There aren’t many feelings that can be compared to the combination of nerves and excitement you get before a first date. A good way to keep the focus on fun and ensure your pre-date anxiety doesn’t get the best of you is to take the time to prepare a little bit beforehand.
While something like writing out conversation topics on notecards might be over-the-top, putting some thought into how you want to present yourself and what you want to talk about will help the date go well on both ends. Even more important, perhaps, is making sure you know what not to do to kill a date before it has a chance to take off.
Here are a few of the biggest “don’ts” of a first date to put on your “avoid at all costs” preparation list!
Show up late.
Barring not showing up at all, there’s pretty much no worse way to start off a date than by showing up late. Being late is disrespectful to your date, implying that you don’t value their time. Plan to get to arrive a few minutes early for good measure. If extenuating circumstances are making you run behind, at least call or text to let them know.
Check your phone.
Constantly texting, checking social media, or even just looking at your phone during a date is incredibly rude, disrespectful, and downright annoying. Your full attention should be going to your date and trying to get to know them better. Keep your phone in your pocket/purse, or set it face down on the side of the table to show them they have your interest.
Under or overdress.
On a first date (or any date really), you want to put effort into your appearance, but not overdo it and seem like you’re trying too hard to impress. Plan to dress for the venue—a nice dress or slacks with button down for a fine restaurant, or a casual shirt and jeans for a coffee shop. Make sure to groom yourself too, i.e., shower, brush your hair, brush your teeth, etc., to look polished.
Talk about your ex.
Bringing up an ex or past relationship issues on a first date is a huge no, serving only to make you both feel awkward and uncomfortable. You don’t want to seem like you’re hung up on someone else or have a lot of unresolved baggage and turn off a new potential partner. This can make them feel like they’re being compared to your ex right off the bat.
Be rude to wait staff.
How you treat waiters, valets, and other service staff says a lot about who you are as a person. If your date sees you doing that, they’re likely to think that you could very well start treating them like that down the line. Be kind, courteous, and respectful not just to your date, but to anyone you encounter together.
Take over the conversation.
Conversation hogging and constantly interrupting are two big red flags on a first date. Both of these habits make you seem narcissistic and like you don’t care about your date or have any interest in getting to know them. Make a conscious effort to ask your date questions about themselves, listen to what they say, leave room for them to talk, and continue conversation topics they pursue.
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