Let’s face it: not every first date is a match made in heaven, even if you’ve gone to the trouble of using an online dating website to find a partner. You aren’t always going to click with everyone you meet. Some people may bore you, and others may have some annoying tic you just can’t see past. In any case, you may have fallen victim to one of these bad first date cliches.
Here are 7 ways to surely $&@# up your first date:
1. Falling in Love with Yourself: Imagine dinner table banter as a balance: if one side outweighs the other, the result is self-interest. For example, if the conversation revolves around his nice cars or worldly experiences, he should ask more questions. However, if the conversation focuses on her obsession with 50 Shades of Grey or Ryan Gosling’s body, then she should engage his interests.
2. Falling in Love with Your Phone: Buzz, buzz. “What’s that noise?” Buzz, buzz. “Is that a fly?” Buzz, buzz. “Did you just update your Facebook status?” Buzz, buzz. “Oh, you’re live tweeting our date…”
Phones should always be put on silent. Period. Undivided attention is mandatory for a first date–anything less can be deemed as disinterest and is downright rude. If a call is urgent, simply excuse yourself from the table.
3. Inaccurate Profiles: Does your hair look different from your picture, as in there is a lot less of it? Are you 6 feet tall before or after you put on your shoes? Are your profile pictures from this century or the last? Did he/she have trouble recognizing you in the restaurant? If any of these questions applied to you in the slightest, then congrats! You’re officially either dishonest or insecure–none of which bodes well with the opposite sex.
4. Treating him like an ATM: Just because he compensated you for your time, does not make him Mr. Bank of America. He was generous enough to prove his interest, so please focus on him and not his wallet.
5. Treating her like a “Sure Thing”: Just because she accepted your offer, does not make her a willing escort. She granted you the opportunity of a first date, not the opportunity to immediately undo her dress.
6. Small Gestures, Big Results: Open doors for her, hold out her chair and don’t talk with your mouth full. These are standard. But there are lesser-known manners that won’t go unnoticed: standing up every time she leaves and arrives at the table, maintaining eye contact during exchanges and leading her (either by gently holding her hand or placing your hand on her back) as you both leave the restaurant.
7. Save the Snark: A cynical approach to any subject can be humorous–in doses. Being overly sarcastic will be interpreted as judgmental and condescending. Also keep in mind that you are part of a first date, not a political debate. Trying to always be right never accomplishes anything. If you lose, the date fizzles. If you win, well, the date still fizzles. Always agree to disagree, move on to another subject and actively search for common interests.
So what do you do when you can’t stand the person sitting across from you? Do you duck out when she goes to the bathroom? Do you have your friend call the restaurant with a faux emergency you have to attend to?
I’ve looked at some of the ways in which things can go wrong when using an online dating website to set up a first date – in the next blog post, I’ll give some advice on some slick and subtle ways to end the date early without being offensive.
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