Congratulations, you’ve got yourself a first date! You finally worked up the courage to ask out that ridiculously cute coffee shop guy, or perhaps your online dating profile got some love and a promising match asked to get together after exchanging a few messages. Whatever the case, it’s an exciting time.
But as thrilling and fun as first dates can be, there’s also a certain nervousness and anxiety that goes along with it.
If you’re worried about giving the wrong impression, scaring your potential love connection away or even about having to stick through a potentially horrible date, it can help to keep a few rules in mind. If you know what not to do on a first date, you can relax and let the rest unfold naturally.
We asked relationship experts their advice on things you should never do on a first date and here is what they had to say.
1. Never keep it a secret
Your safety is your top priority. Never go on a date without telling at least one person your date’s name, where you plan to go and when you expect to be home, suggests counselor Robyn M. King. Give that person a call when you arrive home safely.
2. Never badmouth your ex or drone on about the problems in your previous relationships
King warns doing so can make you seem bitter, unforgiving, and not able to take responsibility for what you contributed to those partnerships. Additionally, your date may also wonder if someday you’d be talking about him or her like that.
3. Never have more than one alcoholic drink
Any more, and you may find yourself saying or doing things you’ll regret the next morning. You want to have your wits about you while you get to know your date.
4. Never over-share
Although the goal of the first date is to give two people an opportunity to get to know each other, Suzanne Casamento, founder of Fantasy Dating, warns there is such a thing as too much. Along with your ex, other off-the-table topics are family issues, childhood traumas, or adult phobias. Save those things for later, when you’ve had time to connect on a deeper level. Unloading all of that on a stranger can be overwhelming and unattractive.
5. Don’t be someone you’re not
On the other hand, don’t get into “performance mode” where you hide everything about you, says psychologist, Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish, author of Smart Relationships & The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie. Instead, she suggests, be yourself and do something that shows your quirks. After all, one of the key things you will want to know about any partner is his degree of empathy and toleration of you. If you are indecisive or a klutz, let it out. You can also tell one or two things about you that are important but not so private that you will feel emotionally naked if he or she does not want to see you again.
6. Don’t ignore the signs
This is a time when your date is likely to present his best face to you, but notice how he treats other people, suggests Jessica M. Baker, the founder and CEO of Aligned Signs. If there are signs of road rage, excessive flirtation with others, etc., don’t discount it.
7. Don’t play with your phone
Be mindful of your actions as well, says Casamento. Checking your phone while on a date shows a blatant lack of consideration for the other person. It’s rude and sends the message that you’d rather tweet than talk to your date. If you have any desire to see that person again, put your phone away.
8. Don’t look at your date as a candidate for being “The One”
Instead, realize the goal here is to learn a little about your date, gauge his behavior and see how things flow. You’re trying to see if there is a second date in the cards, not if you’re going to be walking down the aisle with him.
9. Don’t have sex
None! Most of these experts had this one on their lists of don’t-do’s. King believes your potential partner should have something to look forward to, if the relationship progresses. This way your date is likely to have much more respect for your integrity, character and self-respect. Wish adds that having sex can activate your hormones of attachment, and if you sleep on the first night, you’ll find yourself pining for someone you don’t even know.
10. Never sneak out if it’s not going well
Leaving him to wonder what happened to you is humiliating and disrespectful, says King. A good way to end a not-so-great-first-date is to be honest. Say something like “thank you for getting together with me. I’m afraid that we’re just looking for different things in a partner. I wish you the best of luck in your search.”More Like This: Love