First dates can be a whirlwind of emotions — excitement, nervousness and hope all wrapped into one. It's a chance to make a great first impression, but it's also an opportunity to make mistakes that can quickly derail the potential for a meaningful connection.
So, what are the common pitfalls to avoid on a first date? Here are the "Lucky 13" first date no-nos to steer clear of:
1. Phone Faux Pas: Even if your phone is turned upside down, it’s still a distraction. Unless expecting an urgent call (which you should simply share with your date—no biggie), keep the device out of sight and mind. Let your date know they have your undivided attention. Even glancing at an Apple watch can sway the tone of the date if it takes you out of the present.
2. Ex Marks the Spot: Talking about your ex is a no-go territory. Regardless of whether the feelings are positive or negative, this topic might give the impression you're not over your past relationship. And how you—or your date—speak about an ex can be very telling.
3. Time-Keeping Trouble: If you're running late, notify your date beforehand. It’s that simple. “Hi Sam! Looking forward to seeing you shortly. I’m running about five minutes behind. Sorry about that!” Respect their time and show them that you value their commitment.
4. Rudeness Red Alert: Being rude to waitstaff, or anyone for that matter, doesn't sit well. Show your best self by being kind to everyone around you. Remember the manners your grandma taught you—“please” and “thank you” go a long way.
5. Overindulging on Drinks: Too much alcohol can impair judgment and potentially lead to regrettable decisions or conversations. Limit your drinking and use your best judgment.
6. Work Woes: While work is a common topic (I mean, we do spend so many hours there!), don't let it completely dominate the conversation so that it feels like a business meeting or networking session. Keep the conversation light, interesting and diverse.
7. Bad Breath: This one is self-explanatory. Good oral hygiene (and hygiene in general—an iron will take you far) can leave a lasting impression.
8. Marriage Talk: Avoid discussing past, present or future marriages. It's a topic best left for later dates… much later dates.
9. Under-Tipping: Tipping generously shows you appreciate the service and gives a positive impression about your character.
10. Self-Absorbed Tendencies: Make sure the conversation is a two-way street. Give your date the chance to express themselves and show genuine interest in their stories. Ask questions of your date… and actually listen to the answers before jumping in with your own stories to one-up them.
11. Being Fake: Authenticity goes a long way. Be yourself and let your date decide if you're the right fit for them. I once went on a date who hated my puns (“I don’t want to taco bout it.” “O-queso… what now?”) Oh well! He just wasn’t for me, but at least I was my true self.
12. Flipping the “Off” Switch: If you're not into your date, stay present and respectful. You never know what you might learn or gain from the experience.
13. Lack of Courtesy: Be polite, respectful, and considerate. Small acts of kindness can make a big difference.
First dates can be nerve-wracking, but by avoiding these common missteps, you can increase your chances of creating a memorable and positive experience. Stay authentic, be respectful, and remember to enjoy the moment. Every first date is an opportunity to meet someone interesting—nothing more, nothing less.
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