If you’ve recently been out to dinner or a movie and haven’t gotten a call back from your special someone, there’s a good chance you’re looking for some dating advice.
After all, it can be hard to tell what went wrong, or even if anything went wrong at all. Before you start worrying and cutting yourself down, take a hard look at what happened.
A thorough mental review will help you figure out whether your date simply wasn’t worth spending time with, or if you made a few of the most common first date mistakes.
Mistake #1: You focus too much on talking, but not enough on listening.
It’s a fact: most people like to talk about themselves. Whether it’s simply sharing, a way to show others how much fun you can be, or even a tic that crops up when you’re nervous, this habit can quickly cross the line on a first date.
Everyone wants their date to notice them, so it can be irritating or even hurtful to find out that your date likes to talk, but hates to listen. Remember that not everyone is outgoing or prone to talk about all the little details.
If you notice that your date hasn’t said anything in a while, it’s time to ask a question. Even if all you do is ask for an opinion on the wine list, you’re making a point of noticing the other person.
Do try to keep the questions specific, though. If your date is shy or taciturn, asking a blanket question such as “What should I know about you?” is a quick route to silence.
You’ll always do better if you ask about specific hobbies, activities or preferences and if you take the time to remember the things your date said earlier in the evening.
Mistake #2: You tend to bring up the past.
Even if your last relationship went sour or your connection with your family is a bad one, those aren’t topics for first date conversation.
Bringing up painful or controversial topics without making sure your date is ready for that type of intimacy is a quick way to make the other person feel like a counselor, not a prospective romantic partner.
There’s a good chance that your date is interested in hearing about these things, just not right away. Negativity and extreme emotion early on in a relationship can be alarming.
After all, if you’ve just met someone and you’re already talking about how much you hate your last boyfriend, it’s all too easy for your date to imagine you using the same words to talk about them.
That doesn’t mean you can’t mention this kind of subject, especially if your date asks. Just take some time to think about your tone, and avoid jumping right in.
Mistake #3: You’re falling in love too quickly, and you show it.
It’s pretty common to get excited when you’re going on a date with someone you think might be the one. In the throes of a crush, you might even start daydreaming about what your life together could be like.
This kind of behavior can be bad news for a first, or even a second and third date, however. That’s because getting overwhelmed by your emotions can make you look obsessive and even dangerous.
Make sure you take a step back if you feel like you’re falling into this line of thinking. If you put too much investment into you’re date, you’re setting yourself up for an unpleasant experience if anything goes wrong, and something almost certainly will.
Even if you’re deeply in love already, take some time out, calm down, and treat your date like a normal person, not a prospective marriage partner.
Mistake #4: You stick to controversial topics.
Politics, religion and other serious topics can be difficult on a first date. While you shouldn’t feel as though you’re not allowed to mention them at all, you should remember that these are subjects on which most people have some pretty strong feelings.
That means that launching into a political or economic diatribe with someone you’ve only just met can make them feel overwhelmed, especially if the other person doesn’t strictly agree with you.
Don’t make your date feel like you’re starting a fight or as though you demand agreement. Stick to lighter subjects if possible, and feel the other person out before you bring up something serious.
Mistake #5: You treat every date like a test.
The dating process should be one that’s fun and enjoyable. Getting to know someone new can be really exciting.
Unfortunately, if you have serious hopes for your relationship, it can be easy to turn a game of “get to know you” into “20 questions.”
That makes the date feel more like a courtroom trial than an enjoyable experience.
Even if you’re dying to know whether or not your date wants kids someday, it’s good dating advice to be patient and find that information out later.