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Avoid First Date Disasters :>

We've all done it, right? We've gotten to the end of a first date and thought, "Wow, I really screwed that one up; I talked about all the wrong things at all the wrong times." If you find yourself tanking first dates too often, then try to avoid these habits that can derail the first-date train before it even gets going.


Don't Monopolize the Conversation
Talking too much is a major no-no when you're trying to get to know someone. But it's an easy trap to fall into. Sometimes we're so invested in "selling" ourselves that we go on and on in our attempt to let a date know how great we are. Or sometimes we do just the opposite, displaying our insecurities by constantly apologizing for our shortcomings or complaining about our job or our family or other relationships. And sometimes we just get nervous and try to fill any conversational dead space so it doesn't appear that the date's not going well.


Whatever the reason that tempts you to monopolize the conversation, resist it. Instead of talking too much, try to just focus on the moment at hand and be fully present with the other person. Ask questions, try to get to know him or her, and don't work so hard to mention everything about yourself that you want your date to know. If you can be the kind of person who listens to and shows interest in your date, then you'll have a much better chance of getting to a second and third date, which means you can gradually highlight your own best qualities over time.

Don't "Over-share"
At least not right away. Vulnerability and openness are keys to deepening a connection between two people. But when those people have just met, there's such a thing as offering too much information. It can be a major turn-off if someone immediately begins opening up about his or her deepest fears, family problems, or psychological or emotional issues. Be especially careful about talking about past romantic relationships. One of the quickest ways to tank a first date is to talk a lot about your ex.

This isn't to say that deeper sharing shouldn't happen early in a relationship, or even on a first date. By all means, if the conversation goes in that direction and you receive cues that your date is receptive and is inviting more openness from you, then be willing to divulge more. Sharing something meaningful that you have in common is great; purging your own issues is not. Without some clear signs that you're both interested in letting the conversation go deeper, it's best to remember that a little mystery is not a bad thing. (If you have to, just keep repeating this mantra to yourself: "It's a date; it's not therapy.")

Don't Try to be Someone You're Not
Another temptation we all face when we're getting to know people is to try too hard to impress them. Bragging is never going to win over another person, even if what you're bragging about is true, and it can cause more trouble if it's not. After all, think about what's going to happen if your date does like you and you two begin to get to know each other better. If you haven't been honest from the beginning, the truth will eventually come out. So don't get caught making claims you can't back up once the person gets to know the real you.

Instead, try to be authentic. Again, you don't have to over-share and expose all your dirty laundry right away. But let the real you come out, and trust that if things are meant to work out between you and your date, they will.

Don't Propose
Of course you're not going to literally propose marriage, but sometimes we can make people feel like we're thinking so much about the future and developing a serious relationship that we create all kinds of fear in them. While it may be your ultimate goal to find a soul mate and/or someone to raise children with, save that conversation for sometime down the line. Even someone who's open to the idea of settling down might be scared off by a person who, within the first half hour of the date, mentions a ticking biological clock.

As is so often the case in life, the key is to focus on the now. Be fully present during your time with this person, and save tomorrow for tomorrow. Then, if the relationship progresses and there's a mutual connection between you, you can find just the right moment to begin discussing a possible future that includes your being together.

Don't Ignore Cues
A successful first date depends on the ability to read social cues. This means that one of your top priorities on any first date is to watch carefully for signals being sent-either consciously or unconsciously-by the person you're with. Verbal cues as well as nonverbal signals (like facial expressions and body language) can direct you on everything from how much to talk, to what to talk about, to whether to go in for a kiss at the end of the date. Be guided by what you observe.

The main theme throughout these different suggestions is to be both self-aware and aware of your "audience," i.e., your date. How will your date feel if you ignore the cues he or she is giving? How will he or she respond if you do all the talking? How will your date react if you repeatedly talk about the fact that you've already planned out your wedding? If you can be authentic and stay true to yourself but also remain mindful of how you're coming across to the person you're with, then you'll be able to avoid many of these "first-date don'ts."

Comments

( 49 whispered — Speak )
ayoub
Feb. 13th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
Propose? On the first date?

LMAO!
none_too_subtle
Feb. 13th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
OOoooooooo you don't think it happens? It's happened to me a few times. Surely they were jesting, but behind every jest there's an ounce of truth. Yikes! I've had 'em imply that I'd make a great partner, etc. etc. enough to where they scared me. While most of these serious conversations were held, say, a week or two after dating, some would say things to this effect on FIRST dates.

