Everyone has had at least one bad date. It may have been embarrassing, enraging or borderline unbelievable — basically, one you would never want to repeat.
Still waiting for that perfect date? Here are 12 dating mistakes to avoid.
1. Keep your friends at home
Having your friends along for the ride is not cool. One memorable date ended with me watching a televised basketball game alongside all my date’s roommates. If you need your buddies by your side, establish a group date beforehand.
2. Say the magic word
Gentlemen, please phone or ask out your date in person. A text communicates convenience and doesn’t do much for romance. Along with this, it’s helpful for girls to hear the word “date” when being asked out. With more and more evenings of just hanging out, it can be hard to know whether this is a date or just some people getting together for dinner.
3. Treat it like a date
Don’t forget to be a gentleman. Opening doors does not go unnoticed by your lovely lady. Touches of chivalry are never a bad idea.
4. Limbo land
Dates should be planned out. Picking up your date and asking “So, what you do want to do?” puts your date in an uncomfortable situation. You’ve put no restrictions on time or cost, which makes making a decision awkward. If you want some flexibility, try giving her options between a couple of activities. Choosing between a scavenger hunt and a movie in the park makes sure that things are within your time and cost budget, but still allows some spontaneity and freedom.
5. Eliminating the ending
One of my favorite bad date stories technically never ended. There was no walk to the door, no thanks for the date and no hug goodbye. After getting dessert, the date dissolved into a birthday party. When I mentioned I should be getting home, my date gave me a wave and started talking to somebody else. I saw myself out. Don’t fear the dreaded doorstep scene. A nice hug and a thank you is all that’s needed to end your date on a good note.
6. Keep it date appropriate
This particular story is borrowed from a close friend. On a blind date, this young man had planned for them to go to a formal ball for engaged couples. Needless to say, it was an uncomfortable night of pretending to be engaged when she barely knew the boy. Try and keep things date appropriate; if this is a first date, an evening for engaged couples is most likely not the way to go.
7. Avoid the marathon
Even if you and your date are having a blast, don’t over-do things. A picnic followed by a movie and dinner, a stroll around town, and then dessert by a fire are all excellent ideas. But if the date is dragging, something fun and wonderful can quickly be overshadowed by an excessively long date.
8. Conversation crickets
Brief pauses in conversation are completely normal, but do your part to keep the conversation going. I’ve had my share of dinners at a sport’s bar where my date just watched the game. This leaves your date scrambling to come up with something to say for the entire date. Avoid this tactic.
9. Keep your eyes and mind on your date
Nothing more really needs to be said. Don’t spend your date talking about an ex-girlfriend, and don’t be checking out other girls while you are out. Focus on your date and treat her well.
While a social media post is one way to let others know about your date, keep your phone in your pocket while you are out and about. Being glued to your phone is a big dating mishap.
11. Touchy topics
I once had a first date that ended in some hurt feelings, which did not result in a second date. He and I had differing opinions on a topic and it became very uncomfortable has he poked and prodded the conversation into a debate. As your relationship progresses, feel free to bring up some touchy topics, but leave them alone on a first date.
12. Skip the serenade
Singing and playing the guitar for your date may seem very romantic, but I’ve heard several stories that demonstrate it can also effectively kill the mood. Musicians: double check to make sure your date truly wants to hear you sing, and she’s not just being polite.
Be warned; these dating mishaps aren’t only committed by the gentlemen. Ladies can be equally inattentive and impolite. Keep these 12 things in mind next time you are doing the asking, or being asked out. But if things do go south, you’ll have another bad date story to share the next time you and your friends get together.