How to ruin a first date in 7 simple steps

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How often does your post-first date analysis involve you making like Homer Simpson and uttering a very loud ‘D’oh!’? Here’s our seven step guide to ruining a date – a.k.a what NOT to do on a first date. Take note!

Step 1: Pick an inappropriate venue

If you’ve seen the Dustin Hoffman film The Graduate, you’ll know what happens when you pick an inappropriate venue for a first date. Anything from a very loud bar to an extortionately expensive restaurant (and asking your date to go dutch) can ruin the mood from the off. Think relaxed, inexpensive and non-committal.

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Step 2: Talk non-stop

A sure-fire way to ruin a date is to not let your date get a word in edgeways. Sometimes nerves manifest themselves in an inability to stop talking, but if you know you do this stop, take a breath and make a conscious effort to allow your date to speak. A first date isn’t a job interview, you don’t need to list all the reasons why you’re a great catch, simply engage in conversation and let it flow naturally.

A conversation, like a date, is a two way process; it’s about getting to know each other to decide whether there’s a basis for a potential relationship. Talking non-stop will make you seem boring and egotistical, and unless you really are trying to put off a date we’re pretty sure you don’t want to come across like that. Don’t worry if you realise half way through your date that you’ve let your mouth run away with you, there’s still time to pull it back and turn your focus onto the other person.

Step 3: Overshare

Many topics shouldn’t be talked about on a first date. That initial meeting should be kept light and airy with both sides left wanting to know more. Off-limits topics include exes (probably the biggest no-no), medical problems and financial worries. Your date wants to know if you both love Japanese cinema, not whether you’re still pining for your ex or desperate to quit your job because your boss is an evil tyrant.

The fact is that we’ve all got some things in our lives that we like to moan about, but that’s what good friends are for, not first dates who barely know us. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you’ve both been made redundant in the past and the conversation naturally turns to this, then it could be very interesting to share your experiences.

Remember, first dates should be fun, they’re not free therapy!

(As an aside, if you find yourself constantly compelled to talk about your ex on first dates, you probably need to reassess whether you’re really ready to date in the wake of your last relationship.)

Step 4: Pretend to be someone you’re not

We all embellish the truth from time to time – “Oh no, that chocolate torte is totally home-made from scratch” – but on a first date it’s not a good idea to get carried away with distorting reality. The way this usually happens is that you decide to show off about something in order to impress your date. However this will probably backfire in one of two ways: they will either find your bragging a huge turn off, or they’ll decide they like you and later find out the thing you bragged about isn’t true – then they’ll drop you faster than you can say, ‘Well a Ford Fiesta is surprisingly similar to a Ferrari!’.

Step 5: Talk about your future

If you really like a date a huge pitfall is to get carried away. Remember, it’s just a first date where conversation should be (as we mentioned above) light and airy. Avoid conversations about whether or not you’d like to get married, or how many children you’d like to have – even if you’re not relating these topics to your date, it’s likely he or she will make the assumption that you are. Even if they have the same views on marriage and kids as you, that doesn’t mean they won’t be scared off. Focus on what’s going on right now, rather than the future or past.

Step 6: Be oblivious

When you don’t know someone it’s hard to know what they’re thinking, but social cues give you a huge amount of help in this department. By ignoring them you could find yourself doing anything from not noticing your partner is cold in the beer garden you’ve chosen, to not realising they’re looking for a way to make their excuses and leave. Be observant, react to your date’s needs and you should find you’re more likely to see them again.

Step 7: Try to seal the deal

You really like your date, and regardless of how uncomfortable it makes them feel you want to get them to promise to call or even commit to another date. Don’t even think about it – whether you’ve paid for dinner and drinks all night or not, you have no ‘right’ to a second date. Any pressure will either make you seem overly keen or just creepy; let them come to their own conclusions.

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Now you know exactly how to wreck a first date, do the opposite of all these steps and you’ll be on your way to becoming a first date expert!


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