WTH OVER? It's crazy, but it happens! Probably not to guys, but us chicas, yeah. What's even worse is when they preface their "new union with you" with how horrific their last long-term relationship was (and you find out they were married 20-something years and recently divorced).

Dating is hellllllllllllll. Especially for people our (my) age(s). No such thing as innocent boyfriend/girlfriend; they gotta bow up and start picking out china patterns. Hahahaha. :D

Edited at 2009-02-13 02:29 pm (UTC)
ayoub
Feb. 13th, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
Well, you are an exception! I'd propose to you in a heartbeat :D
none_too_subtle
Feb. 13th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww that's so sweet!!!

You can say that, of course, since you're in England ;-)

And if ya mean it, you kinda proved my point :D I'm much better in real life than I seem in here (not selling myself; just speaking da truff as I've been told).
ayoub
Feb. 13th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
Well, from our conversations (we're long overdue another one), I'd have to agree! :D
none_too_subtle
Feb. 14th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
We do need to yap. I can then give you the real skinny and shock you for the rest of this month :D :D
ayoub
Feb. 14th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
:D

Cool... How's Monday for you?
none_too_subtle
Feb. 14th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
Monday sounds groovy :D What timeish?
ayoub
Feb. 14th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
I'll email you :D
none_too_subtle
Feb. 15th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a plan! I have a deadline (Monday), but am sure I'll finish it up in time for a fun phone conversation with my favorite British friend :D
paradoxymoron
Feb. 13th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
I've heard about these first date things. Maybe one day I'll get a first date.
none_too_subtle
Feb. 13th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
Personally, I think both of the sexes are confused as to what dating IS now. I, for one, find myself often flustered, wondering which etiquette is apropos THIS week. WTHLIFE.
paradoxymoron
Feb. 13th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
*datesyou*
none_too_subtle
Feb. 13th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
Woah. Are divorced peeps allowed to re-date? :D
paradoxymoron
Feb. 14th, 2009 08:11 am (UTC)
YES. At times, remarry.


HOLY HELL I HAVE 18 COMMENTSIN MY INBOX TONIGHT WTF
none_too_subtle
Feb. 14th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
OMGZ YER POPULAR!!!!!
paradoxymoron
Feb. 14th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
YAAAAY!
none_too_subtle
Feb. 15th, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
I think being popular is a MUCH BIGGER pain in the ass and less fun than being unpopular. Give me my cave and wifi and crackers and I'm le happy :D
paradoxymoron
Feb. 15th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
Pfft.
*kicks her outta bed for eatin' crackers*
none_too_subtle
Feb. 15th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
O.M.G.OVER. You're the first man in history so far who'd kick me outta bed for eating crackers.

Pfft. *decides he ain't worth the trouble*
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 07:34 am (UTC)
:D

*ascends the triumphant throne of kicker-outerness*

Bring some Girl Scout cookies. We'll talk.
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 07:37 am (UTC)
Home(less) boy, please!!! *keeps cookies to self, and walks away, shaking head and smiling*
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 07:38 am (UTC)
*snerk* Your girl scout cookies brings all the boys to the yard...
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
My square, old crackers bring all the smart boys to the yard...
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 08:02 am (UTC)
My Ritz crackers bring the none-too-subtle rich girls to teh yard.
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 08:19 am (UTC)
We all KNOW none-too-subtle is none-too-wealthy. Sad situation. However - I just got a job as a columnist. I'm going to link it in here and make all of go there and reload a few times a day (I get paid more :D). Ya don't hafta read it, just go there :>
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 08:30 am (UTC)
I can do my part.

What kinda column? How'd you land the gig?



...do you think people would pay for my writing?
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 08:36 am (UTC)
Not only am I a very published journalist, but am considered one of the foremost experts in stepfamilies (believe it or not). They had a need, and I was able to fill it.

