8 Important Red Flags To Look For On A First Date

Photo: eldar nurkovic / Shutterstock
couple on dinner date

One of the things I am most often complimented on is how nice I am. It’s also my biggest downfall, especially when it comes to dating. 

I tend to assume the best about people, forgive first, and be generous with second chances. I’m working on cutting back a bit on that.

The reason I’m bringing this up is that a first date can be a big indicator of what a relationship might look like, and there are many little indicators of your date’s true self that may go unnoticed during a date if you choose to ignore the negative traits of your date.

And there have been plenty of dating stories where I wished that I had paid a little more attention to the details because I could’ve seen certain things coming. Hindsight is 20/20, right? 

RELATED: 5 Things The Most Attractive Women Do On First Dates (Especially If They Want A Second)

We've created a list below of 8 red flags — things to keep an eye out for that may be causes for excitement or disappointment on a first date. These red flags are the indicators that will tell you what a relationship may be like with your date and can prevent you from making some of the biggest mistakes of your life.

It’s impossible to know for sure who could be Mr. or Mrs. Right from a first date. But, there are a lot of ways to tell that they aren't a match for you. Pay attention, and be picky. Treat dates like an audition, not a finished product, and be honest about what you do or don’t like. 

8 Important Red Flags To Look For On A First Date 

1. Your date doesn't dress for the occasion. 

If your date shows up in sweat pants or basketball shorts and tennis shoes, just run. Unless you’re planning to do something active together on your date, of course. This is a piece of advice I found myself brushing off a few times because some people don’t have a huge sense of style or may just feel more comfortable in casual clothes.

But, if you’re going out to dinner on a first date, and your date can’t manage to put on some jeans, they probably aren't the one. You should be able to tell that they put some kind of effort in at the least. They might not be in a button-down and slacks, but that’s okay. Just make sure they took a shower. 

2. Their table manners are seriously lacking.

If you couldn’t watch your date eat for the rest of your life, you probably don’t need to give them a second date. Do you want to kiss those lips knowing they made out with the spaghetti like that?

3. They don't treat the server or bartender with respect.

Number one, treating people poorly is just plain rude. I work in the service industry, so maybe I’m just a little more in tune with this one, but it really does give you an indication of someone's personality. Chances are, if they're an ass to a server, they'll end up talking to you the same exact way sometimes. Servers have feelings, too. If they refuse to tip, that’s another sign you may be hanging around the wrong person. 

4. You have to carry the conversation all on your own.

This one can be a little tough to make a judgment on. Every date has a little bit of awkwardness, a little bit of silence, and a little bit of staring at the ceiling. But no date should feel like you’re pulling hairs to keep the conversation going. If you’re feeling like you’re constantly grasping at straws to keep the flow going, you’re working too hard. That spark you’re looking for is going to be difficult to catch if you’re having to work that hard to spark up a conversation.

This is true ESPECIALLY if your date isn’t working as hard as you are. Just because you’re both a little quiet doesn’t mean you’re a bad match. But if they're content with not talking or only letting you do all the leg work in continuing the conversation, kick them to the curb. This relationship is give and take not take and take. Sheesh.

On the flip side, if they're pursuing conversation as much as you, get excited! They care about what you’re saying and are interested in you. 

RELATED: 6 Things Every Man Should Do On A First Date To Impress A Girl He Likes

5. They start judging you or others.

One thing I’ve strangely run into while on dates is men who look around the restaurant and bash whatever is currently going on. For example, a guy looks over and sees a plus-sized guy with a skinny date, and wants to talk about how she could do better? That ain’t it.

Generally, this can be a big indicator that your date is a potential douchebag. I’m just calling it as I see it. But really, this guy is trying to be an alpha, and ultimately, he just reminds you of the playground bully.

6. They talk over you and completely control the conversation.

This goes back to the idea of rules of communication. If they're talking over you at every opportunity, just leave. A good date wants to hear what you want to share as much as he wants to share with you, and you shouldn’t have to fight to be heard.

This one drives me absolutely wild. Of course, there are going to be accidents or moments when you’re both excited and accidentally taking turns talking over each other, but that’s a different story. If they're cutting you off to mansplain your own opinion or just to talk more about what they can bench, just go. You have a voice, and your thoughts matter just as much as theirs do. 

7. You can't find ANYTHING in common.

Try to keep track in your head of different things you have in common as the conversation progresses. One of my problems is that I can usually improvise a connection with almost any interest, so I'm good at making connections with anything.

But, really, you just want to see if there’s anything you can really relate to almost effortlessly. Is this someone you could see spending the day with? Could you have a conversation about something you both care about? Can you imagine them being a part of your life? If you can’t, why pursue something that doesn’t fit into the vision you have for your life? 

8. They seem bored with your stories.

People are really good at faking…a lot of things. But especially interest. We’ll cheer for a stranger, be kind, act interested in subjects we’ve never heard of, smile and nod while someone chats about their hobbies. Does your date do this for you? Can you tell they're not listening?

Or do they remember little details? One thing that never fails to impress me or make me smile while on a date is when a guy brings up something I mentioned or finds the perfect moment to use an inside joke I shared.

RELATED: 10 Ways You Can Turn Down A Second Date Without Looking Like A Jerk

Beth El Fattal is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, and relationships topics.