yourself the trouble later on.
7… Talk About Yourself the Entire Time
Ladies don’t mind a man having a bit of confidence. But they also don’t want to listen to him talk about himself the entire time either!
It is fine to share some information about yourself. That is what a date is for.
But it is also important for you to learn about your date—so make sure that the conversion is equal. Once you share something about yourself, give her an opportunity to share something about herself. If she is a bit shy about it, feel free to ask her some questions (nothing too personal—you just want to display an interest and genuinely learn about her).
8… Messaging Her Too Much Before (or Right After) the First Date
Ladies want to be wanted by their date—but they do not want their date to be clingy. This can be a difficult thing for some men to decipher. On one hand, it is understandable that you would want your date to know that you are interested. You may also be excited for the date, and it is understandable in such a case that you might want to message the other party in anticipation of getting to go out.
But this can get a little bit messy—and if she feels like you are messaging her too much, she might start to get cold feet.
Unfortunately, this is one of those ‘murky’ areas that a lot of guys have a hard time understanding—but let’s just say this:
A lady wants to feel wanted by an independent man who has a full, happy, and productive life outside of just her. She does not want him to be disinterested, but she also doesn’t want him to blow up her phone and be so focused on her that it comes off as clingy.
9… Talk About Your Ex
Yes, this is pretty much the top-level of the cringe-tower. Talking about your ex, either in a negative way or a positive way, is almost always a bad idea on the first date. You really can’t go right with this one.
If you bring your ex up at all, odds are good that you are slowly (or quickly) having sexy points deducted with little to no chance of getting them back.
If you want to reminisce about the good (or bad) times with your ex, talk to your friends, see your therapist, or call your mom. But that talk has no place around your new date—and it especially has no place in the conversation on the first date!
10… Act Super Nervous
Some first-date-jitters are to be expected on both sides. That’s not really a problem, as long as you try to handle them and make sure that they are not too noticeable.
But if you are so nervous that you accidentally say weird things, or stutter, or are not yourself… well, that is not a good vibe to send out. Ladies like a man who is comfortable with himself, not just one-on-one, but in a group setting as well.
If your vibes are too shaky, they might even make her nervous.
And nervousness is not exactly sexy.
11… Being Stubborn About the Check
Some men get a little bit weird about this. And to be fair, it can sometimes be a gray area. As a man getting ready for a date, you are never quite sure whether you will be paying, she will want to pay half, or she might even want to pay all of it.
At any rate, here are a few bits of wisdom that you should probably take to heart before heading out for your first big meet-up.
- Assume that you will be paying, and avoid establishments that are too expensive for you to comfortably afford.
- If she volunteers to pay for any of it, do not argue with her. You can casually double-check with an “Are you sure? It would be no problem for me to get it.” But if she still wants to pay after you offer the second time, let her. It is weird if you argue with her and will not look good.
- If you do agree to split the bill, never ask for her to pay for more than she ate or drank. In other words, don’t order a steak that costs twice as much as her salad and expect for her to split the bill 50/50. You will just look cheap and she will not appreciate it.
- If you don’t want to be in a situation where you will have to pay for more than just your fair share, avoid doing something that costs a lot of money. Instead of going out to eat, just get coffee and take a walk at the park.
First dates are not always easy. But you can make them easier by avoiding some of these all-too-common pitfalls. Also remember to dress nice, smell nice, and be polite.
And last, but certainly not least… remember that few things trump genuine kindness. Also, try not to act fake. Be yourself and take pride in it. You might not strike gold on the first try, but that’s ok. Sometimes it takes quite a few first dates with different people to find that ‘spark’ that you are both looking for.
Most importantly, if you do ruin the first date, don’t be afraid to repeat the process, just make sure you learn from your mistakes.
Joshua Sigafus is an experienced writer trying to make the world a better place. You can reach out to him on Facebook.