Dating is hard, even if you’re the most outgoing person in the whole-wide world. And it’s more common to strike out than to actually find someone with whom you actually have a connection. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t generally want to put our best foot forward and make an awesome first impression (we’re only human!). And that entails avoiding some first date habits that are actually rude.
Sometimes (in fact, all times), we’re not even doing these things intentionally. But occasionally nerves can get the best of us and we aren’t quite ourself on that first meetup — even when we think we’re being gracious and flexible.
It also takes two to proverbially tango, so maybe some of the things you’re doing on first dates are just reactions to the other person’s bad habits (like talking too much because the other person isn’t saying anything at all). But just so you can be confident it’s definitely not you, here are a list of 10 bad first-date habits to avoid at all costs.
1Checking your phone.
It is not easy to put your phone down, but unless you’re Olivia Pope and need to be on call to save the fate of America 24 hours a day, you don’t need your phone all the time. Checking our phones can be a nervous tick, so set yourself up for success by putting it in your bag (so it’s not within reach next to your glass of wine or in a pocket).
2Not asking the other person what they want to do.
This totally depends on your personality and the personality of your date. Some people prefer when the other person calls the shots and they don’t have to think too much. But taking total control of a date and planning without asking the other person is just rude. Even if the person says, “you pick the place,” don’t do that without asking if they prefer sushi or Italian. Try to think about what the person might like and what they can afford.
3Avoiding the bill, especially at a place you chose.
Guys shouldn’t have to always pay for the other person on a date when two cisgendered, straight people are out. That’s silly. Always offer to pay for at least half. If they insist on paying for dinner, offer to pay the tip in cash or get the Uber on the way out. Just like you shouldn’t eat out at restaurants if you can’t afford the gratuity, you shouldn’t be going out on dates if you can’t afford it. If you’re broke and a person asks you out, be up front. Tell them you’d rather do something low key, free, or after you get your paycheck next week. They might still insist to cover the costs, but at least you made the gesture!
4Doing all the talking.
We are terrible at this, sometimes, especially when we’re nervous or the other person isn’t all that communicative. But remember to breathe, break, and give your date room to respond or share things about their own lives.
5Interrogating your date.
Wanting to make conversation and get to know someone is what this dating thing is all about, but go easy on the questions! It shouldn’t feel like an interrogation and if someone doesn’t seem like they want to talk about something, let them off the hook and move on. There will be time for all the bonding if you make it through this night.
6Changing the day a ton of times.
Of course, busy schedules are busy schedules, but don’t keep blowing off a date when you don’t have to. Sometimes we might not feel like going out that night, or maybe we had a long day at work, but sticking to a plan shows the other person you’re considerate of their time (just imagine if someone kept doing it to you!). If you really have to cancel, do it within a time frame that respects the other person’s schedule, too.
7Eating off their plate.
If you guys are splitting nachos, obviously dig right in. But don’t nab a fry or ask for a bite on a first date. Save that for the next time. Likewise, forcing someone to try something on your plate isn’t ideal either, even when it’s delicious and you just want them to get it on the action!
8Not respecting the other person’s physical boundaries.
You should never do anything you don’t want to do on a first date, and — in that vein — you should always make sure you’re asking for consent if things get physical (and respecting the other person’s response, no matter what it may be). Some people are very cool with getting busy on the first date, and other’s absolutely are not — make sure you’re respectful of either and everything in between!
9Assuming there’s going to be a second date.
It’s always good to be optimistic, but try not to future drop. It can make the other party feel awkward if they’re still trying to figure out how they feel. (And in case you’re not familiar, “future dropping” is using the word “when” in talking about plans you guys haven’t made yet). Telling them they’ll love meeting your parents, friends, or new puppy can make the other person uncomfortable!
10Not being clear at the end of the date.
This is KEY! Especially when we live in an age where people still seem to believe there are vague “rules” about when to text/call/get in touch, as well as “play the game” (whatever that means!). Tell them you had fun if you had fun and would like to see them again. If you didn’t let them down easy — but CLEARLY. People are tougher than you think!
Don’t be too hard on yourself. The best thing to remember about dating is that you should just be yourself. If they don’t like it, you don’t want to date them anyway!