11 Mistakes That Will Tank Your First Date

Going on a first date can feel like walking a tightrope: You’re trying to impress her without coming on too strong—or worse, looking desperate. You want to seem smart but not condescending. Funny but not obnoxious. You don’t want to talk about trivial matters, but at the same time, know you can’t delve into anything too serious. Politics, religion, and past partners are all off the table. There are so many rules!

While you’re in your head trying to figure out what to say (and wondering if you fully wiped off all that spaghetti sauce from your beard), you also need to actively listen to your date in order to respond appropriately. If you don’t respond well to what she’s saying, then the date is surely going to be a bust.

This is why a lot of guys get nervous on a first date and end up blowing it. Not to worry, we spoke with a few relationship experts about the most common mistakes guys make on a first date, and how to avoid them. While some of these mistakes may seem trivial, but let’s face it: It’s a first date. You don’t get a lot of leeway to mess things up when there’s no established relationship.

With that in mind, here’s how to avoid 11 common first date mistakes so you can ace your first impression—and schedule a second date before the waiter brings out dessert. (And if you’re struggling to come up with a solid first date idea, check out our list of 40 first date ideas that will make you look like a creative genius.)

1. Keep Your Hands to Yourself

Flashpop

You might think that touching her a lot on the first date shows that you’re into her. Not the case, says relationship expert April Masini of AskApril.com. What you’re actually showing her is that you’re super-touchy on every first date. Way to make a girl feel special, right?

Avoid the pitfall: “On a first date, touch should be limited and only natural, friendly, and warm—not sexual,” says Carole Lieberman, M.D., author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. In other words, it’s fine to take her hand to help her out of your car, or put your hand on her lower back to lead her through a crowded restaurant. But don’t drape your arm around her neck and hold her close the entire time.

2. Make It a Two-Way Conversation

Henrik Sorensen

Sure, you have to tell her about yourself, but dominating the conversation by rambling about your life will make you look narcissistic. Or worse: By not showing any interest in her, it can seem like you’re just waiting for the date to be over so you can get her into bed, Dr. Lieberman says.

Avoid the pitfall: What will impress her even more than learning about your accomplishments is seeing that you’re genuinely interested in hearing about her. If you’re not sure where to start, her job is usually a good bet. “Women love knowing that you take their work and ambitions seriously,” Dr. Lieberman says. “Ask her about what made her go into her career, and what she plans or wants to accomplish. Find out why it’s important to her.”

3. Don’t Drop the F-Bombs

Portra

Some women may love bad boys, but swearing like a sailor doesn’t make you Charlie Hunnam. “Cursing gets old very quickly,” Dr. Lieberman says. “It makes it look like you’re trying to be cool.”

Avoid the pitfall: This one is easy: Curb the cursing habit now, in anticipation of all your future first dates (and job interviews, and other non-sailing situations), Dr. Lieberman says. It’s too difficult to just turn off a habit for a few hours, so eliminate four-letter words from your everyday vocabulary.

4. Leave Your Rolodex at Home

Merlas

If you spend the date dropping names, as in: “I know the guy who created Angry Birds,” or “I text Jason Mamoa,” then you sound like a try-hard who needs celebrity clout to impress her. (But hey, could we get Jason’s number?) And if you tell long stories about your friends and their shenanigans, you’ll bore her to death.

Avoid the pitfall: Check yourself before you name-drop—it almost never sounds good, Masini says. As for that story about your buddies’ epic trip to Tijuana, save reliving your glory days for when you’re back together with them.

5. Be a Gentleman

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Women today don’t need over-the-top chivalry, but that doesn’t mean you should slack on your manners. Letting the door slam in her face, talking down to waiters, and spending the entire date glued to your phone are all behaviors that she won’t find attractive.

Avoid the pitfall: “No matter how modern she is, a woman wants doors held open for her,” Dr. Lieberman says. “She also wants you to have good table manners.” At the very least, you should try to be the gentleman your mother raised you to be. And a general rule for every date: Stay off your phone.

