5 little red flags that are totally valid reasons to cancel a first date before it happens

Given the turbulent waters that swirl the proverbial dating pool, those among the single and seeking crowd consider themselves fortunate to find someone who’s actually dateable. It can be really exciting to exchange contact info and look forward to a first date — until a red flag stops you dead in your tracks.

So now there’s the not-so-small dilemma of how to cancel a first date without coming off like a total jerk. But you can worry about that later (if at all). Right now, what’s most important is that you know that backing out of a first date is always an option, particularly when your romantic prospect is causing your creep-o-meter to go off before you even have your first official meet-and-greet.

Regardless of what standard dating etiquette says, please do not go on the first date and hope for the best if your instincts are telling you to bail. And don’t feel obligated to ignore your intuition and go out with someone you know you’re not interested in just because it’s been forever since you’ve gone out with anyone, and you have no idea when/if it’ll ever happen again.

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Desperation doesn’t look good on anyone, and it’s definitely not an excuse to ignore red flags before the first date even happens.

1They’ve canceled on you a couple times before.

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And you, being a nice and patient individual, went ahead and rescheduled again because you believe in giving second (and maybe even third) chances. But there comes a time when you have to ask yourself how many times your potential date can cancel before you move on to another prospect. They could be genuinely busy or really nervous about taking you out, but either way, it’s a red flag that you should totally take at face value.

2Your date wants you to make all the plans.

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Even if you’re someone who’s really big on planning, this is a pre-first date red flag that simply cannot be ignored. A person’s dating style says a lot about them, and if it involves shifting all the responsibilities to you, feel free to cancel this outing and go out with someone who wants the date to be a collaborative effort instead of allowing someone else to do all the work.

3Your almost-first date sends you an extremely awkward text.

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To the point that you’re seriously wondering why you even decided to go out with this person in the first place. It’s totally your choice to give them a chance to make a better impression in person, but if you just can’t get over the cringe-worthy convo, cancel and don’t look back.

4Or *too* many texts.

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Srsly, if they’re already inundating you with “Good morning” messages or a barrage of “WYD” texts every five seconds and you haven’t even gone out yet, we can only see the cling factor increasing tenfold if you actually do hang out with them. Save yourself from being smothered, and thank your lucky stars that you have the sense to cancel this trainwreck of a date in advance.

5You find something questionable on their social media profiles.

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Before anyone side-eyes us, there is absolutely nothing wrong with lurking online to dig up potential dirt on a person you’re about to date for the first time. In fact, you owe it to yourself to do thorough research on your date beforehand so you can determine whether it’s even worth the effort (or your fab date night outfit).

If your online sleuthing results don’t turn up anything, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not fishy. However, if you stumble upon a photo of your soon-to-be date snuggled up with another person with the caption #WCE and a bunch of kissy face and heart emojis, consider them and the first date #cancelled.