Are you tired of having bad first dates? Or feeling like you can’t get past the first date?
You're not alone. Most first dates suck. Here’s why.
First date fails are common.
In this article, we'll explore some of the most common first date mistakes to avoid, explain why first dates are hard, and provide practical tips on how to have better first dates.
We'll also discuss how long a first date should last and how to end a first date gracefully.
Bad First Dates Are Common
In fact, bad first dates are the norm.
Only about 20% of first dates lead to a second date.
That means 80% of first dates don’t go well enough for both parties to be interested in meeting again.
10 First Date Mistakes to Avoid
1. Being inauthentic
One mistake to avoid if you want fewer horrible first dates is inauthenticity. It's tempting to try and impress your date by presenting a polished version of yourself, but if you act in a way that’s different from who you truly are, then you’ll prevent a genuine connection from forming. Your date will likely sense that you're not being genuine, leading them to lose interest in a second date.
2. Unrealistic expectations
It can be useful to consider is your dating mindset and expectations. Unrealistic expectations and a long list of criteria can set you up for disappointment on a first date. It's important to remember that no one is perfect, and a first date is just an initial impression. Putting too much pressure on yourself or your date can create unnecessary stress and anxiety, making it hard to truly get to know each other and leading to bad first dates that could have otherwise gone well. Be open-minded and willing to accept imperfections.
3. Bad dating patterns
Your dating patterns and tendencies may also be undermining your first dates. Are you consistently choosing the wrong type of partners, or ignoring red flags? Reflecting on your dating choices and patterns can help you identify any recurring mistakes that may be hindering your first date success.
4. Poor communication
Communication is a vital aspect of any relationship, and it plays a significant role in first dates as well. Common communication mistakes on first dates include dominating the conversation, not actively listening, interrupting often, or failing to express yourself clearly. Practice active listening and allow your date to speak without interrupting. Show genuine interest in what they're saying and ask open-ended questions to encourage meaningful conversations.
5. Oversharing (TMI: too much information)
While it's important to be open and share information about yourself on a first date, oversharing too much personal information too soon can be off-putting. Sharing overly intimate details or discussing past relationships, family issues, or personal problems can be overwhelming and create discomfort for your date. Remember that trust is built gradually over time, and it's okay to keep some aspects of your life private in the early stages of dating.
6. Being distracted or checking your phone
Constantly checking your phone, responding to texts, or being distracted by phone notifications can send a message that you're not fully present or interested in your date. This can be taken as rude and disrespectful and create a sense of disconnection and even resentment. If you’ve taken the time to meet up with someone for a first date, then go the extra effort to be fully present with them. Otherwise, you’re almost guaranteed to have a bad first date.
7. Being late to the date
Being late to a first date is a crucial mistake that starts the date off on a negative note. It sets a tone of disrespect and lack of consideration for your date's time and effort in planning and preparing for the date. It can also create anxiety and frustration for your date, who may feel stood up or unimportant. Being late can disrupt the flow of the date and make it difficult to establish a connection later on in the date, even if things are otherwise going well.
8. Being too negative
Constantly complaining about work, life, or other people can create a negative atmosphere and make for an awful first date. While it’s good to express yourself authentically, it’s best to at least mostly positive, keeping the focus in the present moment.
9. Being judgmental
Being close-minded, judgmental, or dismissive towards your date's opinions, beliefs, or interests can create a negative atmosphere and tear away at any possibility for meaningful connection. It's important to be open-minded, accepting, and respectful towards your date's perspectives and interests.
10. Poor body language
Avoiding eye contact, crossing your arms, fidgeting, lack of smiling, and poor posture can create an image of low confidence, defensiveness, or closed-off personality, which can signal discomfort or disinterest. It's best to keep your arms relaxed, maintain an open and welcoming demeanor, smile and nod gently in conversation to show active listening, and hold an upright posture.
How long should a first date last?
A first date can go wrong if it ends too soon or lasts too long. If you’re never getting past the first date, there’s a chance that’s because your dates aren’t an optimal length.
While the timing can vary greatly, as a general guideline, a first date should typically last for about 1-2 hours.
The type of activity planned for the first date can determine an ideal length. For instance, if you're going for coffee or drinks, the date may be only an hour. On the other hand, if you're planning a more elaborate activity like a nice dinner or a hike, the date may for extend several hours.
The worst first dates end pretty soon, because someone ends the date as early as they can to get out of it. But that doesn’t mean longer is better — even good first dates can turn bad when they go past their ideal length.
How to end a first date
Ending a first date can be nerve-wracking, and it’s important to end it well.
Often, people feel like their first date went well but then there’s no second date. This may sometimes happen because the first date had a mediocre ending.
Here are some tips on how to end a first date on a positive note and lower your odds of having another bad first date.
1. Express gratitude
Regardless of how the date went, express your appreciation for the time spent together. You can say something like, "Thank you for a nice evening."
2. Assess the situation
When the date is ending, take a moment to assess the situation and gauge the mutual interest and comfort level. If you both seem to be enjoying each other's company and there is potential for a second date, you can express your interest in seeing each other again. For example, you can say something like, "I had a great time tonight. I would love to do this again sometime if you're interested."
3. Say goodbye
End the date with a friendly goodbye. You can offer a handshake, a hug, or a kiss, depending on the level of comfort and connection established during the date. It's important to respect each other's physical boundaries and only proceed with physical contact if it's consensual.
Why First Dates Are So Hard
The reality is that first dates are hard, and if you’re dating, you may find yourself going on tons of first dates — tons of bad first dates that feel awkward, boring, and maybe even uncomfortable.
One reason why first dates can be challenging is the pressure and expectations that people may place on themselves to be liked, to be interesting, and to make a good impression. This pressure can lead to nervousness, self-doubt, and anxiety, making it difficult to relax and be oneself during the date.
Another common challenge during first dates is the fear of rejection. Opening up to someone new and putting oneself out there can feel vulnerable, and the possibility of being rejected or not being liked can be intimidating.
First dates typically involve meeting someone new, and this lack of familiarity can create discomfort or awkwardness. When you don’t know much about someone’s likes, dislikes, interests, or sense of humor, it can make conversation and connection more challenging. It takes time to build rapport and develop a level of comfort with someone new, and this can be a hurdle during first dates.
Past experiences and emotional baggage from previous relationships can also lead to bad first dates. People may bring fears, insecurities, or unresolved issues from their past into a new dating situation, which can affect their ability to be fully present and open during the date.
How to use dating apps to land better first dates
Hopefully these tips give some insights on why first dates often fail.
If you’re on dating apps and want to improve your dating profile so you land better first dates, we have you covered.
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