If You're Doing This on Your First Date, You're Not Getting a Second
Dating has certainly changed since the world became tech-savvy. With the advent of smart phones, dating apps, and social media, making that awkward first move is not nearly as tough as it used to be. But, once you've both agreed to go on a first date, how do you make sure you get a second? (See also: Find Love With These Fun and Frugal First Date Ideas)
The following behaviors will guarantee that your first date will almost certainly be your last. Oh, and these apply to both men and women, so don't kid yourself that some of these don't concern you.
Turning Up Late
Leave your date chewing on breadsticks for 45 minutes without so much as a call or text message, and two things will happen. First, if your date has been polite enough to stick around, you'll be sitting through the most painful hour of your year. And second, you will not be making plans to do this again. Ideally, you should show up five minutes early. If you are going to be considerably late through no fault of your own, let your date know. If it is your own fault (and really, it always is), apologize but perhaps cushion the blow with something flattering ("I wanted to look really nice for you and completely lost track of time.") (See also: How to Always Be On Time)
Paying Too Much Attention to Your Cell Phone
Really, paying any attention to your cell phone. This is supposed to be a time when you only have eyes for each other. Constantly pulling out your phone to check messages, read Facebook updates and scroll through Reddit and Twitter will not make you very popular. Why would anyone want to give you a second date if you can't put them first for a few hours?
Getting Completely Drunk
Hey, first dates can be nerve-wracking, and a glass of wine or beer can definitely ease the tension. However, you cannot let a few drinks turn into a bender. If you start knocking back the booze like it's ice water in a heat wave, you will come across as an irresponsible jerk that cannot be trusted. You also do not look attractive when you're face down in the dessert and drooling like you've just had major dental surgery. Do yourself a favor. Have one or two drinks, and stop.
Turning the Date Into 20 Questions
First thing's first; people love talking about themselves. So, if you ask questions that get people to open up and talk about their favorite subject, you'll be doing well. Being a good listener is a very attractive quality, and asking about someone's life is just as becoming. But, you can go too far.
If it goes from "tell me more about the kind of work you do" to "how much do you earn?" "how many dates have you been on this year?" and "do you vote Republican or Democrat?" your date is going to feel like they're being interviewed for the role of your next partner. That's a big turn off. To curb this, try to make sure the questions you're asking are open-ended, and follow on what was asked before, as opposed to running down a pre-planned checklist.
Talking About Sex
Flirting is good. Being lecherous is bad. This is a first date, and you should be on your best behavior. By all means respond to the signals you're getting in an appropriate manner, but have some decorum. By diving into the subject of sex, you're giving the impression that you're only after one thing. Even if you both decide that the first date will also be your first intimate encounter, there's no need to become aggressive with it. Show some class.
Both men and women should come to the date expecting to pay for half of it. This is not the dark ages, both sexes deserve equal treatment, and no one should just sit there expecting the other person to dive into their pocket and pay for everything. If the other person wants to pay, by all means acquiesce politely to their wishes. But being cheap is as off-putting as being drunk. You should show your date consideration. Dating can be expensive, and if you are both willing to meet up, you should both be willing to share the costs.
Bringing Your Buddy
There's not really much to say about this. You may have your doubts about the person you're meeting, and you may also want your best friend to give them the once-over. However, there is a time and a place for that kind of consultation, and it is not on the first date. Bring yourself to the date, and no one else.
Focusing On Your Ex
We all have horror stories about our past. We have also had dream dates. Neither should really be discussed unless the conversation naturally turns to it. Even then, it's good to treat an ex the same way you would a former employer in a job interview. Acknowledge them, but move on quickly. If you stay focused on a bad ex, your date may just wonder if you were the problem. If you go on and on about a great ex, they may feel they can never live up to that ideal.
Playing It Too Cool
There's cool. There's aloof. And there's just plain rude. By all means, dull your enthusiasm a little. You don't want to come across as a desperate eager puppy just dying to go home with someone and be their partner forever. But then the whole "I'm so cool I could freeze hell" routine won't cut it either. "Where would you like to go for dinner?" should not be answered with "hey, whatever, I don't really care." Be happy to be there, just not so happy your kittens are having kittens.
Being Keener Than Mustard
Perhaps even worse than being too cool for school is being an eager beaver. You turn up for the date with armfuls of gifts, and have pre-arranged for a string quartet to play your date's favorite song (which you found out by cyber-stalking them). It's just too creepy, and honestly, no one wants to be around someone that desperate (even if that is not your intention). Ease off on the gas. By all means show that you're happy to be around, but if you could be a contestant on The Price Is Right, you might want to think about toning down your hyperactivity.
So, what first date mistakes have you made? What about mistakes your date made? Please share in comments!