First Date Turn-offs — GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 44)

For National Etiquette Week back in May (who knew there was such a thing?), the dating site HowAboutWe reported on the “Top 10 Worst First Date No-Nos,” and what they found was spot-on.  And as you’ll see in a recent News Channel 8 segment, I agree with all of them.

  1. Having your phone out or texting: It doesn’t get worse than this.  Nothing screams “I’m waiting for something better to come up” than a cell phone on the table waiting to be answered.  A corollary to this one is actually answering your phone on the date.  Try (as hard as it may be) to put your phone in your bag or your pocket for the entirety of the date.
  2. First date sex: For men, it makes you look like you only want one thing (and maybe you do).  For women, it makes you look easy.
  3. Talking about your ex:  If you say nice things about your ex, it looks like you’re still not over him/her.  And if you say bad things, it looks like you’re still not over him/her and you’re bitter.  Lose, lose.  Plus, people don’t want to feel like they are being compared to someone else on the first date (or ever, for that matter).
  4. Being late (more than 15 minutes): People run late – it happens.  But if it does, please call to let your date know before the start of the date.  Texting is insufficient.
  5. Being rude (to a server): No snapping your fingers, no yelling for the waiter or waitress, and no treating the servers like second-class citizens.  Red flag!
  6. Drinking too much: People have a tendency to divulge secrets or commit dating no-no #2 (or likely both) when too much alcohol is involved.  Don’t let it be you.
  7. Splitting the bill or letting the woman pay: You remember the game of “pick-up check.”  The guy should pay on a first date.  Whether you like each other or not, it’s still a date after all, and chivalry is not dead.
  8. Work talk: It’s certainly ok to discuss work, but not for the entire date, especially if you don’t like your job.
  9. Mother talk: Leave your mom out of the date.  Especially for men, it may make you look like a bit of a mama’s boy.
  10. Talking about marriage: Great – you like each other!  The last thing you want to do is to bring up marriage and scare the other person away.  (The same goes for talking about, or naming, your future children.)

A few others from the report were:

  • Bad breath
  • Not tipping well
  • Talking about yourself too much
  • Being “fake” or not being yourself
  • Smoking

Are there any others you’d add to the list?

Erika Ettin is, as the Washington Post has noted, a “modern day Cyrano.” She is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people with all aspects of online dating.  An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.