First dates are like college application essays, but for love. Think about it: we spend a lot of time worrying about what to talk about, how to present ourselves, and whether or not they’ll like us based on approximately 750 words. Sometimes a date will even check over our grammar, making this analogy even stronger.
Unlike a college application essay, however, a first date is fully off-book. There are no answer keys when it comes to love, and that means we just have to trust that we’re going to have the stuff our date is looking for. And vice versa!
As much as we want to be liked on a first date, so does the person we’re going on the date with. Both of us are likely thinking about long term potential as well. One thing to remember: it’s hard to get a sense of a person after one first date. Sometimes people are nervous, or they’d had a bad day and felt like they needed to cover a little extra on the date.
While it’s not fair to make assumptions about how the rest of the relationship might go after one date, it is possible to get some ideas, depending on some of these behaviors.
20 He’s Too Touchy Too Soon
Men’s Health has a long list of behaviors they’ve warned guys away from when it comes to the first date. One of the big things they mention is something we have to give them kudos for. Sometimes guys seem to think that, just because we’re on a date with them, we consent to having some kind of physical contact with him.
While that’s true to an extent (like, touching our arm gently to get our attention or other normal points of contact) sometimes our date just doesn’t listen. Unfortunately, this might mean that we’d be in for a relationship of PDA and iffy boundaries; not everyone’s favorite.
19 The Barista Is Dressed Nicer Than He Is
Barista, waiter, even the tour guide. Men’s Health reminds us that if the server is dressed nicer than he is, he probably doesn’t make personal grooming a priority. Alternatively, it might speak to some confidence issues. After all, don’t we sometimes feel that “why bother” attitude where we feel like we can’t look good, even in our favorite jeans?
We feel that this is an important one to watch for, as it can also be a point of respect. We put the effort in to look great on the first date. If he’s not going to at least attempt to match us, we might want to look somewhere else.
18 He Orders For Us, Without Our Consent
Cosmopolitan points out that this one can be kind of cute. After all, it’s a sign that he wants to take care of us, and shows that he was listening when we mentioned what meal we had decided on.
They also point out, however, “if he didn't know what you wanted, there's, like, a 5 percent chance he really wanted you to try this one amazing thing on the menu he thinks you'll love, and a 95 percent chance he's a controlling [guy] who doesn't care what you want. Time will tell.” Definitely take the context into consideration with this one.
17 Names Are Dropped Left, Right, And Center
We’ve all run into someone like this at a party before, right? The guy who mentions the fact he’s on Justin Timberlake’s close friends list, despite nobody asking him. Name dropping can be fun if it comes up naturally in conversation. Oftentimes it leads to some great stories. However, if the whole first date conversation revolves around how he’s BFFs with Ellen, it’s time to let him go.
Men’s Health gives their reasoning for this as the fact that he might have some insecurity and relies on those famous friends to help boost his confidence. And trust us: after the 6th time hearing the same story, it’s going to get old.
16 Checked His Phone More Than A Few Times
The old phone-checking debate is detailed in almost every dating article we read. Some people say that checking your phone once or twice on a date is fine, especially if it’s a quick glance at a work email, or to look something relevant up. Others believe that phones should be off and away for the duration of the date, as it’s rude to our potential partner to get distracted.
The general consensus seems to be, however, that if our date is totally involved with his phone on the first date, nothing will change later on in the relationship. You’re not just going to date him, you’ll be dating his cellphone as well.
15 He Lets Us Pick Where, But Changes The Plan Last Minute
Talk about a power move. While there’s nothing wrong with getting excited over a new restaurant, cafe, or bar that he’s just heard of, it’s kind of a bummer to switch things up on us at the last minute. After all, we were likely really excited about the place we picked for our fabulous first date.
Her Campus tells us that, while there are a few instances where a last minute change of plans has a legitimate reason behind it, oftentimes it’s done to make his choice seem like a better one. This subtle undermining can show up in other ways later on in the relationship too, which doesn’t make for a very equal partnership.
14 His List Of Food Demands Is Long
Does anyone remember When Harry Met Sally? The lead-up to that famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene actually starts with Sally rattling off a long list of food preferences and demands to the waiter serving them, much to Harry’s amusement and confusion. This is kind of like that.
Psychology Today points out that someone who’s got a long list of demands (and complains when they’re not all specifically met) might be someone who’s going to have very high standards in the relationship as a whole. We might find ourselves stuck playing by his rules, with our preferences falling by the wayside later on down the line.
13 He Gets Really Deep, Really Fast
It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Getting to dive right in and explore someone’s heart and soul within the first hour of meeting them. Spoiler alert: it isn’t a fast track to making you soulmates. Men’s Health points out that getting too deep too fast can be off-putting, especially if it’s not reciprocated by the date in question.
Going too deep too soon is putting a lot of trust in someone that he doesn’t really know. It also is unfair to you to have to carry all his hidden truths when you might not see each other again. While it’s not the worst behavior, it can lead to an emotional imbalance in the long run.
12 He Absolutely Refuses To Split The Bill
There are two sides to every first date, but there’s only one bill to pay. It’s likely that we work just as much as he does, which means we’ve got just as much expendable income (ignoring the more-or-less universal wage gap and pay disparity, of course). Splitting the bill is a common practice, but his insistence to pay the full price is always gentlemanly.
If he really insists, though, and even goes so far as to stop the waiter from taking your card, it could point to some old-time traditional values. These might not align with some of your more modern ideas, which can make the relationship disjointed later on.
11 Or, He 'Forgot His Wallet'
Hopefully, no one else has been here before, but it certainly does happen. The date went great, and the server comes up with the bill. You say, “separate is great,” but he goes, “I got you,” and pats down for his wallet. Which is conveniently missing. “Oops!” He grins and shrugs, leaving you stuck with the $50 plus tip price.
