Let’s face it. The first date is a test. Unfortunately, many of us go about it the wrong way by trying to figure out everything our companion is doing wrong to disqualify him instead of looking at everything he's doing right. Following are the seven most common first date mistakes, based on what my male clients have told me after going on dates with women.
Now, if you’re going to be more than five minutes late for a date and you don’t call or text, it’s a fail on your part. Showing up late starts the date off terribly and sets a bad tone. It conveys a lack of importance. We prioritize what’s important in our lives by how much time (and money) we dedicate to it. That being said, either aim to arrive on time or just call the moment you realize you’re going to be late. Good manners can go a long way.
Real talk: Being underdressed, overdressed or inappropriately dressed translates as being pretentious, not fun or easy. On a date, especially right after work, many women often forget to dress sexy. Your business causal outfit is not hot. Conversely, don’t wear close to nothing either. Just because he’s salivating doesn’t mean he “likes” your attire. Lastly, if the date is an activity like a hike, forgo the heels and mini-dress because you think they look cute. Always dress appropriately for the moment.
Having poor eye contact and flashing fake smiles send the wrong messages. The saying goes, “Eyes are the windows to our souls.” If you limit eye contact because you’re looking away, you simply don’t look confident in yourself. Also, fake smiles are fairly easy to spot. Give too many inauthentic smiles and you enter the “looks like a stalker” category. Eye contact should be focused on the person with whom you’re talking. Be sure to mix in a few nods and eye blinks. The rule of thumb is short single nods are most effective; it shows that you’re listening. Double or triple nods make it seem as if you’re trying to speed the person up.
One of the biggest mistakes made on a date is using your cellphone or placing it on the table and glancing at it every time you get a message. This can show you are disinterested in your date. When you’re on a date, please keep your cellphone in your purse or pocket. Your date deserves your full attention.
If you’re rude to others, it shows that you have poor social skills and aren’t a very nice person. Nothing makes a date want to run away like a rude and impolite person. If you’re on your date and the waiter forgot the extra lemon wedges, and before the waiter is out of earshot, you shout “Stupid M****…” That ain’t nice! And, it will make your date wonder how you will treat him or her in a relationship. As in life, when on a date treat everyone the way you would want to be treated.
By making frequent mentions of your past relationships, you might be conveying that you’re not over your ex. Living in the past is extremely dangerous. If you can’t stop talking about how great the old flame was or how you enjoyed the things you both did, chances are you still wish you were in that moment. Do yourself (and your date) a favor and admit you’re not yet ready for a new relationship.
B.B.R. stands for the Belly Button Rule. This is my favorite rule, and one I talk about in-depth at my coaching sessions. It is the most telling and compelling of all body language tactics. The direction our belly button faces reflects our attitude and our emotional state. When we face our navel toward someone, we’re subconsciously saying we’re interested in the person or the conversation. Face your navel away, and you’re saying “get me the hell out of this.” Most people do not know this rule, so learn and master it, and you’ll be able to better read and control your interactions. Not listening shows disrespect and is the most passive-aggressive form of disrespect. Listen to your date.
Comments, concerns or questions about my advice? Tell me about it below! Paul Carrick Brunson is a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee and a 2012 iDate Matchmaker & Relationship Coach Of The Year nominee. His bestselling book It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be) is in stores now. Contact him directly on Facebook or Twitter anytime or visit his website.