You never really know what to expect on the first date. It could blossom into a beautiful relationship, or it can end up with an awkward goodbye, and blocking each other on social media. There’s always the potential for the first date to be a magical and perfect experience, but there’s also the off chance that it will leave you gritting your teeth in the hope that the waiter would give you the bill, so you can go.
Almost everyone has some form of first date horror story. Maybe your date seemed really nice until she mentioned that one time she crashed her ex’s car for looking at a girl at the bar. Maybe at first the guy you’re out with seems pretty cool, until he got into a fight with a guy you talked to on your way to the bar.
Worst first date moves to avoid
There’s no rulebook to tell you what you SHOULD do on a first date. By all means, do what you think is fun. But there are some general things you should NOT DO to keep your first date from turning into a catastrophic fiasco.
#1 The latecomer. No one wants to be kept waiting, especially by someone you’re going out with for the first time. Being late is already a foreshadowing that your date might not even care that much about your time. And no matter how confident a person may be, there may still be that inkling that he or she might get stood up.
To avoid being late, give yourself a leeway of at least 30 minutes. This allows you to have some time to spare, in case you run into little mishaps like a late train, a wardrobe malfunction or even an all-out fender bender.
If you can feel that despite your leeway you’ll still be late, the least you can do is call your date to give them an update on where you are and how long it might take for you to get to your meeting place.
#2 Being inappropriately dressed. Don’t wear a fancy coat and tie if you’re just grabbing a bite at your local pub. But don’t show up like you just hopped right out of the gym either! For the record, anything presentable should be okay. So ratty shirts, bacon briefs peeking out of your jeans or anything too revealing would be a definite no-no.
To avoid the conundrum of not knowing what to wear, just ask your date if your venue has a dress code. “I’m just wearing jeans and a t-shirt, is that okay?” or “Hey, I’m in my work clothes. Too formal?” would suffice.
#3 Dead air-phobic. Dead air doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve run out of things to talk about. It just means that you and your date are waiting on each other to get started on a new topic. It’s fine to have a little silence.
Let the conversation flow naturally, instead of forcing it. Sometimes, when you try to force a conversation you may end up babbling like a buffoon. You might end up talking about something completely random, and that can easily get awkward when your date doesn’t know how to respond.
To remedy this, start with small talk. Let it flow from there as you discover more about each other. Besides, you probably won’t have to talk for long before your food arrives.
#4 The messy eater. Speaking of food, everyone has the right to eat whatever they want to. But this tip is just for people who aren’t exactly the neatest of eaters. If you’re wearing a white shirt or dress on your date, it’s a good idea to avoid saucy food that might end up splattering all over your outfit.
Other messy grub includes corn on the cob, pesto, chicken wings, and anything else that has the potential to either end up all over your face or stuck between your teeth. Also, the first date isn’t the time to go on a gustatory adventure that’s filled with all things exotic, as this may end with you battling it out in the toilet!
#5 Outright lies. This one should be a no-brainer, seriously. It’s one thing to conceal the truth and save it for when you know each other better. But outright lying is the worst thing you can do. Maybe you think you’ll never see this person again anyway, so a few lies are just for fun. But what if you happen to have a common friend who finds out about your lies, doesn’t that affect your credibility?
Besides, even if your date isn’t awesome, that doesn’t mean he or she deserves to be deceived. If you don’t want to talk about something, just say “Can we talk about something else?” or just give a short, curt answer and end it at that.
#6 An awful sense of humor. No matter how innocuous it may seem, you never know if you might end up offending your date with a humorous but offhand comment. For example, you might suddenly blurt out that women who spend an hour to get their makeup done are dumb bimbos with no priorities.
But what if your date happens to like taking her time to look nice? Or what if it’s her version of “me time” and she savors every minute of it? Any insult can be seen as insensitivity and tactlessness, so let’s just reserve the quips until you and your date are closer and more understanding of each other’s quirks.
#7 The insatiable flirt. Not all first dates are successful, this much is true. Otherwise, life would be so much simpler. But just because your date isn’t so awesome, and possibly quite awful, that doesn’t mean you should outright disrespect him or her by getting your flirt on with other people.
Seriously, save the flirting or the * side-eye for when your date has left or at least when they’re out of earshot. Nothing would make you seem more like a desperate dimwit than blatantly flirting with anyone who shows you the least bit of interest.
#8 Escalating things too soon. You and your date seem to be really into each other. The conversation is great, the food is great, and there aren’t obvious signs that you’re out on a date with a crazed maniac. So how do you escalate this to the next level?
What you need here is subtlety. Responding to his “Hey, I really like you” with “Your place or mine?” is not only tacky, but you’ve just escalated the conversation to cosmic proportions! Calm down, take it slow, and try not to seem like you’re one of the desperate dimwits described in the previous tip.
#9 The drunk. You shouldn’t get drunk on the first date or the second date or even on the third! The more alcohol you get in your system, the more likely your inhibitions will fly right out the window. “A drunk mind speaks a sober heart.” But your date doesn’t need to hear about the travails of your heart right from the start.
If you feel like you have to drink something to ease the tension, go for a light beer or a glass of wine, just enough to help you feel at ease without the alcohol buzz. Just remember, this is a first date with someone you don’t know very well yet. You have to take care of yourself by staying sober enough to get yourself home. You never know what can happen when you’re passed out drunk with someone you barely know.
#10 Payment expectations. The general rule here is that the person who asked for a date or selected the place should be the one to pay for the date. But just in case neither of you are clear on who pays for what, just go Dutch. You can’t go wrong by splitting the bill in half.
Always have some spare cash on hand that would be enough to cover your order. Though sometimes the men step up and insist on paying for the meal, it’s still a good idea to offer to pay for your half.