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Unhappy woman on a bad first date sits at a table with a coffee cup. Only her date's shoulder is visible.


Hoping that your first date leads to a second? Avoid these dating don'ts

Andy Phillips   |   Fri, 8 Sep 2023

There’s no getting around it: first dates are nerve-wracking and sometimes full of unforced errors. While tripping over your words is the kind of mistake that reddens your cheeks, it probably won’t send your date heading for the hills. However, all goofs are not created equal, and the top-ten dating mistakes we discuss below could fall into the dealbreaker category. Do yourself (and your plus-one) a favor and avoid them during your next online speed date or real-world meetup.

Top-ten first date mistakes

1. Being late. Showing up late to a first date is an action that speaks way louder than words, and the message it conveys is clear: “This experience isn’t important to me.” Plan your time well and aim to arrive a few minutes early. If something unavoidable delays you, give your date a heads-up (and a hearty apology) as soon as you realize you’re running behind.

2. Talking excessively about yourself. We’ve said it before and we'll say it again: when you’re first getting to know someone, it’s essential to strike a balance between sharing about yourself and showing interest in your date. Don't dominate the conversation with your own stories or opinions. Share the stage, actively listen to your date, and express genuine interest in what they're saying. Ignoring others’ comments or constantly interrupting isn’t going to inspire many crushes.

3. Ignoring hygiene and grooming. While it’s never fair to judge a book by its cover, your date may get turned off if you neglect personal hygiene or dress inappropriately during your first meeting. In other words? Shower before you show up. As for attire, choose something that suits both your personal style and the date venue.

4. Oversharing. This is a tricky one. It's good to be open on a first date – the whole point is for you and your partner to learn about each other, right? – but it’s important to avoid sharing overly personal or sensitive information too soon. Emotional intimacy takes time to develop, and the premature presumption of closeness may actually make your date feel desperately uncomfortable.

5. Being negative or critical. Another first-date mistake? Being a so-called Debbie Downer. Make a conscious effort to stay positive and avoid complaining excessively about your life, work, or past relationships -- negative energy can sink a first date fast. Similarly, tread carefully around controversial or sensitive topics, and be prepared to pivot if such convos go sour. And finally, while it’s normal to feel nervous, avoid the compulsion to engage in a lot of self-deprecation. Confidence is cute!

6. Using your phone too much. Phone addiction is real, y’all, but please keep it in check while on a first date. Silence your cell and store it in your pocket or bag to avoid temptation. Otherwise, muscle memory might have you checking your phone constantly, which sends the message that you're not fully present (and are disinterested in being so).

Drunk man on a first date grabs at his date while she pushes him away and looks annoyed

7. Being rude or dismissive. If this one isn’t self-evident, you’re in dire dating straits. Treat your date with respect and kindness, and avoid being rude to waitstaff or showing dismissive behavior in general. If your partner is behaving badly, no need to respond in kind. Ending the date early says plenty.

8. Getting drunk. Drinking is often part of the dating experience, but doing so excessively on a first date can lead to embarrassing or regretful situations. Play it safe and keep your alcohol consumption in check.

9. Pressuring for physical intimacy. By far the most heinous first-date mistake you can make is pressuring your date to get physical. Respect your date's boundaries and never try to manipulate them into sex or intimacy. Consent is crucial, so if they say no or you sense reluctance, let it go immediately.

10. Avoiding the follow-up. Finally – and this one is technically a post-date mistake – if you enjoy your first date and want to see the person again, don't be afraid to express your interest. Tell them you'd like to get together again before parting, or follow up with a text or call the next day. Admitting attraction can feel vulnerable, but it sure beats waiting around and wondering.

At the end of the day, most first-date blunders are nothing to sweat, and being aware of these "big offenders" -- along with a little authenticity, respect, and sincerity -- can help you safely navigate your way to a second date. Have fun out there, singles!

Want more first-date tips? Start here and here!


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