First date jitters are a thing, because even when we can swipe right and left to find our dream match, we’re still always hit with a case of nerves when it comes to meeting them outside of our iPhone screens. What we wear, where we go, what we say, if we kiss, how it ends – it’s all a mess of questions that fly around our head as we prep for the big night. You just never know what's going to happen!
So how do you know if you’re going to score that second date? Well, when it comes to first-date turn-offs, it turns out that there are a lot of similarities between what women think are deal-breakers and what men do! Being late? Totally disrespectful. Getting drunk? Totally tasteless. Talking about an ex? Total red flag! Basically, if you don’t want your date doing it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it either! Ensure that you’ll have your phone buzzing with a request to see you again (with an actual, concrete plan) by avoiding these 15 first date turn-offs so that you can embark on the next page of your great romantic life!
15 Bad Manners
If you’re chewing with your mouth open, passing gas at the table, or insulting the waitstaff, you can bet that this first date will be your last. How you behave and treat the people on the periphery of the date (think cab or Uber drivers, waiters, bartenders, cashiers, etc.) is another way you’re making that first impression, even though you might not be engaging directly with your date.
How you act in public places – and how you treat others – says a lot about who you are as a person, which makes it no surprise that a lot of people (both men and women) consider rudeness and bad manners to be dating deal-breakers. When you’re rude to those who are being paid to do a job, or when you’re disrespectful to your date, it's just not good. So please, wipe your mouth, say please and thank you, and just don’t be a d***.
When you’re on a first date, it’s supposed to be a chance to get to know the other person better, not to use it as your own one-woman show. Listing off all your accomplishments and why you’re so great can sound a lot more like you’re sitting down for a job interview rather than a date, which is a major turn-off. Rambling on like you’re delivering your CV can sound like you're insecure about the image you’re presenting to your date, and that you’re trying desperately to make them like you.
All that self-promotion can seem like you don’t care about the person you’re on a date with, because tonight is all about you. When you’re busy telling someone why you’re the best, you’re not exactly starting a dialogue and you’re really just being boring as hell. A date is a two-way street, not a parade dedicated to all things you.
13 Talking About Your Ex
Ugh, this is right up near the top of the list of dating deal-breakers and turn-offs. If you’re on a first date with someone new, why are you bringing up your ex? You’re clearly not over them, or else you wouldn’t even be thinking about them in this situation, much less bringing them up around someone new.
If you’re bringing up your ex on a first date, you’re letting your date know that you’ve already begun comparing the two of them, and seeing how your date is lacking in all areas. Or, if you’re not pining over your ex, you’re complaining about them, which is almost worse, because it gives your date a look at what it’s like to not only date you, but to break up with you, too. Hard pass. Just consider this first date as a blank slate, where no emotional baggage is allowed. If that means you have to abstain from alcohol, do it. Your dignity and mental health will thank you.
12 Not Talking
A conversation requires at least two people to happen successfully, and when you or your date goes radio silent, that date is effectively dead. Maybe you just realized you two have nothing to talk about, or you met them and they weren’t like their picture, so now you’re just waiting an appropriate amount of time before you exit. So it doesn't really matter what you do. But if you actually like your date, do your best to keep the conversation going. Ask questions, give a little bit of info about yourself, whatever. When you’re only responding with one-word answers, you’re effectively telling your date that the night is over, and that is painful for both of you to sit through.
Awkward silences are a fact of life, and definitely a fact of the first date, but try and stay calm, loosen your tongue a little, and relax. If there are no sparks, you can at least know that you tried, rather than stonewalling your date outright.
11 Talking Too Much
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have talking too much! (Don’t worry, there is a happy medium.) If you’re experiencing a case of word-vomit, you’re probably betraying your nerves and insecurity about yourself and how the date is going. Some silence is totally natural, especially when you’re just getting to know each other. If you keep rushing to fill up those silences, you’re risking shutting up your date and eliminating any possible conversation because this date has turned into your personal monologue.
If you’re telling your date your whole life story, it’s definitely way too much, way too soon. Leave a little mystery, but don’t totally clam up! Plus, if you babble through your whole date, it might read like you don’t care about what your date has to say – or your date. Instead, take a minute, pause, and try to find a balance between going mute and talking non-stop.
10 Poor Hygiene
If you’re smelling like you haven’t showered in days, and your hair looks like it was washed with olive oil, don’t be surprised if you don’t get a call or a text the next day. Poor hygiene is known to be a major turn-off for both men and women on a first date, because it says a lot about how much you value yourself. If you can’t be bothered to brush your teeth or clean the gunk out from under your nails, they can only imagine what nastiness is lurking underneath your clothes!
No one wants to get with a bag of garbage, and if you pride yourself on being a hot mess, you might want to clean up your look for your first date first impression. And please – actually clean yourself. Take a shower instead of using baby wipes, wear deodorant and not just perfume, and remember to brush your damn teeth because gum does not cover up that stank!
9 Checking Out Other People
That bartender is H-O-T, and he looks way better than the guy you met here, but should you really be ogling him throughout your date? Probably not. I’m not saying you need to fake interest in a date that is going nowhere, but if your wandering eye is getting in the way of your date, maybe you should reevaluate what it is you’re looking for.
The same can be said of your date! If the guy you’re out with can’t stop checking out the busty waitress over at the next table, it would bug you too! Gauging your options while you’re out with someone else is another example of bad behavior and disrespect that can blacklist you from that person forever. If you’re not feeling any chemistry between you and your date, come back later to hit up that hot bartender, but at least give your date the rest of the time you've already allotted (unless he's a total jerk), because it's the polite thing to do.
