10 Things Not to Do On a First Date

We go into the first date experience full of fear and excitement. Excited that maybe this person we’re about to meet is the “one,” or at least one who we’ll want to spend our free time with. And afraid that we’ll do or say something that’ll scare the other person away. I came up with this list of the top 10 things you shouldn’t do on a first date to help you out the next time a potential someone special comes along.

There is no doubt that sometimes a person’s behavior rubs us the wrong way. Our instinctual reaction is often the result of thousands of years of evolution. Our unconscious mind is protecting us from people who aren’t good fits. So how do you make sure you’re not accidentally doing something that’s rubbing your date the wrong way?

  1. Don’t assume your date is paying

If the bill comes and you don’t reach for your wallet, it sends up red flags. Even if your date planned on, and is happy to, pay the whole tab, he or she doesn’t want to feel taken advantage of. Not offering to at least pay your half of the bill is a sign of selfishness.

  1. Don’t stiff the waiter

Here is the moment to show how generous you are. Giving a healthy-sized tip shows your date just how much you appreciate the hard work of others. Tipping is also a great opportunity to help with the cost of the date even if your date picked up the bill. Offer to pay the tip!

  1. Don’t be rude to the waitress

In my work as a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, one of my specialties is anger management. The way someone treats a waiter or waitress reveals a lot about his or her issues with anger. If you’re rude to the waitress, your date will assume that someday you might be rude to his or her family or friends.

  1. Don’t shovel food into your mouth

Even if you usually enjoy microwaved burritos in front of your TV at dinnertime, now is the time to sit up straight, put your napkin on your lap, use your knife and fork, and chew with your mouth closed. You want your date to see you as someone polite and sanitary. Not someone who should be sniffing out truffles in the woods.

  1. Don’t forget to listen

Many of us talk a lot when we’re nervous. We can spend an hour or two with someone and come away not knowing anything new about the person. A first date isn’t just an opportunity for you to impress someone; it’s an opportunity for you to decide whether you want two, three, or twenty more dates. You won’t discover that unless you listen.