6. Curb Any Excessive Enthusiasm

William Perugini

Giddiness doesn’t read as enthusiasm on a first date—it reads as anxiety, according to psychologist Tracy Thomas, Ph.D. “You end up sending the message that you’re uncomfortable with yourself, and unable to self-regulate,” Thomas explains. In other words, you look like a nervous wreck, and she’s going to bail.

Avoid the pitfall: If you tend to get too giddy, plan a date with a distraction so that you’re not on the spot for suave conversation the entire time, Dr. Lieberman says. Some good options to take the pressure off: a play or a concert. You’ll still have the opportunity to talk, just not as much.

7. Go for (Non-offensive) Jokes

Anchiy

Joking around with your date is a great way to break the ice. Women like funny guys. Men like funny guys. Everyone likes funny guys. Humor is an excellent tool. But, don’t go overboard. If you start getting heavy into politics, non-PC humor, or negging, she’s going to ask for the check and run like the wind.

Avoid the pitfall: Keep the humor light. Find out something you both agree on. For instance, maybe you both think Frasier is a pretentious and terrible show. Joke about that together. If she loves Colbert, make some Colbert-style jokes. If she likes your funny voices, joke with her. Don’t get out of control and start ranting and raving about Jill Stein or how much you love Bernie Sanders on a first date. Funny can quickly spiral into “bonkers” territory.

8. Don’t be Weird About Splitting the Bill

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Don’t buckle down on not allowing her to split the bill with you. We live in a society where we can have egalitarian partnerships. We’re all making money, it’s OK for partners to split the bill. If a person really wants to, consider letting her. If you’d like to pick up the check, be polite about it.

Avoid the pitfall: If it’s a first date, let them know that you’d really like to treat her. Explain that you’re totally willing to go dutch on your next date, but since they agreed to spend her evening with you, you’d like to get this one. If they are really insistent, don’t be weird about it. Just split the bill. It’s not a test. They just want to be equals and establish boundaries. And remember, just because you buy dinner does not, in any way, mean a person owes you anything; not a hug, a kiss, or sex.

9. Resist Bringing Your Resumé

Dark Horse

Arrogance is really just your insecurity showing, Dr. Lieberman says. You may feel like you need to emphasize the parts of your background that scream “elite” to impress her. But flashing possessions or dropping “one time at Princeton” into the conversation too many times just makes you look like an asshole.

Avoid the pitfall: As a general rule, first-date conversations shouldn’t include talk about anything too superficial unless there’s a good reason for it to come up. For example, it’s fine to tell her you went to Harvard Law only if you’re talking about how brutal Massachusetts winters are.

10. Don’t Be a Schlub

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It’s not as harsh as it sounds: Chances are she just thinks you need to work on your grooming. Most guys can look decent if they invest in a good haircut, do some manscaping, and dress well, Masini says.

Avoid the pitfall: Take heart in the fact that you don’t have to work nearly as hard as she does to prepare for a date. But that doesn’t mean you can skip the basics: showering, shaving, and spritzing on cologne. Wear a simple-yet-polished outfit like dark jeans, a blazer, and loafers, and you’ll look put-together without seeming like you’re trying too hard. (For more guidance, check out what to wear on a first date.)

11. Offer a Polite Compliment

Petri Oeschger

If you start off with some comment on how great her legs look in that skirt, she’s not going to be into it. She will be immediately put off. Comments on appearance have to be given with finesse or you’ll start the evening (or end it) on the wrong note.

Avoid the pitfall: Stick to gentlemanly compliments. You’re safe with, “You look really nice tonight,” or “Wow, I know we’ve been out a few times already, but it feels like you get more beautiful every single time I see you.” If your date is not a person who enjoys compliments on her appearance, go for a cool line like, “I can’t get enough of your laugh.” Everyone likes to know they are appreciated, but you have to be self-aware enough to offer the right phrasing.