Sure, sometimes it really is an accident. But if you weren’t prepared to pay for the full meal deal, or if he knew his wallet was missing before sitting down, this is a sketchy move to pull out on a first date. It might even mean more picking up of the bill later on.
10 It’s ‘Goodbye’, Not ‘See You Next Saturday’
This is a subtle one that most of us are going to stress over anyway. If we’re going to replay every last word he said to us, we might as well do a little research to back it up, right? Her Campus agrees, and they offer an explanation as to what this subtle difference in language means for the future.
They say that any mention of the future is a sign that he enjoyed himself and wants to see us more. But if he ends the date with a firm “goodbye, nice to meet you,” it’s probably the last we’ll hear (and thus the end of the relationship).
9 He Arrived Late Without A Text Message Warning
Traffic happens, losing track of time happens, and work hold-ups happen. There’s not much we can do about those powers that be throwing wrenches in our perfect plans. We can, however, control how we deal with those situations. The people that send a text message to let us know what’s happening and why they’re held up are excellent people. We personally really like those people.
Those that show up late and don’t say a word about it are typically not ones too concerned with time in general. It’s not that that bodes poorly for the relationship as a whole, but it might mean a whole lot of nagging when it comes to time.
8 He Goes In For A Handshake
Some people think that a handshake is fine for meeting people, but we’re of the opinion that they should be saved for business transactions and formal situations. Her Campus agrees with us and mentions that, if he’s going in for a handshake at the end of the date, something definitely didn’t gel.
That being said, maybe he is just the kind of guy who prefers to keep things formal until he gets more comfortable. This is a sign that he’s going to be one of those guys who wants to take things slow (yes, they do exist). Slow and steady wins the race in that case, so don’t write off the handshake yet.
7 He Was Rude To Those Around Him
Even if you haven’t worked in the service industry it’s kind of a no-brainer to be nice to the person who’s been on their feet for six hours and is serving your food. Serving can be a stressful job, which is why we want to stress the fact that we should be nice to them. It’s not just servers, though.
Anybody and everybody deserves our basic kindness and respect. Mom always taught us that if our date is rude to those around him, it’s only a matter of time before he lets it show in the relationship itself. Don’t risk it; go for the guy who’s polite and courteous to the strangers he meets.
6 Questions Were Few And Far Between
Some people are nervous talkers. They babble on about themselves and then stop abruptly when they realize they’ve been talking about World of Warcraft or classic literature for 20 minutes. Those people are understandable. First dates can be nerve-wracking. Unfortunately, there are dates who will talk and talk regardless of their nerves.
Men’s Health mentions that, if he’s not asking questions (or asking minimal questions), he’s likely a little more self-centered than we want. This doesn’t bode well for the future of the relationship, as it’s probably going to consist of lots of listening (and not a lot of celebrating your accomplishments).
5 Or He Only Asked And Evaded Answering
On the flip side of our last point is this. Asking questions is great, but not if it’s all he’s doing. Only asking questions is a sign that he might be trying to hide something. At least, according to Cosmopolitan! They say that evading questions and asking them back to us is a sure sign that he doesn’t want us to get close.
Again, this could be a nervous habit. Some people clam up when they get nervous, and asking questions feels like a safe choice when it comes to keeping the conversation spotlight off of them. So if your guy seems to be the latter, assume he’ll open up more as time goes on.
4 Laughter Is Non-Existant
Laughter is not only the best medicine, but it’s also a great recipe. Laughter is a recipe for connection. When two people laugh together they’re building positive feelings towards each other. Men’s Health reminds us that if our date doesn’t have a sense of humor, they might not be enjoying themselves. Not only that, but they might be the kind of person who doesn’t enjoy joking around.
This can make for a very stoic relationship, and can be difficult for those of us who appreciate stand up comedy, sarcasm, and romcoms! Humor is a huge interest for many of us, and it has to mesh with our potential partner’s.
3 He’s Flirting With The Bartender When We Get Back From The Bathroom
We sincerely hope that none of you have to deal with this in your lives. Even if it’s the first date it’s still a little painful to see our potential partner showing interest in someone else. We’ve experienced it; it’s not a happy thing. Even if we choose to ignore it, it tends to pop up again and again as well.
If his eyes are roaming at the beginning of the relationship, it’s no surprise that it’s still happening six months down the line. Trust us: this kind of behavior leads to short term and long term disappointment, in our experience.
2 He’s A Little More Fun-Loving Than You Are
This is one that’s hard to tell from a first date, but it’s worth mentioning. Men’s Health points out that if he’s not afraid to let loose and get wild, but you’re more of the one-is-enough-for-me-thanks kind of person, you two might end up clashing. One partner’s fun-loving tendencies can sometimes put a strain on the relationship, especially when it comes to late nights out on the town with friends.
If his behavior hints that he might be someone who likes to have fun, don’t let it stop you from dating. Just be aware that there are some negotiations of interest that’ll need to happen.
1 He Talks About His ‘Crazy’ Ex
Cosmopolitan says it best when they say that “he might not be over her and might have some rage issues in general,” if he brings up his ex out of the blue. We’re also of the opinion that if he’s talking about his “crazy ex,” it’s worth remembering that this is just one side of the story.
If he’s putting all the blame onto his ex, it might be a sign that he’s not equipped to take responsibility for his actions. Not to mention, he might be doing this six months down the line with someone else... but referring to us! All we have to say to that date behavior is thank you, next.
Sources: Cosmopolitan, Men's Health, Her Campus, Psychology Today