The Complete List of First Date Mistakes You Have to Stop

First dates! They’re either exciting for you or terrifying. Whatever they are, they’re an important step to potentially finding that special someone that you’re looking for. But, from our research and talking to a lot of singles, we’ve found that there are a lot of things people do wrong on first dates that are hindering them from getting to that second date.

In this guide, we’re going to explore the list of first date mistakes that you have to stop if you have any hopes of making it to a second date.

First Date Mistakes You Have to Stop

Before we go any further, we need to make sure that you properly understand the purpose of a first date. If you have the wrong understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish, you’re going to end up making more and more mistakes and end up disappointed. Let’s start with what the purpose of a first date is not

  • The purpose of a first date is NOT to impress the other person.
  • The purpose of a first date is NOT to try and have a good time.

Wait, what? Are first dates supposed to be terrible? No, that’s not what we’re saying. It’s okay to have fun on a first date, and it’s okay to try and have the other person have a good time. But, that’s not the main goal of a first date. The main and really only goal of a first date is to figure out if you and this new person are potentially at all romantically compatible. Your entire goal should be to figure out if you like this person enough to continue exploring a relationship.

If you go into the date just worried about having fun or impressing that person, you’re missing the point. Two people can have fun together but be terrible for each other romantically speaking. You can impress someone, but still be completely terrible for each other. In fact, when you try and impress someone on a first date and don’t focus on being who you are, you actually end up doing more harm than good. You put off a persona of someone that you’re not, and you don’t get any closer to figuring out if you two are a good fit for each other or not.

It’s okay to have fun, and it’s okay to put your best foot forward on a first date. But, your main goal should be figuring out compatibility and if it’s worth both of your time to see each other again.

Now that we’ve gotten that clear, let’s talk about the first date mistakes that you need to stop doing immediately.

Read: Knowing What Your End Dating Goal Is

This is surprisingly one of the biggest mistakes you can make in regards to first dates – not going on them. Yes, first dates are awkward, and sometimes they are terrible. But, if you constantly live in the past or are too scared of the future, you’re never going to move forward in your dating life. This means that you’re never going to find that special someone that you’re looking for and you’ll be stuck spinning your wheels.

Stop putting off first dates. If you’re scared that the date might be terrible, that’s okay! A terrible first date is not a failure. When a first date goes bad, you can check off the list one more person that you’re not compatible with which puts you one step closer to finding the right guy or gal. Take time to get to know the people you meet online, but get to that first date in person sooner than later.

Another reason that we’re big proponents of getting to that first date sooner is that we know how our minds work. The longer we have to wait to meet that person in person, the longer our brains and imaginations have to run wild. When our brains do this, they are almost never right about how that first date is actually going to be.

There are two directions our brains run. First, your brain could run towards the terrible side of things. You can come up with all the ways this date is going to be awful, and you can talk yourself out of going on a date with someone who probably isn’t nearly as bad as your mind wants you to believe they are.

Or, your brain can run to the fairytale side of things. They’ll take this person and make them into the most perfect and unrealistic human on the planet. In your mind, you’ll see them picking you up in a golden chariot and whisking you off into the night like Cinderella. When they show up in a Honda Civic, and there is no Disney magic, you’re disappointed. The problem is that this guy or girl might be incredible, but because your mind built up unrealistic expectations, you end up thinking they’re terrible.

Don’t overthink things when it comes to a first date. Just get on the date and be realistic about what you’re looking for. We aren’t saying to settle, but let things happen naturally, and you’ll be much happier.

Young Multi-Ethnic Couple Talking

As we’ve already mentioned, the purpose of a first date is to get to know each other and see if there is any compatibility. If you go on some date that doesn’t allow you to converse openly, then what is the point? It might sound like a good idea to go see a movie, but unless you want to be annoying to the other moviegoers, you’re not going to be talking to each other much.

And, that also means you won’t be figuring out any compatibility or not. Personally, we could sit next to the most terrible person on the planet and still enjoy a movie if it’s good.

Find a date that allows you to interact and get to know each other. Steer clear of performances like concerts, shows, comedy, and movies. Stick with things like coffee, drinks, mini-golf, or dinner. If you’re trying to avoid these things because they force you to have to interact, then you’re trying to defeat the entire purpose of a first date.

Read: The Guide to Grabbing Drinks on a First Date

Not only should you pick a first date location that allows you to converse, but you should also pick one that allows you to escape. No, we’re not talking about if your date is a psycho because in that scenario you can escape from anywhere. But, what we’re talking about is not committing hours of your time to someone who you don’t even know if you’re going to enjoy hanging out with.

For this reason, we’re big advocated of keeping it simple. Something like coffee or grabbing a drink is great because if you’re not compatible, you can duck out in 20 minutes or after the first drink and not feel rude. But, if you two are compatible and want to spend some more time together, you can hang out in a coffee shop forever or get another round of drinks or transition to dinner.

But, if you schedule something like a dinner date initially, you’re locking yourself in for at least an hour or longer with someone. If you realize in the first five minutes that they’re terrible or aren’t who you thought they were, you’re in for a long first date that is completely pointless. Additionally, you’re going to end up spending more money on the date knowing that it’s not going anywhere.

Keep things simple and focus on seeing if there is any chemistry. If there is, you can schedule a second and longer date or you can transition that first date into something longer. Coffee dates or drinks are the simplest and most efficient go-to first date ideas.

Should you talk about yourself on a first date? Yes! The whole point of a first date is to get to know each other. But, should you talk about yourself the entire time on a first date? No! You have to find the healthy balance of talking about yourself enough, but also listening and learning about the person that you are on the date with.

Ask questions. Focus on really listening to what they have to say and actually try and get to know them. Don’t turn it into an interview or an inquisition, but ask thoughtful questions that show you’re listening.

When it comes to talking about yourself on a first date, it’s okay to do so. But, just make sure you’re not bragging, and you’re not talking about yourself constantly. Sometimes people will do this when they’re nervous just to fill the space and silence. Be okay with the silence and don’t turn into a motormouth only talking about yourself or what you do.

PLEASE, please, please…whatever you do, don’t get too drunk on your first date. In fact, don’t get drunk at all on your first date. If you go out for drinks or dinner or to an event with alcohol, pace yourself. Even if your date is throwing them back like a champ, pace yourself. There will be plenty of times for partying and getting wild later, but remember what your goal with this first date is – to find out if there is compatibility.

If you both get drunk, you’re only going to see what your drunk-selves have in common. You won’t know how you’d be if you were both sober. Yes, drinks can relax people and get them to open up some on a first date which is completely fine, but set a line and don’t push past it.

If you’re the only one getting drunk, you can kiss your chances of a second date goodbye. If your date gets drunk and you’re not, you may want to evaluate whether you want to see that person again or if you even want to continue the date. Meeting a stranger is scary enough. Meeting a stranger who is drunk is just not something we’re a huge fan of.

First dates are supposed to be exciting. That butterfly feeling you get in your stomach is completely normal. But, you can’t forget that there is a purpose to a first date and if there is not, you are wasting your time. The whole purpose is to see if you and your newfound friend click or not. If you follow these tips, you’ll get way more out of your first dates and most likely see a lot more second dates if you’re struggling to make the cut.

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Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.