Mistakes to Avoid on a First Date

‍I love a good success story, especially a successful love story. ‍

But very rarely do we hear “it was love at first sight” or “I knew they were the one after the first date.” Because let’s face it, most first dates aren’t that great. 

Even if they go well and you end up hitting it off with your date, it’s still a night filled with anxiety and awkwardness. And if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, they’re lying. Or married. 

It is possible to have a more tolerable first date though!

I’m not saying that you’re a bad dater, but if you’re doing one or more of the following things during a first date (or the second or third), you might have to consider that it’s you that’s to blame for a string of cringey first dates.

Let’s fix that with these tips. 

1. Treating the date like an interview

If you walk into a restaurant with a notepad, a pen and a string of questions that sound like you’re preparing for your next hire, you’re doing something wrong. 

I know we all have those classic first date questions, there’s nothing wrong with covering the basics! But when the conversation goes from “what’s your sign?” to “what’s your five year plan?” I think it’s time to reconsider your conversation starters. 

If there’s good chemistry, the conversation should flow naturally! If your date has you itching for your pre-planned list of things to talk about, maybe they aren’t the guy or gal for you. The first date is supposed to be your chance to see if there’s a connection, and no interview-esque atmosphere will provide that. 

2. Spending too much time on your phone

Unless you want to send your date vibes that you’re disinterested or bored, avoid this at all costs. There’s nothing more aggravating than trying to hold a conversation with someone that can’t disconnect from their phone. You’ve both put time and effort into being there for a date, so why waste it? 

If you must check your phone (sometimes mothers won’t be ignored and your boss needs a reply), just be honest with your date and tell them why. Or excuse yourself to the washroom and send a quick text. 

3. Talking about yourself too much

I hate talking about myself, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. And as if self-absorbed chatter-boxes can smell that on me, I've been subjected to many one-sided conversations. They suck. They’re awful. They need to be avoided. 

While it’s great if you feel comfortable enough to disclose any and all details about yourself, it’s important to keep the conversation 50/50.

It takes two to tango, after all.

There’s nothing wrong with being the person that leads the conversation, but no one needs to hear about your first time visiting Florida in explicit detail. Make sure you’re asking your date open-ended questions and asking further questions about the things that interest you. You’re both there to get to know each other, after all. 

4. Picking a boring date idea and ending up disappointed when it was, in fact, a boring date

There are so many neat and interesting activities to do with a date! It doesn’t have to be a simple movie and dinner venue. In fact, if you’re looking for date ideas and you live in the Montreal area, check these out! You know, when it’s legal to go outside again. 

Time is important here, too. Do you really want to meet up after an exhausting day at work? Or on your lunch break on a time crunch? Sounds like a hard pass to me. 

5. Being negative 

No one likes a Negative Nancy, you just gotta trust me on this. If almost everything that comes out of your mouth has a negative connotation to it, you’re going to turn people off. Even if it’s simple things, like complaining about the weather or temperature, it all adds up. And people will take notice. First dates are all about first impressions, after all.

We all have rough days, and even small things can weigh on us. But that’s not an excuse to put that on other people, especially not a date you’re looking to get to know and get romantic with. Keep things light and positive and see how your night or day changes!

6. Talking about your ex

There are a lot of cringey things on this list, but this may just be the cringiest. Unless you’re directly asked, I can’t think of a single reason as to why you should bring up an ex partner. It’s a lose-lose situation: you either look like you haven’t moved on and are still into them or you look cruel while speaking poorly of someone you used to care for. It’s tacky and we hate it. 

7. Being late

If you’re someone, like myself, that prides themselves on being at least five minutes early to everything, you know how much effort goes into being someplace at a set time. That’s why when people show up late to something it’s viewed as inconsiderate and rude. Worse yet when you’re late to a date. 

First dates are all about first impressions, right? So why not do the bare minimum and show up on time? You may be surprised where it gets you. 

8. Having poor manners 

This includes, and is not limited to: treating the wait staff or other workers poorly, interrupting people, and chewing with your mouth open. Being polite and kind is never not going to be cool. 

9. Talking about your “perfect” partner

My friend once told me this story about an awful first date she went on. She said that on the date, the guy she was with explained in ridiculous detail what he was looking for in a girl and how my friend might not check all his boxes.

He had everything on that check list: from hair colour (he only swiped right on blondes) to income (ideally, she’d bring home between $45k to $65k). Needless to say, they never saw each other again. I shudder just thinking about it.

First of all, you’re never going to meet the “perfect” person. They simply don’t exist. We’re all flawed and trying our best and irrevocably human. When you do find someone that you love and want to spend all your days with, you won’t be thinking about that perfect person you conjured up in your head years ago, trust me. Throw the template out. 

10. Bragging

I’ll cut to it: it’s a turn-off. The way I see it, it either makes your date feel poorly about what they have or have done or it turns into a competition about who has more and has done more. It’s nice to mention that you’ve visited Italy, but you date doesn’t need to hear about how much you spent to stay in your hotel or that you flew first class. 

Talking about your income, possessions and what you’re “just the best at” can be a slippery slope. A slope that you should probably avoid. 

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