First dates can be a little nerve-wracking, that's a given. Even when it involves two people who already know each other at least a bit, turning a meeting into an official date gives the whole occasion a different vibe. The elephant in the room is the big question: Will there be a second date?
With both parties trying to put their best proverbial foot forward, it can be hard to get a real feel for what is going on behind the smiles and small talk. He's charming and seems okay, but is he really a nice guy? Beyond the basics, is he worth spending more time and effort on? Most importantly – is there genuine chemistry that's worth exploring?
Even with those first date jitters, though, no one can truly hide who they are, and it will show up in their actions and words. From how he treats the waitress to how and what he talks about, there are many subtle and maybe not-so-subtle clues that can point out whether a second date is worth following up on, or whether it’s time to cut losses and figure out the nearest exit and the quickest way home. Here are some of the telltale signs to keep in mind.
20 Quick Exit: He's Late
You’re just about to leave the coffee shop. He’s 20 minutes late, with no texts, no explanation. Just as you’re getting up from the table, though, he breezes in with a charming smile...but no explanation or apology. Are you over reacting if you feel put off by his behavior?
No, it's not old fashioned to expect him to show up on time. It's not a bourgeois affectation. It's about having respect for your time. Anyone can be 10 minutes late, but if it's longer than that, he should definitely call or text, and you should be happy with his explanation for leaving you waiting awkwardly by yourself. If he doesn't value your time now, when do you expect him to start?
19 Quick Exit: You Picked The Place, And He Can't Stop Criticizing
You thought it was a nice point in his favor when he agreed to meet at your fave club or restaurant. But, once he gets there, he can't stop complaining about everything, from the dude at the door to the coat check fee, the menu, the music...and it just doesn't stop. What gives? If he can't loosen up and even try to have a good time, it's a sign he's self-centered and inflexible.
It's also a sign of disrespecting your views - if the club or restaurant was your choice, clearly you think there are good things about it. This dude's just too negative.
18 Quick Exit: You're Having Your First Argument On Your First Date
When you're meeting up for the first date, it's understood that you probably don't know each other very well, and that certain topics might come up that you disagree with - maybe even very strongly. That's something we all have to be aware of these days.
The right thing to do if a hot button issue comes up and a heated disagreement is in the works is avoid the topic and then decide whether it's a deal breaker or not. It's better just to cut the date short if it is.
The wrong thing to do is get into an argument on your very first date - it's a sign you two just aren't right for each other. Why bother?
17 Quick Exit: He Seems To Think He Knows You Already
You go out for a bite to eat, and when you order a burger he says, "I'm surprised; I didn't think you'd like something like that." Or, you meet at a club and he says, "I figured you'd like this music," but you don't. It might leave you scratching your head, but don't ignore it.
If he's acting like he already knows you, it's a sign that he's not connecting with the real you. He's already got you in the girlfriend box before you've even started. It's also a sign that he's not likely to listen to what you say, and certainly that he's not interested in getting to know you, because he thinks he already does.
16 Quick Exit: The First Thing He Wants To Do Is...Leave
The two of you talked online before you met in person, and it seemed like you had a lot in common, like a shared love of electronic dance music. You agreed to meet up at a dance club he suggested.
Now, you're barely halfway through your very first drink and you've barely hit the dance floor, when he seems to think the pair of you are just about ready to hit the road...for his place.
Wait, what? What was all that talk about dancing?? It wasn't supposed to be that kind of date! He's obviously not interested at all in getting to know you as a person. Next!
15 Quick Exit: He's Clearly Wearing What He Found On The Floor When He Woke Up
Sure, it's just a casual date for coffee, but his jeans and t-shirt are wrinkled, and they don't look particularly clean. His hair might be sporting that unstyled/styled look, but you have strong doubts. In fact, it looks like he pretty much crawled out of bed and fished around for whatever clothes were lying on the floor.
Now, it's not that you're expecting a tie and tux - not unless your first date is the opera, that is - but the fact that he's clearly made no effort at all tells you a lot about what you can expect if you decide to continue.
14 Quick Exit: He Can't Get Off His Phone
This one should go without saying. Sure, some people have very important jobs and need to be on call to a certain degree, but let's face it, those people aren't most of us. Even if he is, and you're satisfied that it's a legit concern - like he's the only qualified open heart surgeon within 10 miles and the call is an emergency - any phone time should be limited.
If he can't keep his attention on you during your first date, then what can you possibly hope for later on? Ditto if he can't keep his eyes off the big TV screen in the club.
13 Quick Exit: He Can't Stop Talking About Himself
You had some easy topics of conversation to bring up in case there was a lull in the conversation. But, you don't need them because he just won't stop talking - and it's all about himself. You've been regaled with a string of non-stop details about his life, his accomplishments, his job, his family, and on and on.
This dude is clearly not interested in you and your life, and somehow assumes you will be fascinated by his. You'll always take second place with this guy - best to cut this date short.
12 Quick Exit: He's Mean To The Waitstaff/Taxi Driver
He seems to be taking great pleasure in harassing the waitress with trivial extra requests, and then laughs about her behind her back as she tries to accommodate him. That’s after he made fun of the taxi driver’s accent on the way over to the restaurant from the show - loud enough for the driver to hear it.
How people treat someone when they think they can get away with it is very revealing. Someone who is rude, inconsiderate or otherwise mean to people who bring them their food and drinks, or drive them to the date location, are showing you that they think they are superior. It's not such a great sign of a future mutually fulfilling relationship, and besides, what if he decides one day that he can treat you like that too?
