All of us have been on awkward first dates. It’s the nature of the beast. It’s like a job interview that can end with a kiss… or more. Throw in the fact that many more people meet online nowadays than anywhere else, and it gets even trickier. So you’re going from just emailing or texting someone that you might have shared a picture or two with, to meeting them in person for a real life conversation. It’s amazing how people can seem charming and mysterious through emails, but then meeting them in person really is a huge disappointment. Below are ten things to avoid on your first date, and just possibly there could be a relationship in your near future.
- Be On Time!
Nothing screams irresponsible more than being late on a first date. Would you really like to begin a relationship with someone that lets you down the very first time you meet? The act of you showing up late means that their time is not valuable to you. If the person is more than fifteen minutes late and you are in a nice restaurant, grab a drink at the bar and go meet someone else.
- Look Like Your Pictures If this is a first date with someone that you met online, there is always that chance that they will look nothing like their pictures. I’m not saying that trick photography is lying, but it is being dishonest. If you are only sending pictures that are taken at a downward angle of your face to limit the exposure of your double chin, then don’t be shocked when the first date bombs and there is no following second date. If you don’t feel comfortable sending a picture that includes your whole body, then maybe you should spend a little less time on your photography skills and more time in the gym.
I don’t expect a rehearsed Broadway show when being out on a first date, but please limit the amount of “uh…”s to at least double digits. Are you warming up your voice for when you break out into song later on or stammering and searching for something to say? Did you not prepare anything in your head to talk about before the date? Are there no interesting tales from your childhood that might make the other person smile? Coming prepared means more than just smelling nice! Getting-to-know-you questions can be tedious, but they are kind of essential.
- Leave Family and Friends Behind Nothing screams pathetic like someone that has to bring friends or family to a date. You are an adult! You should be able to have a conversation with someone for an hour or two without needing assistance. If you need to bring family or friends on the date to make yourself feel more comfortable, then do us all a favor and climb back down into your parents’ basement. This includes having to text constantly when you are having your date. Put your phone away! You aren’t ready for dating yet.
- Dress Appropriately
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Dress like the date means something to you. The other person will appreciate that you gave the effort to look nice. Also, be sure to dress respectfully. I remember on the tv show Happy Days when Joanie was dressing a bit revealing. A few ruffians mistook her for the wrong type of girl, but luckily the Fonz saved her just in the nick of time. The Fonz then took Joanie aside and warned her, “Joanie, just remember: when you put out an ad, someone might answer that ad.” Whoa! Then he probably smacked the wall and all the lights went out.
- Paying the Bill
It can be a bit weird when the bill arrives on the first date. Many times, by the time the waitress drops off the bill, both of you know if there will be a second date or if this was a one and done. I understand that it is a bit tough for a guy to pay a small fortune on a dinner bill when you don’t particularly like the other person that much, but if you don’t, then she will tell all of her friends that you are cheap. If she offers to pay for her half of the meal, ask her to get the tip instead. Keep it classy! And whatever you do, don’t bring coupons to help pay for the dinner.
7. Body Language Failure
Anyone that has ever made a presentation even in elementary school knows to make eye contact with their audience. The same goes when you are on a date. You don’t have to stare them down so much that they will be filing a restraining order at the end of the date, but at least look at them now and then. Also, unless you are a bodyguard, crossing your arms while you are on a date is not acceptable unless you are freezing and seeking warmth. Crossing your arms in front of you gives the opinion that you are defiant or closed off.
- Slow Your Roll
Too many people try to rush intimacy during their first actual date with the person. If you want sex, then that is what Tinder is for. Or Asian massage parlors. However, if you are actually trying to form a relationship, then don’t get too touchy-feely. Only go in for the kiss at the end of the night if the other person actually feels open to it. And don’t ask for a kiss. Asking is just a step away from begging.
- Plan a Nice Date
Everyone does the dinner and drinks for a first date. This is not a bad idea, but at least make it at a restaurant that is classy and just a bit romantic. Arby’s food does taste really great, but sitting in a sticky booth while receiving free refills does not exactly set the mood. A quiet atmosphere will give you both a chance to talk and see if you click. Unless you are very boring, then definitely take your date to somewhere loud and distracting. Going for a picnic or a hike is another good idea for a first date. If you don’t like your date, you can always lose them in the woods.
10. Keep It Short!
First dates are a bit of a psychological experiment. It is a test to see if two people can not only stand each other, but also have some sort of romantic chemistry in an awkward situation. Some people are a bit overeager and try planning a complicated date with three different destinations. Keep it simple on a first meeting. You don’t want to spend four hours with someone upon first meeting them, no matter how well you are getting along. Some of the best dates are only an hour or two. Going on a longer date can be frustrating if you are only an hour in and you already know you don’t ever want to hang out with this person again. Save those marathon dates for down the road!