 

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Emma – Dirty Jersey

Like the film character Forrest Gump once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going get.”

WARNING: THIS POST IS NSFW.

 

Like the film character Forrest Gump once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going get.”

That’s what the online dating app, Tinder is like. You never know what you’re going to get.

I met Emma on Tinder. We matched somehow, and I read her profile.

Emma, 22

Server

University in New Jersey

18 miles away

“Living in this matrix. Weed. Brews. GoodVibes. Strive to make the world a better place, one action at a time. Please don’t ask me my sexuality. Biochemistry and Environmental Science. I don’t support the unethical treatment of animals. Vegan/Cruelty Free. They/Them pronouns. Class comedian 2013 OBHS. Proud cat mom. Open Minded Individual. (OMI) Mountain biking is life. I’m not here for anything serious, but you never know what could happen. Not your babe. Everything is fine.”

(Then just a bunch of emoji’s)

So this profile looks like your average college nerd type. Well written and to the point. She has a few pictures. She’s cute and in shape. Seems like she has a nice personality and is intelligent. There’s also a picture of an upper arm. (I’m assuming it’s hers) There’s a tattoo with following statement: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”

That’s some badass shit right there. I don’t like tattoos, especially on women, but I like that message. She seems like a cool, together chick.

There’s a pic of her in the woods and one more of her cute cat.

I hadn’t realized we’d matched because I’m just busy with my life and not always looking at my phone. She reaches out to me first. Prepare yourself. This is the exchange, word for word.

 

“You like eating pussy?”

(She opened with that. WTF? Who does that? But I figure I’ll go along with this just for the comedic element and the irony of this statement from this coed)

“I love eating pussy.”

“Wanna come eat mine? I’ll let you smoke my weed.”

“I’d love that.”

“Right now? No kissing or fucking or blow jobs. Just you eating me?”

(How adorable and crazy.)

“Not really into weed anymore. I’ll eat you just for the sheer joy of it. That’s perfectly fine.”

“Can you role play as my daddy? I’ll be your good little girl. You’re showing me how a man should eat pussy.”

(Alright. We’re getting into some interesting territory here. Somebody’s got some issues. I’m riding this out for the blog.)

“I’d be happy to do that for you, Emma. I would be respectful to you and do what you wanted. I like that is all you want. Let’s set it up.”

“I wanna come.”

“I can make that happen. May I have your number?”

“Now?”

May I have your number?”

“If you’re coming tonight.”

“Ok.”

“Are you?”

(I think this chick is just messing with me.)

“Let’s exchange numbers and tell me where to meet you so we can do this.”

“Would you daddy/daughter role play with me?”

“Absolutely.”

“Hmmm… Do I have to blow you or fuck you?”

“No. Absolutely not. I just do the thing you asked me to do. That’s all. Nothing more.”

(Working for the close here…)

“Come over.”

“Let’s exchange numbers.”

“Come over. Please.”

“Tell me where you want to meet.”

At this point she provided her address.

“What’s your number, dear?”

She then provides her phone number.

(Got her!)

I text her and told her I had some stuff to do this weekend, but after that I could do what she asked me to do. So we’ll have to see what happens. Maybe it’ll happen this week. It was kind of a hot exchange. That kind of frank sexual banter hasn’t happened to me before on Tinder. Kinda crazy.

Maybe she was just having a bit of fun, but then why would she give me her phone number and address?

I’ll have to see what happens. She may just lose interest and disappear. I mean, she lives over in Jersey. I hate going to New Jersey.

 

 

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Tammy – Crazy Baby

“You know you want to have a baby with me…”

Here’s an interesting short one that I connected with on the online dating site, Clover. I connect with many women on these dating sites, but rarely do we actually meet up. I could press and make it happen, but most of the time I’ve found that it’s a waste of time. The majority of women on these sites are just boring people that I end up buying drinks for. If they were better and more interesting people, they’d be in a meaningful relationship by now. (What does that say about me?) That or they would’ve simply given up and settled into grinding mediocrity like most people I know.