8 Being Tied To Your Phone
Is your phone basically attached to your hand? You’re not alone, but in our tech-savvy society, being on your phone during a first date is a huge turn-off for men and women alike. Whether you’re pausing dinner to snap the perfect, Instagram-worthy photo, or texting other people during the date, being on your phone all the time can read like you’re disconnected and disengaged from wherever you are and whoever you’re with. It’s another example of your bad prioritizing and bad manners when you choose your phone friends over your physical date, and it’s something you need to stop – now.
If you feel like the temptation is too hard to resist, leave your phone in your purse, or only look at it when you excuse yourself to go to the bathroom. Giving your date your full attention is the only way you can really determine how you feel about them, and if your eyes are glued to your phone, you can’t get a fair assessment.
7 Constant Complaining
The waiter was too slow, the people were too loud, the food was cold or late or bad. Whatever issues you have with your date, if you’re complaining non-stop, it can seem like you’re constantly dissatisfied with everyone and everything around you. If that’s the case, how can your date expect to ever get on your good side?
On a date, we try and put our best self forward, and is your best self really someone who goes all Goldilocks about things being too hot or too cold (or too whatever else)? If you’re being a Negative Nancy on a first date, that’s how this guy is going to assume you are all the time, and no one wants to be around someone who finds fault with everything and nitpicks the tiniest details. If you’re really not having a good time, find a polite way to cut things short, otherwise put on your best brave face and quit whining already!
6 Getting Drunk
Hey, we all like to let loose and have a good time every now and then! If that means an extra glass of wine or two at night, who cares? However, if you’re out on a first date and trying to calm your jitters with your favorite pinot, you might want to watch out before slipping into sloppy drunk girl territory.
If you’re out on a first date and your only goal is to get hammered, maybe you should hit up your girls instead of this person you’ve only just met. When you get past the point of tipsy, you might give the guy the wrong impression of you, which is that he’s only a few glasses away from getting whatever he wants – or a few glasses away from you turning into some cabernet-fueled, fight-picking monster. You’re throwing your date out the window because you’re all about having a good time at the expense of the evening, or drinking to forget the whole thing before it’s over. Either way, not a good look.
5 Being Late
No one likes waiting around. It doesn’t matter if it’s in line, in traffic, or waiting for someone – waiting sucks, period. Waiting for someone to show up on a first date is one of the worst things and biggest turn-offs, because you’ve already let your date know that you’re either a) scatterbrained, b) constantly in a rush, or c) just careless. Of course, there are always extenuating circumstances, like you ran into an accident on your way over, or you happened to bump into Ryan Reynolds and needed to get his autograph and a quick selfie (that happens, and is totally legit). But, if you’re just late because you didn’t plan your night properly, you’re letting your date know that you’re both high-maintenance and selfish. High-maintenance because all your primping to get ready took too long, and selfish because you didn’t even call or text to let him know. Being late to a date is just a big no-no.
4 Being Controlling
You need to have a certain type of wine, you don’t eat gluten by choice, you have to sit in this row at the theater, you can’t go anywhere with overhead lighting, you want to order for the two of you because you know what food this restaurant does best. If any of these things sound like something you would say, you might be a bit too controlling, which is a big N-O in the dating department.
If you feel the need to fuss over every little thing, you’re just letting your date know early on that you’ll be the type of person to nag over every detail in a relationship (read: so not fun). When everything has to be your way, you’re not committing to the give and take of a relationship or a date, and your controlling nature is a pretty clear sign that the only person you’re equipped to date is you and you alone.
If you have a mouth like a sailor, don’t be surprised if your date cuts and runs earlier than you expected. Turns out a lot of guys are not a fan of a salty mouth, because they see it as a symbol of low intelligence – definitely not hot, no matter how many magazines said you should play dumb to get the guy.
If your vocabulary is limited to cursing to express your feelings, how about picking up a book or learning to speak like a grown-up? It sounds old-fashioned, but a woman who can speak thoughtfully without resorting to using the f-word to explain herself is definitely way more attractive than the girl who is all “f*ck this sh*t”. First dates are usually done with the goal of having more dates afterwards, and if your vocab is making a grown man blush, you can be pretty certain he won’t be inviting you home to meet his fam.
If you’re like a lot of the single world, you’re pretty active on dating apps, which means you have to construct a profile. In the age of computers, it’s pretty easy to lie about yourself online (how do you think Catfish is still on the air?), but once you meet face-to-face, the mystery is partly over.
If you’re lying about your appearance online, you’re betraying your insecurities, and as you know, confidence and owning your look is hot AF. If you’re not a tiny wisp of a thing or some hipster goddess, don’t pretend to be, because if that’s what the guy is looking for, you’ll only disappoint him and depress yourself. Be honest with who you are and what you look like, and enjoy the genuine responses you get. One of the worst feelings is to meet up on a first date and get bummed out because your date doesn’t look like what you were expecting. Lay your cards out on the table, because honesty is vital in the foundation of a strong relationship.
1 Moving Too Fast
Is this a first date, or are you guys getting married? A surefire way to scare off any guy is to start talking immediately about being exclusive, meeting the parents, getting married, and having kids. But – shockingly – it still happens! A lot of women prefer to cut to the chase so they don’t waste their time on another dead-end, but this is a first date, not a review of your five-year plan!
Overwhelming a guy with your preferred baby names or your desire to hunker down in the suburbs as you raise a family is only going to make your date see the word “crazy”, rather than love at first sight. Stop pressuring yourself to have a timeline for the rest of your life, and let things come naturally. If your reason for settling down is because you feel you have to, you’re not settling down – you’re settling.