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Man dressed as demon getting a kiss on the cheek from his date


Six tips for breaking your worst speed-dating habits

Penelope James   |   Fri, 7 Oct 2022

October is the month where many of us delight in the fright: spooky movies, eerie stories, creepy costumes ... you can’t help but enjoy a good old-fashioned scare this time of year. But one horror that is never fun? A Couple speed date that ends in disaster.

A bad date is a bummer at best and traumatic at worst, and it can haunt your memories for weeks or more. They’re hard to avoid altogether (you can't control the behavior of the people you date), but lousy meetups shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.

That is ... um ... unless you’re the monster match.

If you’re consistently striking out on your Couple speed dates, it’s time to look inward and exorcize your hidden dating demons. Luckily, your old pals from The Vibe are here to help with six tips to break your worst dating habits. Some of our suggestions are pretty obvious, but beware ... others might sneak up on you from behind. (Mwah ha ha.)

Check ‘em out, apply them at your next Couple event, and treat your matches (and yourself!) to an awesome first date.

SPEED-DATING TIP 1: Actually give a damn

How much does it suck to be on a speed date with a match who clearly wants to be somewhere (or with someone) else? Don’t be the date who acts with disdain toward the process or the person. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: if you don’t have the bandwidth to go all-in at your Couple event, then it’s best to bail and try again another day. Indifference and insincerity are 100% toxic to your success on the platform – your dates will pick up on it and Cut you faster than you can say “boo.”

However, if it’s just a single date that’s falling flat, don’t ditch!

Do your best to remain present, engaged, and respectful throughout your time together. You aren’t going to fall in love with all your matches, but a date’s “dud status” doesn’t give you the green light to ghost them live and in person. In fact, the only time it’s acceptable to bail on a Couple date is if your partner is breaking our Rules of Engagement or if there are major tech issues. Otherwise, they’re owed the decency of your time and attention. It’s the right thing to do; plus, your “nice ranking” on the platform affects how/if you get paired in the future.

Disinterested woman on a bad first date with an eager man who is trying to give her flowers

SPEED-DATING TIP 2: Don’t come in TOO hot

It’s hard to say which quality is worse in a match: indifference or suspiciously bold enthusiasm. We might have to go with the latter, especially in the context of an online speed date.

Being aggressively gung-ho from the get-go – particularly if you’re presuming intimacy that hasn’t been established yet – often reads as phony, desperate, or downright frightening. Heck, even well-intentioned eagerness can read as pathological if it translates as “too much too fast.”

It’s a fine line to walk behaviorally, especially since everyone perceives intentions differently. But our basic speed-dating advice is this: just as you shouldn’t act like an ice-cold jerk during your three-minute conversation, you also shouldn’t play the role of lovesick lackey. Be kind, be yourself, listen attentively. Anything more will translate as creepy overkill.

SPEED-DATING TIP 3: Don’t fuss with your phone

When you only have three minutes to connect with a match on an online date, it’s critical that you make every second count by giving them your rapt, undivided attention. In other words: don’t scroll while speed-dating!

This may seem like obvious advice, but you’d be surprised how difficult it can be in practice. We’re all so accustomed to multitasking with our mobiles that we do it subconsciously. Sure, it’s universal behavior at this point, but that doesn’t change the fact that mindlessly playing on our phones means we can’t be mindful about our dates.

Want to increase your number of mutual matches? Put down the dang device so you don’t behave like a zombie. Your texts, sports stats, selfies, etc. can wait until afterward. Trust us.

SPEED-DATING TIP 4: Keep your cool

We all get rattled sometimes. Getting angry is part of being human, as is expressing it in a healthy way. What’s not cool, however, is when you become a bile-spewing rage-monster in the middle of your Couple speed date. Doesn’t matter what triggered your outburst – tech issues, a personality clash with your partner, something totally unrelated to the event – your date doesn’t care. All they know is that you lost your dang mind after only three minutes of conversation. Red Flag Central.

It’s important to note here that if your date offended you with inappropriate behavior themselves, you should leave the speed date and report them through the platform. Don’t try to engage them in a screaming match. (We promise it’s not worth your effort.)

As for other triggers, we can't speak to them specifically. All we can say is that if you become mad mid-date, take a moment to re-center yourself and gain composure. Don't unleash on your partner; a date is not the time or place to host a grievance podcast. And if you find yourself boiling over to a point where self-control escapes you, it's time to disconnect completely.

Man on a video speed date giving the thumbs-down sign to the computer camera

SPEED-DATING TIP 5: Don’t be a hater

Another habit that can make you the villain on your dates? When you constantly bad-mouth everything. Hate the movie your date just said they really love? Keep that nugget to yourself for now. Think their taste in books is lowbrow and lacking? Swallow the urge to school them. Feel compelled to cut apart something totally unrelated to the conversation? Why?! You gain nothing by being contrary . . . well, except a big-ole Cut.

It’s obviously healthy and important to express your opinions – we’d never advocate for being a people pleaser on a date or anywhere else. But if your whole schtick is that you are a professional critic of life, people will tire of your company quickly.

Ask yourself if what you’re sharing adds value to the conversation at hand. If it deepens the experience and helps communicate something important about your beliefs or who you are, then go for it. But if your words are meant to belittle, irritate, or stir up unnecessary drama? With all due respect, shut up. Your date will get the message when you don’t Couple or Connect them. No need to make them feel worse beforehand.

SPEED-DATING TIP 6: Keep your ego in check

There’s no denying that when you’re on a speed date, you kinda-sorta have to market yourself to your partner. You want your date to get a pretty clear snapshot of who you are in a very short amount of time, and it’s natural to want to lead with the highlight reel versus the bloopers.

However, be careful to keep your ego in check. There’s a fine line between confidence and conceit, and if you bombard your date with a laundry list of all the ways you’re THE BEST CATCH EVER ... ew. What you think is sexy swagger will be perceived as sad insecurity.

Simply share what makes you tick: what you do for work, what your hobbies are, what you’re looking for, etc. People are perceptive and they can usually read between the lines. No need to skywrite your accolades and accomplishments.

Your turn! Tell us other ways people unknowingly sabotage themselves on speed dates, and share your tips for how they can adjust their behavior to be a better match. We’d love to feature your expertise!


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