Who hasn’t been on a really bad first date? Whether the other person was embarrassing, annoying or rude, it probably didn’t take much for the date to turn sour.
In fact, there’s a lot of little factors that can ruin a first date (and ultimately determine if there will be a second), so wouldn’t it be nice to know what behaviors to avoid so you don’t turn the other person off?
As petty as they may sound, here are 14 mistakes that might get you disqualified from the dating game:
- Being late: Here’s a way to kick-start a date heading nowhere. If you set a time to meet, be there. That goes for both men and women. It makes a terrible first impression and guarantees the other person starts the date annoyed, says psychologist Dr. Guy Winch in this piece for Psychology Today.
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- Drinking too much: Getting blitzed on a first date won’t leave a good impression. A drink or two is fine, but make sure you’re present, and in control. “Drinking also impairs your judgment and can make you more susceptible to let your physical desires overstep your relationship demands,” says relationship counselors and co-authors Drs. Judith and Bob Wright.
- Not speaking up: If your date does something that makes you uncomfortable — subtly puts you down, is rude to the waitress, makes snide comments — don’t just take it like a punching a bag; say something! Dating is about finding the “the one,” not about torturing yourself with bad company.
- Spilling your guts: Be forthcoming and real, but don’t turn the date into a therapy session. “Ease into talking about yourself. Remember, intimacy is [built] a bit at a time. Let him or her reveal a little, then you reveal a little,” says Dr. Judith.
- Trying to impress: Trying too hard to impress a date can easily backfire, if, for example, you take your date to a Michelin-starred restaurant and your credit card gets declined. Know your limits, and be confident that just being yourself is enough to impress anybody.
- Lying: Fudging the truth on a first date — even a little — means you’re starting the relationship off with a lie. “When wanting to be liked, we may embellish, hide relevant data, and say anything to make us appear more authentic. However, if you continue to date, the truth will eventually come out,” says Dr. Judith.
- Thinking too far ahead: You may already be thinking about the next date, but while you’re still on the first, be present. “If you worry about what comes after the first date, chances are you’ll be anxious, appear needy, and you may try harder to impress the other person. Be on the date you’re on now,” says Dr. Bob.
READ: 6 Signs Your Date is Trying to Play You
- Worrying about chemistry: Questioning whether or not there’s a spark at the very beginning of the date will easily blow your chances for a second. You could be attracted to a “bad boy”-type, but that doesn’t mean the clean-cut guy sitting across from you isn’t “the one.” Chemistry grows over time as a person’s true self comes out, so stop worrying about it before you even learn your date’s last name.
- Playing it safe: It’s normal to keep your guard up on a first date, but remember: It’s hard to get to know someone who isn’t at least a little bit open. “If you don’t give the other person the chance to know you, they may not ask you out again because neither of you were real to begin with,” says Dr. Judith.
- Talking about an ex: Unless specifically asked about it, avoid getting into relationships past. A recent survey by the dating website Zoosk shows that nearly half of men and women think that past relationships — including recent breakups — should not be discussed until after a few weeks of dating.
- Checking your phone: It’s an all-too common scene among millennials: A man and a woman are out to dinner, and both have their smartphones on the table. But checking your phone makes you come across as bored, distracted or — worst of all — uninterested. “If you must check your phone, apologize, explain why, and do it quickly,” says Dr. Winch. (Better yet, just keep your cell on silent in your pocket or purse.)
- Being too self-demeaning: Modesty is appealing; low self-esteem is not. There’s no need to announce all your flaws on the first date — and joking about how bad you are at dating is also a huge turn-off. “Telling someone on a first date that you’re bad at dating is like a director coming out before the movie to announce that it stinks. It kills interest or motivation the other person might have had,” says Dr. Winch.
READ: The Pros and Cons of Playing ‘Hard to Get’
- Lecturing or ranting: They say there are two things you should never discuss at the dinner table: religion and politics. The same holds true for the first date. When you have strong beliefs or opinions, it is easy to get overexcited. Zoosk’s dating-disclosure survey again shows that almost half of its daters say religious beliefs should be discussed only after a few weeks of dating.
- Not asking questions: Conversations should flow back and forth, so if you’re not asking questions and just talking about yourself, you’ll either look: A), not interested; B), self-absorbed; or C), both. “Asking questions conveys engagement. If you’re shy or unsure of what to ask, think of topics ahead of time,” says Dr. Winch.
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