First Date Mistakes to Avoid
First dates can be a nerve racking experience. Even for the coolest among us, there will be seedlings of doubt, self-consciousness, and anxiety when we first go out with someone. After all, a first date is akin to an audition or a job interview. Behind the polite smiles and nods, you are being judged and evaluated. That being said, it is no wonder that people often times do or say things on a first date that they later regret.
While obsessing on “being perfect” on a first date can lead to behavioral anxiety and become counterproductive — you should instead make an effort to avoid the huge and calamitous mistakes from which one can rarely recover. These are the key first date mistakes to avoid.
1. Make Your Ex a Topic of Conversation
Yes, this may seem like a no-brainer, but an amazing number of people still commit this fundamental first date mistake. Some mention their ex consciously, others do so subconsciously. No matter the circumstance, even if it’s in an attempt to draw a comparison that puts your present date in a positive light and vilifies your ex — NEVER, EVER mention your ex on the first date.
2. Not Being on Time
There are many types of people in this world. Some are punctual, others are not. If the natural order of things for you is to always be running 45 minutes late — after someone gets to know you and accept you, they will simply write that off to “being you.” On a first date, however, regardless of your natural propensity for lack of punctuality, you must make a concerted effort to be on time. Set alarms on your phone to remind you of when you should start getting ready, when you should leave to meet your date, etc. You may even go as far as having a friend personally remind you that your scheduled date is fast approaching.
3. Picking the Wrong Location
Many people obsess on selecting the “perfect” location for a first date. They scout locations as if they were location directors for the filming of a romantic comedy. When choosing a spot for a first date, don’t obsess — stick to a place that is public, but that offers conversational privacy. Avoid any restaurants or bars where the ambient noise deters casual conversation at a normal voice level. Remember, most first dates go well not because of the glitz of the setting, but rather from the substance and endearment of the mutual conversation that was had. Also, it’s not a bad idea to have a contingency location. Sometimes the “ideal” spot can be ruined for a first date by unexpected circumstances. Maybe the quiet little bar got packed by a group of visiting conventioneers from Cleveland on your date night. Having a contingency location will allow you to smoothly relocate the date.
4. It’s a Date Not a Drinking Contest
While having a couple of glasses of wine or cocktails over the course of the date can be a great way to loosen up, getting drunk or tipsy is a definite no-no. Let’s face it, the drunk version of anyone is never their best impression. Anybody that gets drunk on a first date — or that excuses drunkenness in the other person — is likely not material for forging a new relationship.
5. Already Seeing the Color of Your Kids Eyes
Nothing can slam a first date to the ground faster than promoting a future for yourselves as a couple before the waiter brings the appetizers to the table. Even if the initial chemistry between you is positive, it is essential to give any new relationship time and room to grow on its own. Do not make assertive comments about how you feel that “you have a real vibe going.” Do not talk about how you feel that you were destined to meet. If you feel that things are going well, continue advancing the joy of the moment — DON’T make things awkward by projecting your aspirations for the relationship too soon.
6. Don’t Be an Ideologue
Yes, we all have values and convictions that we hold dear. Yes, these characteristics are part of what we consider when seeking a mate. However, using your first date as a podium to give your personal manifesto a voice is a huge mistake. A first date should avoid contentious topics such as politics and religion. A first date should serve to gauge the smoothness of each others banter — to acclimate yourselves to each others conversation and interests. It should never become a soap box for your view of the world.
7. Mind Your Manners
Table manners are one of those things that tell a lot about a person, especially when you know little else about them. This is why table manners are so important on a first date. Talking with food in your mouth, chugging down your beverage, spilling enough food on yourself to feed an entire village — basically, sloppy table manners — are a big first date mistake that can easily be avoided.
8. Being a #*@!#$% to Service Staff
Being arrogant, dismissive or rude to service staff will really brand you with a negative impression. Yelling at the waiter for getting the dressing on your salad wrong, cussing out the bartender for adding a lime instead of a lemon to your drink will always make you look like an #@$%*@ in the eyes of your date.
9. Talk Too Much or Not Enough
A good first date involves building a dialogue, not a monologue. You want to create back and forth banter. It is in the nuance of a smooth flowing two-way conversation that the golden nuggets of a first date will be found. Dominating the conversation will quickly bore your date. Providing one-word answers will stall and suffocate the conversation.
10. Not Being Yourself
On a first date, everyone is trying to make the best impression possible. While it is normal and acceptable to do what you can to accentuate your attributes, don’t try to become somebody you are not. It is essential for your core elements to shine through on a first date. Attempting to modify yourself to conform to what you perceive the other person expects is an enormous mistake. Even if the date were to be “successful,” any possibility for a relationship would be doomed.
Also, don’t neglect the simple mistakes, such as constantly looking at your phone, not referring to your date by their correct name, constantly asking your date how they think the night is going and, of course, wearing too much perfume or cologne.