10 Common First Date Mistakes and How to Avoid Making Them

First dates are hard. There’s a lot of pressure on you to make a good impression on your date and that can really be difficult. Of course, the most important thing to remember when preparing for a first date is to just be yourself. If any of the things on this list go against who you are as a person, ignore them. You want to make a good impression, yes, but you don’t want to give the impression you’re someone other than who you are, for better or for worse. Remember, if the date goes well it may lead to a relationship and you don’t want to start a new relationship on a lie. With all that said, there are a few common first date mistakes that you can avoid so you can increase your chances of having a successful first date. Let’s talk about those first date mistakes now.

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10: Bringing up controversial topics.

I love a great debate. Nothing gets my blood pumping more than a heated conversation about something I’m passionate about. With that said, while I was still on the market, I did my best to avoid controversial subjects on the first date. The first date is about getting to know each other. It’s about seeing if you have chemistry or anything in common. It’s not about getting into an argument about abortion, religion, gay marriage, racism, politics etc. If you love that kind of heated debate and having a partner than can challenge you is important to you, by all means, debate away but maybe save it for the second or third day. My husband and I have little common ground when it comes to politics and the like and had I decided to approach those issues before I knew him as well as I do, I’m not sure things would’ve gone the same way for us.

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09: Not eating or eating too much.

Unless you’re going dutch on a date, you don’t want to order the most expensive thing on the menu. It’s just bad manners. To me, this rule doesn’t just apply to a date though. It should be common practice anytime you go to eat with someone who has offered to pick up the tab. I don’t care if they’re rich or have told you nothing is too expensive. If you want to order the lobster, go back to the restaurant and order it when you’re picking up the tab yourself. Here’s a rule of thumb I like to follow. Ask what they’re ordering, look for it on the menu and order something that is either the same price or less expensive. If they’re ordering the most expensive thing on the menu then by all means, feel free to do the same. And yes, I do the same whether I’m eating with my husband, my friends or my mother. It’s just polite and I always hope anyone I’m picking up the tab for will do the same. On the other hand, you don’t want to sit at the table with your date and nibble away at your food like a dainty bird to look more ladylike. Being ladylike has nothing to do with how much you eat. If your date buys you dinner and you barely eat any of it, it’s almost insulting. If you’re normally a small eater (as I am), mention that and order something you think you can finish.

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08: Trying too hard with your appearance.

Unless your first date is taking place on the red carpet of some Hollywood event, you probably can lay off some of the glam. You should try to look your best, of course, but you also shouldn’t go too overboard with the hair, makeup and outfit. Your first date look should be a slightly more polished version of your typical look. Remember, you want your date to get to know you. Besides that, if you look too ‘made up, you’re sending a negative first impression. Your date may see you as a girl who cares about how she looks but your date may also see you as insecure or high maintenance. Just relax. Play up your strong points modestly. Wear something that compliments your figure but doesn’t show off a lot of skin. Showing a lot of skin on a first date is a big no-no. You’ll look easy and desperate, not sexy and alluring.

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07: Going on about your ex.

Talking about your ex tells your date that your ex is still on your mind which is turn makes your date question whether or not you’re ready to move on. Your ex doesn’t have to be completely off limits, of course but keep the mentions to a minimum. This is probably going to be hard if you’re young or if you’ve only really been in one relationship because chances are, your ex will be a big part of your history and most of the stories you have to tell – good or bad – will involve your ex in one way or another. Try to find other ways to talk about your experiences without relying too heavily on stories that involve your ex. If that isn’t really working for you, and you find yourself talking about your ex, make a joke of it. Your date will see that you recognize it and are willing to joke about it.

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06: Spending too much time focusing on your relationship goals.

A know a lot of women who are guilty of this one but I know a few men who have the same problem. They sit down for the first date and immediately start talking about where they would like the date to end up.  “My family is going to love you.” “I want three kids before …” “I want to be married by the time I’m …” Now, being honest is always a great idea, as is being upfront about what you want out of a relationship but save that for the third or fourth date. Your date could be exactly who you’re looking for but they also might be scared off by your honesty. Get to know your date first and then talk about your goals for the relationship.

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05: Talking about yourself too much or not enough.

This is a big one and it’s one a lot of people – male and female – do. Give your date a chance to talk about their job, their family and the things they’re interested in. Try not to relate every story they tell to yourself in some way. If you’re worried you’re talking about yourself too much, turn it around by making a quick joke about it and then ask your date some questions about themselves. Ask about their family, their hobbies and things that they enjoy. If you have anything in common, don’t be afraid to point it out. You don’t want to relate every story your date tells back to you because you might make yourself look self centered. It’s okay to just laugh at some of their stories. It’s okay to ask them questions and let them answer. At the same time, you do want to talk about yourself a bit. You should be trying to get to know each other on the first date. Answer the questions your date may ask honestly, share a funny anecdote or two about your family or your job and just let the conversation flow naturally.

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04: Looking uninterested in your date.

Texting, taking phone calls, fussing with your hair, fixing your makeup every few minutes – all of these things make you look like you’re not interested in your date or what your date is talking about. Fussing with your hair and makeup can also make you seen vain and self-centered. If you have a job that requires you to be available for emergencies at all times or if you have children or a sick relative you care for that may mean you have to be contacted in case of emergency, make sure your date knows that. If you don’t need to be reached in case of emergency, turn the cell phone off. It’ll be hard for both of you to ignore a ringing phone and will make for an awkward situation between you, your date and your phone.

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03: Drinking too much.

Having a drink can be a great way to calm those first date nerves but there is definitely a line that should not be crossed. If you are the type of girl that has a hard time distinguishing how many drinks is too many, you might want to skip that calm down drink. If you absolutely need that first drink to keep your nerves under control, make sure you stop at one. Getting drunk sends a bad first impression. It’s great to relax and have fun and if you have the self control to stop after you get a good buzz, go ahead. If you know you don’t have that self control though, you’re really going to want to take it easy.

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02: Getting down and dirty on the first date.

Let’s be honest, this one can be hard to stick to – especially if the first date goes well. Try your hardest to resist that temptation though. The kiss goodnight is fine but don’t let it go further than that. Some men just won’t respect a woman that goes all the way on the first date. Other men may feel you don’t respect yourself. Other men still may not really change their opinion of you either way and may just understand that the chemistry was good, the attraction was there and you went for it but isn’t it better to play it on the safe side. If you like the guy, it’s just better to wait a little while.

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01: Trying to be someone you aren’t.

These rules are intended to help you avoid first date mistakes but in the end, all of these rules can be broken if they’re asking you to do something that doesn’t feel comfortable for you. As I said it number 5, the first date is about getting to know each other. How can your date get to know you if you’re acting like someone other than who you are. If the date is successful, it could lead to a relationship. If you show your date who you really are – even if you’ve broken most or all of the rules on this list, and they still want to see you again, you can at least be sure they’re interested in who you really are instead of who you’re pretending to be. This could very well make for a far more harmonious relationship down the line.