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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."


( 49 whispered — Speak )
Feb. 13th, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
Propose? On the first date?

Feb. 13th, 2009 11:28 am (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)
Feb. 13th, 2009 11:33 am (UTC)
Well, you are an exception! I'd propose to you in a heartbeat :D
Feb. 13th, 2009 11:39 am (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).
Feb. 13th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
Well, from our conversations (we're long overdue another one), I'd have to agree! :D
Feb. 13th, 2009 09:29 pm (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
*woo!* - ayoub - Feb. 14th, 2009 11:28 am (UTC) - Expand
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Feb. 13th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
I've heard about these first date things. Maybe one day I'll get a first date.
Feb. 13th, 2009 04:54 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.
Feb. 13th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
Feb. 13th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Woah. Are divorced peeps allowed to re-date? :D
Feb. 14th, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)
YES. At times, remarry.

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Feb. 13th, 2009 08:57 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.
Feb. 13th, 2009 09:27 pm (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". :>
Feb. 14th, 2009 05:52 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!
Feb. 14th, 2009 10:08 am (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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