I was thinking of you as I wrote this, actually. They have hundreds of "local" examiners, and I believe you could either fill a column of your area or your interests. You're a good writer, and I know some of the big bosses up there. If your city isn't interesting, you might not want to get involved, as it requires you to keep your column up to speed. But I think it would be a great way to get your local feet wet in writing and yes, it pays (depending on hits!). E-mail me tomorrow or we'll chat via IM (or you could call if you want...I'll give you my number in e-mail). Let me know if you're interested, because the local writers can cover *anything*.
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 08:47 am (UTC)
....there's a need for stepfamily expert journalists?! Dude. Um. Rock on? :D


....okay, I think I'm gonna go down my fat ass an entire box of Girl Scout Cookies (the Tagalongs om nom nom peanutbutterchocolateomg) because you said I'm a good writer. (Not sure if you reeeeally wanna give me your number because I might drunk/sober dial you. Or text. MWAHAHAHA. Just sayin'. :D )
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
You wouldn't do that to me! I'd trust ya with it. Besides - you're as poor as I, thus you can't afford to be calling me all the time :)
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
*text messages "what rhymes with orange?"* :D
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
O.M.G.
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
*luff*
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
YOU LOVE ME!!!!!!!!!!
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
......Yes.
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
Aaaaawwwwwwwwwwww that's so sweet!!

Lar, lar.
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
:D
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
Easyyyyyyy, killer!
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 08:37 am (UTC)
I meant to say I thought of you when I just now updated. Doh.
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 08:50 am (UTC)
..still swooning and eating girl scout cookies. :)
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
I have some left, and that'll be breakfast no doubt.

I'm not a stepparenting /writer/ per se, but am an expert ON stepparenting and hosted a forum for seven years. I just happen to also be a writer who's been published for more than 15.
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
See? You rock.

I, on the other hand, have failed NaNoWriMo for the past 5ish years. And that's usually the only thing I try to write.
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Honestly? If you want to be a published writer, there's nothing more than to sit down and do it. Write. And keep on writing, even if it makes no sense or sounds boring to you. This organization would've probably placed you, but since we can't TALK ABOUT IT I can't help yas. There are many venues out there for freelance writers (which is sustaining life...barely...on this end). But if you're not willing to get off your literary ass and do it, I can't make ya :D Heh.
paradoxymoron
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
I think it's just a matter that I'm trying to do lengthy novelstories, and I don't plan. I have a vague idea, and let it grow from that. I want these things to happen. Bam bam bam. But... now I can't get them to transition with this OTHER thing that I had planned, so I get frustrated, shelve it for a while, and pick it up later. Or not.


I have difficulties applying ass to chair and fingers to keyboard. :P
none_too_subtle
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
I think you just don't know how to turn a dime in the business. Yes, we all want to get OUR stories out, but to pay the bills, we often have to write for others. Best place to start, hombre. Be given a deadline and get to it.
writerwench
Feb. 13th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! That's brilliant! And so TRUE... ack, the number of first dates I've been on through the years, where the guy did the 'And that's enough about me - now tell me, what do you think... about me?' schtick, or I caught myself gabbling frantically just to fill the conversational vacuum, and then drove home (alone!) kicking myself for putting my big foot in it YET AGAIN.

I still find meeting new people daunting and exhausting, but when I was dating... ack! The build-up to the date, getting there, the hopes and expectations that this guy would actually be worth getting to know, the sheer exhaustion after only half an hour of focussing on him and controlling my natural loquaciousness... damn hard work, and so often a complete waste of energy as well.
none_too_subtle
Feb. 14th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
Ha! That's why I refuse to date ANY salesperson. They talk WAY TOO MUCH about "themthemthem" and by the time they've reached the seventh grade, I'm mad and half asleep, praying to God I don't stand up and walk out (since I've done that before, too...and mid-sentence no less...hahahaha). I called that date "The Ginger Ale Man". :>
writerwench
Feb. 14th, 2009 08:52 am (UTC)
Why pray to God that you won't do the obvious and correct thing? If I had a date that egocentric, I'd be out of there SO FAST... go to ladies room, phone my friend, get her to phone me back 5 minutes later with an 'emergency', and I'd be gone. Having made it clear from the outset that I was slightly on edge that evening because I have a vulnerable daughter... the older I get, the less tolerant I am of crashing bores. Mind you, reading what I've just typed, I'm a coward... don't have the guts to stand up, say 'Sorry, this just isn't working, I'll leave you alone with your ego' and walk out, which is what an honest person would do!
none_too_subtle
Feb. 14th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
That's exactly what I did to Ginger Ale man. I seriously stood up, put two dollars on the table for my ginger ale while he was still yapping, and starting bolting for the door without saying shit. Hahahahah. He followed me - dumbass. lolol
( 49 whispered — Speak )

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