But occasionally one comes along on one of these sites that seems so nuts I have to showcase her insanity for your entertainment.

Alright. Let’s start with her profile.

Tammy

26 / Female / Straight

Stockton, NJ

Serious Relationships Only, Fitness Singles, 90’s Babies

 

That’s it. That’s all her profile says. There are 3 pics and nothing more. We matched because I just swipe right on everyone on Clover to hopefully meet some quality people.

Here is the conversation that ensued after we matched. It went on over the course of several days.

Tammy: “Hi, You have kids?”

Me: “1 daughter, 20.”

Tammy: “Wow. Where is her mom?”

Me: “She lives in New Jersey. Daughter lives with me.”

Tammy: “Wow. What happened to her mom?”

Me: “We divorced back in 2001 and once my daughter turned 18 she was out of that hell too.”

Tammy: “Well. She still see her mom? You want more kids?”

Me: “She does occasionally and no I don’t want anymore children.”

Tammy: Why? You don’t want to have any with me? I know you want one with me.”

Me: “What makes you say that?”

Tammy: “I know you want one with me, you hide it.”

Me: “Really? Well tell me a little more about yourself, Tammy.”

Tammy: “I’m a 26 year old female. 5’4″ tall. 120 lbs. I am working at TJ Maxx processing shoes.”

Me: “What do you like to do in your free time?”

Tammy: Play Wii on TV, do puzzles and watch movies and walking and shopping and cooking.”

Me: “You seem nice. What prompted you to swipe right on my profile?”

Tammy: “I want a long time relationship and to have kids.”

Me: Have you ever been married?”

Tammy: “No. I want to be married to you.”

A day goes by…

Tammy: “Why aren’t you talking to me?”

Me: “Because I’m at work.”

Tammy: “Oh, ok.”

Me: “Have you been on many dates on this site?”

Tammy: “Ok. I want to be with you.”

Me: “We should meet up and go on a date then.”

Tammy: “I will tell you when I’m free.”

 

And I never heard from her again. She also blocked me for some reason. I hope you can all imagine how heartbroken I was to find out I would never have the opportunity to marry and have children with this mentally challenged stranger that lives 80 miles away from me in New Jersey.

 

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Abigail – I Can’t Even…

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

Here is another Tinder date. We both swiped right and started chatting. After a bit of that we exchange numbers. Abigail is a cute 26-year-old woman. She is about 5’3″, long brown wavy hair, green eyes, and fair skin. She’s fit and attractive. She arrives wearing a light blouse and a lovely red and white skirt accented by a large white purse.

We meet at Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse on 18th Street. The space was formerly the old Elephant and Castle. I have some great memories with my ex-girlfriend Michelle there. They have spent over $1.2 million on the remodel. The place is gorgeous. I’ll have to see how the food is. Abigail picked the place, and I’m wondering what this is going to cost me.

The place was surprisingly quiet, and she asks for a mistress booth. There are booths that when you sit in them, they pull a privacy curtain across the front of the booth. This way no one can see you. It’s very private. I like that she picked this type of table, because maybe she has some private sexy fun in store for me. I’m down for anything she wants to do.

We order some light fare. Abigail goes with the seared ahi tuna, and I go for the grilled barbecue shrimp. She said she knows this place is expensive, so she thinks we should just have some appetizers and drinks. I couldn’t agree more! A girl who likes the upscale spots, likes some privacy, and has a thrifty side. She just became more attractive to me. Abigail orders a double cuba libre and I go for my usual vodka martini, straight up with a twist.

The conversation is going okay. She seems nice. She works at a local bank as a client services representative. I like that because I used to work in retail banking myself many years ago. So much has changed in the financial industry, but some things still remain the same. Abigail is cute. As we used to say in the banking industry, “I’d like to make a deposit into her account. No penalty for early withdrawal!”