11 Quick Exit: He Talks About His Ex
You walk by an apartment building and he notes, "That’s where my ex lives." Then, in the restaurant, you order a salad, and he mentions, "My ex used to eat nothing but kale salad." Really?
You don’t want to get possessive on the first date, but there's really no excuse for it. Other than a possible brief mention along the lines of, "I broke up with my last girlfriend six months ago," his ex-girlfriends should not be the topic of discussion at all. Neither should your ex, for that matter. If either of you feels the need to talk about previous relationships and loves on your very first date, and they're constantly on your mind, maybe you shouldn't be dating at all just yet.
10 Keeper: You Can Talk About Anything (Except Exes) - And You Do
You're normally a little cautious - as you should be - on a first date, but somehow you ended up telling this dude your whole life story. The hours flew by and it didn't matter if you met for coffee or a walk in the park or a fancy dinner, you two started talking and didn't stop until several hours later!
This is a great sign. Being able to keep each other entertained with conversation signals a good connection between you. It's also a good omen that a second date could very well be on the cards.
9 Keeper: Body Language - He's Turned Towards You
Body language is important on your first date. You want to know that he’s really into you, and that his interest is genuine and not faked. His body language can tell you much more than his words.
Let's say you meet at a coffee shop or restaurant. Is he sitting with his body and head turned towards you? Or, is he sitting with his body turned away from you, checking out who else is coming through the door, and only turning his head towards you when he speaks to you? We all naturally turn our body towards what our mind is focused on. If he’s always turning and looking away from you, it’s a strong sign that his mind is elsewhere. If, on the other hand, he leans in, or starts to mimic your own body language, it's an excellent indication that you're on the same wavelength, and making a real connection.
8 Keeper: You Laugh At The Same Jokes
It's been just one of those nights. You're not sure when it started, but he said something about the waiter's fake French accent, it got you giggling and the two of you haven't stopped laughing since. In fact, the people at the next table have looked over at you with annoyed expressions more than once because the laughter just goes on and on.
Having the same sense of humor is a great sign that you two are compatible, and worth at least that second date. If you can laugh together, what else will come so easily?
7 Keeper: He Brushes Against You Accidentally, And You Both Smile A Little Nervously
This is a sign of good chemistry. Let's say you've only just met and he bumps into you while you're walking through the door of the coffee shop. Do you stumble and both mutter "Sorry!" feeling embarrassed and awkward about it? Does he make a joke about your clumsiness, and make it sound like it was all your fault? Worse yet, does he become annoyed and say something really sarcastic?
It’s such a minor event, it shouldn’t annoy anyone, or be a question of whose fault it was. On the other hand, if you both smile or laugh at what happened, it means you are already at ease with each other - and if you feel a few nervous butterflies, it is definitely on!
6 Keeper: You Talked Him Into Trying Ethiopian Food For The First Time, And He's Totally Up For It
You like trying new and out of the ordinary things. So, you suggested that new Ethiopian restaurant down the street, and there you are. He clearly does not have a clue what he's ordering, but he's laughing about it, letting you make suggestions and generally having fun with the situation.
Being willing to take a chance on something new for your first date - whether that's something on a restaurant menu, or your slightly eccentric hobby - is a great sign that he's willing to compromise and make decisions with you, not for you.
5 Keeper: He's Making As Much Of An Effort As You Are
You took a lot of care in choosing just the right outfit to wear - casual, but classic - and you can see that he did the same. He initiates topics of conversation as much as you do, and he's pitching in ideas, whether it's where to go next, where to sit and so on. In other words, he's making as much of an effort as you are.
If his answer to everything is "I don't care, you decide," it's a sign of disengagement. When he's making an effort, you can relax and have fun.
4 Keeper: Time Flies By
OMG is it morning already?? It seems like he only just picked you up an hour ago, but suddenly the whole evening has passed by. From the coffee shop to a movie, to a long walk in the park, it's not one single moment you remember out of the rest so much as a happy and relaxed flow of the whole date. All you really do remember is smiling, and that cute look he gets in his eyes when he laughs. Swoon!
When you don't notice the time passing by, it's a terrific sign that the two of you have a real connection.
3 Keeper: You Both Can't Stop Smiling
You're starting to feel a little silly, but you can't help but notice that he has a smile plastered on his face too. By the middle of the date, you find yourself just smiling for no reason you can think of, and as you watch his face - because you are watching his face - you can see that same kind of smile dancing on his lips just out of the blue, while he's staring out into space.
There's an obviously positive vibe you are both responding to. Just run with it!
2 Keeper: You Stare Into Each Other's Eyes And It Feels So Natural
If you catch each other looking straight into each other's eyes, and your immediate response is to pretend that something over his left shoulder is suddenly very interesting, you should ask yourself why. Why are you avoiding his gaze? Eye contact is a good way to gauge how that first date is progressing. A little awkwardness is natural at first, but if it goes on for too long, then there’s probably a deeper problem at work.
If, on the other hand, you find yourself looking directly into each other's eyes as you talk - and even when you aren't talking - without any awkward moments, it's a sure sign that the two of you are comfortable with each other, and things are going better than well.
1 Keeper: At The End Of The Date, You Both Pause
He went all gentleman on you and walked you to your front door. Although you know you both have an early morning the next day, as you pulled your key out of your handbag, you looked at him and saw he was looking at you. You both hesitated.
There's that magic moment where you could be polite and end your date with a smile, or make plans for when you'll get together on the weekend. That mutual eye contact and hesitation before you say anything are unspoken signs that you both don't want the date to end!