Dating is difficult (understatement of the year, I know). It doesn’t matter if you’re 15 or 50, diving headfirst into the dating pool can be terrifying, especially when it comes to first dates. Plus, it seems like there are so many rules you’re supposed to follow — don’t call back too quickly after the date, don’t come off too eager, the list goes on and on. But no matter how many pieces of advice you take from your buddies, first dates almost always have an edge of awkwardness. For yet another set of dating guidelines, here’s a round-up of some awkward first date situations to steer clear of the next time you “put yourself out there.”
Don’t run away from paying the check
“This guy I went out with went ahead in line and paid for himself without a word. I just thought, ‘well I guess we’re going Dutch.'”
– Lisa, 30
“One date left the table when the check came, so I had to pay for his two rounds of drinks.”
– Kate, 23
It’s 2016 and your date doesn’t expect you to pick up the check. But they do expect you won’t make things uncomfortable. Even if your wallet isn’t bursting at the seams, please don’t use a date as a quick way to free drinks. You’re not being sneaky by slipping to the bathroom before the check comesv… you’re just being cheap. And if you want to split the check, simply be cordial and polite. Most people (I can’t speak for everyone out there) won’t be offended you’re not treating, but rather respect you for being clear.
Don’t assume you’re getting lucky
“After our date, this guy asked me if I was cold. I said no since I wasn’t feeling it with him at all. Then he asked me if it was OK if he warmed me up for a little bit. I said ‘uhhhh OK…’ but obviously thought it was weird. He put his arms around while I was calling a Lyft, hoping it would get there fast. Afterwards I looked up and jerked back because something was coming straight for my face. It was his head — he was trying to kiss me. He came back in for a second try, and I figured it would just be a little peck. I was wrong — as soon as his mouth touched mine he shoved his tongue down my throat and just kept shoving it down. It was horrific.”
– Chris, 23
No matter how great you think your date went, don’t assume you’re getting any. That even goes for a goodnight kiss! Do your best to read your date. Are there signs of reserved body language? Eagerness to leave as soon as the date is over? If so, don’t attempt to salvage the night by going in for a wet one. Be respectful of space, and wait for your date make the move if you’re unsure.
Don’t get ahead of yourself
“At the end of a date, we went back to my place. While we were hooking up, he stopped, looked deep into my eyes and asked, ‘What are we?’”
– Annie, 21
Remember that a first date is just that — a FIRST date. After just a few hours together, you shouldn’t expect to slap a label on your newfound relationship. Even if you think you’ve met the your life partner and you’re planning the next five years magical together in your head, keep the excitement to yourself. Rule of thumb: Steer clear of asking questions about your relationship status until you’ve gone on at least a few more dates.
Don’t compare your date to past lovers
“One guy I went out with wouldn’t stop talking about his ex-wife and his terrible divorce. Needless to say, we didn’t go on a second date.”
– Tanya, 41
Whatever you do on a first date … don’t bring up your ex. You may think you’re being complimentary by saying your date isn’t aggravating, difficult, awful (etc.) like your crazy ex. But newsflash: No one wants to hear you complain about past relationships before you’ve even ordered dinner. This comes off as blaring red flag, and a sign that you’re still hopelessly hung up on your ex.
Be thoughtful when planning the date
“One guy took me to a burlesque show, it was so awkward!”
– Monique, 21
“One guy took me to a bar that shows hardcore porn on all of the TV’s. Talk about uncomfortable!”
– Chris, 23
You don’t want to come off as an inconsiderate jerk who didn’t put any thought into your date, do you? If you’re the one picking out the venue, try to be tactful. Don’t take your date somewhere that will be uncomfortable or make you look like a shady dude (i.e. strip club, burlesque show). Instead, opt for a date spot that takes some awkwardness out of the mix — go to a food festival, get your adrenaline pumping at a theme park, or try any of these other great first date ideas.
Don’t criticize your date’s interests
“One of my dates was extremely upset when he found out I’d never seen Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. He the insisted on going back to his place to watch them — and no, that wasn’t a clever move. He actually wanted to watch the movies.”
– Jacqueline, 23
First dates are insecurity-inducing nightmares enough as is, without throwing some unwanted criticism into the mix. Sure, a bit of playful teasing is fun. But since you’re just getting to know this person, you may unknowingly hit a sensitive chord. Try to steer clear of critiquing your date’s interests or hobbies that don’t align with yours. Instead, focus on getting to know more about each other with an open mind. Who knows? You could even get turned on to something totally new.
Don’t be shady about your plans
“Some guy once invited me to a group hang and when I got there he told me that everyone else bailed. Turns out he never invited anyone, it was just a ploy to get me to go out with him.”
– Wendy, 22
While this rule may seem pretty obvious — don’t be misleading. You shouldn’t have to trick your date into going out with you. Instead, be confident! Ask your love interest out and make a concrete date plan, it will bode much better for you in the long run.