Nothing is guaranteed to get those shivers of anticipation and shudders of fear going in equal amounts as the first date. It could be the start of something amazing, or a moment that you both fervently wish never happened. Even worse, you can find yourself believing it went perfectly, and then never hear from the other person again, as if they suddenly dropped off the face of the planet.
We’ve all been there to a greater or lesser degree, and it can be very easy to get lost in over-analysing everything. So, to save us all some time, here are the five most common mistakes that we all tend to make on first dates – and most importantly what you can do to avoid making them.
1. Don’t drink too much – the temptation is always strong to have a drink or two to loosen up, and while it never hurts to get over those initial flutters it can be all too easy to go overboard. Consider giving alcohol a miss if you’re not sure of your limits and get to know each other sober before going bananas next time.
2. Don’t talk over them – dates are all about conversation and communication, but if you’re the only one talking then you’re killing your own chances of being asked out again. Let them ask questions, find out their interests and see both your enjoyment of the date grow. How else are you going to find out if you’ve got anything in common, or indeed if they’re actually not someone you want to spend time with? If you’ve spent the whole date not letting them talk, how would you find out they love music you just can’t stand?
3. Don’t fiddle with your phone. Yes, smartphones are wonderful things, capable of putting you in touch with people around the globe and displaying all the best cat memes you could ever want, but you’re on a date. There is very little that annoys people more than seeing the person who professes to want to spend time with them being constantly on the phone, texting and messaging friends or scanning through Tumblr. Put your phone down, preferably on silent – or vibrate if there’s a message you’re expecting and can’t afford to miss. Your friends can wait until after the date to find out how amazing or awful this person is.
4. Don’t have bad manners. We’re not saying you need to conduct your date by rigid rules, but we all know when we’ve crossed the line. Don’t eat food with your hands unless it’s meant to be. Keep your mouth closed while you’re chewing your food. Say thank you and cut down on the swearing a bit, at least until you’ve worked out what your respective boundaries are. Definitely don’t start a burping competition. If you’re not sure about things, why not go have a chat with one of your parents – they’ve probably told you to get your arms off the table enough times to have a few pearls of wisdom to share.
5. Don’t talk about your exes. The number of times people breach this rule is amazing. Exes are exes for a reason and it’s not just annoying in a date, but is generally not enjoyed at any time by those around you. If you’ve made the decision to get out there and meet new people, the last thing you should be talking about is the person or people in your past. No one wants to be compared to an ex, even if you think it’s a favourable comparison. To avoid this, think about some possible conversation-starters before you actually get to the date, and that way you’ve got something to fill any awkward silences when the conversation ebbs a bit.