I’m feeling good and sipping my cocktail. But I start to notice something a bit odd. I notice she’s taking some small bits of her ahi tuna and ripping them up with her fingers and putting them into her huge purse.

What the hell? Is she stealing food for later? I mean…I’ve seen people do that with rolls and bread, but not fish.

So naturally I call her out on it. She smiles and says, “Oh, I’m just feeding Ernie.”

“Who?”

And with that she pulls out a fat guinea pig from her purse. I swear to God.

She plopped the thing in the middle of the table and it just kinda chilled out. I can’t believe this is happening.

“You can’t bring and animal in here.”

“That’s why I wanted this table, so we could have some privacy.”

“Here comes the server. Put that thing away.”

“His name is Ernie!” She hissed, as she stuffs the little brown and white creature back into her bag.

“How are you guys doing over here?” says our smiling server.

“I’ll have another martini, and the lady will have another rum and coke.”

The server leaves to go fetch our second round.

“Do you carry that thing around with you all of the time?”

“Ernie is my pet companion. Like Paris Hilton and her little dogs.”

“Yea, but she’s a millionaire, and famous…and those are dogs. You’re carrying around a rodent!”

“Keep your voice down!”

The server returns with our cocktails. I thank her and take a healthy gulp of the icy medication.

“I think this is some sort of health code violation.”

Abigail pulls “Ernie” back out onto the table.

“I really don’t think you should be….”

And that’s when I felt her foot travel along my leg and up to my crotch. I take my eyes off the little fella and look into her emerald eyes. They twinkle, and she gives me a sly grin.

“Okay…okay… Well he is kind of cute.”

I played with the little fella as Abby’s foot played with mine through my pants.  Ernie, was soft and cute. I on the other hand, no longer was!

He was really a chill little dude. I’m glad I’m drinking through this date. (Martinis help in any situation where everything doesn’t make sense) After a while, I could tell she was getting a little jealous of how well Ernie and I were bonding. I don’t have any pets, but I have had them in the past. Cats mostly.  My father always told me to touch an animal like you would a woman. Very gently. Living things respond to a gentle touch. Abigail was getting fed up at me for playing with Ernie, and back in the purse he went. She also withdrew her foot from my crotch. I could tell that after not eating much, and two double rum and cokes, our girl was getting a bit tipsy.

I was ready to bail and leave, but she mentioned she could go for some ice cream. At this point I figured what the hell, and was cool with it. Maybe it would sober her up. My father used to say he would eat ice cream after he drank, because the milk fat neutralized the alcohol. I always believed that, but most of the time it just made me puke. I also later found out that maybe the ice cream settled his stomach or coated it, there was no ‘neutralization of the alcohol. It was already in your bloodstream by then. But if it worked for my father…

So be it.

So we go to Ben & Jerry’s over on Sansom Street. The place is empty. We get to talking about tattoos and piercing, (none of which I have) and she tells me she has nipple piercings, and I’m like “Oh?” and then she pulls down her shirt, in the middle of Ben and Jerry’s at 8pm and shows me her tits. I just kind of went poker-faced. So then I decide to walk her to her to the corner and hailed her a taxi. She “kiss attacks” me, and well, she WAS kinda cute, so I made out with her, sort of…Her lips were tense the whole time and she licked my teeth.

I bid her and “Ernie” a fond farewell, as I watch the cab disappear up 18th street.

A few days later, I accepted her friend request on Facebook.  I noticed that she had a Facebook page for her guinea pig that had more Facebook friends than I did.

I didn’t hear from her for a while. I was kind of glad about that, because let’s face it, the chick is crazytown.

A few months later the guinea pig died and its Facebook was a memorial page where a bunch of people commented how much they missed it. I ‘liked’ one of her statuses and she called me crying. She was hysterical. I calmed her down and promised her we would go out soon, to help ‘mourn her loss’. (Bold faced lie)

I eventually unfriended her, but not the guinea pig.

RIP:  Ernie

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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