But taking the chance is necessary if you ever want to find a meaningful relationship. Nobody wants to text back and forth forever, and eventually you’ll have to meet the person you’re talking to.
First dates may be the perfect recipe for nerves, but they are also the perfect opportunity to work out if someone is really right for you. Some people take longer to come out of their shell, and that’s fine, but there are some signs you should stay well clear of someone that are immediately apparent on a first date.
Scroll down to see 13 first date red flags that mean you should be careful – or perhaps never see them again.
1. They are late — but don’t tell you
Erika Ettin, founder of dating site A Little Nudge, said one immediate red flag is if your date is late without informing you. Everyone gets caught up sometimes, and it’s fine to be late if you notify the person what’s happened. But turning up half an hour late without saying anything may signal disrespect.
“He or she needs to value your time,” Ettin said. And presuming you’re fine waiting around for them without knowing where they are is quite insulting.
This isn’t necessarily enough to write the person off. Their phone may have run out of battery, or they could have been on a train with no signal. But it is something to be aware of, because you don’t want it to become a habit.
2. Their behaviour suggests a control problem
Ettin said it’s not a great sign if your date talks the whole time. “While this may be nerves, it may also be a sign of a bit of an ego,” she said.
Also, it’s not unheard of for someone to actually order for you without asking what you want. While this may simply be a sign of a self-absorbed idiot, it could also be a warning sign that they have some controlling tendencies.
Be careful, because overly repressive behaviour early on could be their way of testing your boundaries. In the long run, this could be an indicator of coercive control.
3. They aren’t present
If your date is always on his or her phone, actively checking it throughout the date, or is constantly looking around to see what else (or who else) is out there, they aren’t really present, Ettin said.
Of course, they might be waiting on an important call from a relative or a job. But if they don’t explain this to you, leaving you to come to your own conclusions, that isn’t a particularly good sign.
4. They are rude to the waiter
“Your date is rude, to a server or to anyone for that matter,” Ettin said. “If this is the first impression, imagine what life would be like.”
In other words, if your date is willing to be rude to the person who is just doing their job, there’s no reason they wouldn’t turn that around on you. After all, people are generally their best selves on a first date because they’re trying to give a good impression. And as first impressions go, rudeness isn’t ideal.
5. They’re aggressively romantic
A little romance goes a long way, and everyone likes to feel special. But if someone is going overboard the first time they meet you, it could be something more sinister than them just being really into you.
If your date is showering you with affection, gifts, and compliments to an excessive degree, they may be trying to manipulate you into thinking you’ve found “the one,” with a tactic known as “love bombing.”
Essentially, the victim falls into a false sense of security, which allows the abuser to start taking advantage of them.
The sweet nothings are full of empty promises, because the abusive person is putting on an act. They know that eventually they will be able to get away with their psychological abuse in the future because the victim will want to get the wonderful person back they thought they knew.
6. The date moves too fast
Sometimes love bombing will only become apparent after a few weeks, but incredibly manipulative people may try and overwhelm you right away on the first date.
Katie Hood, the CEO of One Love Foundation, told Business Insider the first date is often like a dream or a scene from a movie, because your date is so charming and complimentary of you, telling you you’re such a special person and they are so glad to be with you.
“It’s actually right at this phase that you need to pay the most attention to balance in your relationship and also how you’re truly feeling in your gut about how things are going,” she said.
“If the pace feels too fast, it’s important to pay attention. Quick ‘I love you’s’ or moves to exclusivity before you really know each other may indicate you’re with a person who wants to label you as ‘his’ or ‘hers,’ a hallmark of a controlling personality.”
7. They bring up their ex — a lot
It’s fine to talk about ex-partners in a relationship. You’ve both broken up with everyone you’ve ever been with, so it would be weird if you never mentioned anything you ever did before you met each other.
One psychologist actually thinks its a good idea to talk about previous relationships on a first date. But like with everything, there is a limit.
If your partner is obsessively bringing up their ex-partner(s), it could be a sign they are not over them, or that they are bitter about the past. It’s especially important to take notice if they are being very critical about their exes.
“When people describe all of their exes as terrible people and put all the blame on them for the relationship’s failure, this is a red flag for me,” said Elinor Greenberg, a psychologist and author of “Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety.”
“It practically shouts: ‘I cannot take any responsibility for whatever went wrong. I have not learned anything from these relationships. It is totally up to you to make our relationship work.'”
8. They tease you in a mean way
According to Katie Hood, another warning sign someone is toxic is when friendly banter has an edge to it that sometimes feels hurtful or mean.
A bit of teasing is a good way to form connections, because it shows you’re comfortable enough together to make fun of each other. But if the balance tips and you find yourself being offended or taken aback by what they said, don’t be afraid to call them out on it. And don’t let them dismiss you for being “too sensitive.”
“Learning to call your partner out in a low-key way, [like saying] ‘That’s not love!’ and paying attention if this happens all the time is critical to understanding whether you’re starting to veer into emotional abuse,” Hood said.
9. They are already jealous
“Another important sign is jealousy,” said Hood.
“If you’re on a date and your phone goes off, does your date ask you who is trying to reach you? Do they ask you a lot of questions about previous partners?
“While some questions like these are normal, and a part of getting to know each other, if they feel intense and excessive that may be a sign of trouble to come.”
10. They are uncomfortable with differences in opinion
Meeting different people with varying opinions is just one part of what makes life so interesting. However, some people really struggle to empathise with any opinion that isn’t their own.
It’s important that even at the beginning, you are comfortable enough with being yourself and expressing your opinions. You don’t have to delve deep into the politics, but if your date is clearly uncomfortable with something you believe in, that’s a red flag.
Therapist Kurt Smith told the Huffington Post it is probably a bad thing if your date is afraid of confrontation or differences and obviously shies away from any heavier topics.
“You don’t want a people pleaser, placater, or someone who lacks a backbone as a partner,” he said.
“On the flip side, you don’t want someone who is argumentative or has to make their point just to make their point. Basically, how confrontation is handled can be very revealing on a first date and give you good information about the future.”
11. They make too many jokes
Everyone likes to laugh, and when you find someone with a similar sense of humour to you, that’s a really good sign.
But some people use jokes as a defence mechanism. If your date is constantly laughing and joking, even when you’re trying to be serious, it could indicate they have a fear of intimacy.
Of course, they may simply be nervous, and joking is a good way to break the ice. But if you feel they are dismissing their own feelings, as well as yours, it could be an indicator they are using humour to keep you at a safe distance.
Ssome time in the future, you may find they have an avoidant attachment style. This means they focus on all your faults until they find any reason to run away from you – just something to be aware of.
12. They admit to ghosting other people
The world of dating terms is constantly getting ever more convoluted, but ghosting is the one most people can relate to.
Ultimately, ghosting someone – i.e.: disappearing without so much as a text message – shows an awful lack of respect. It’s what cowards do when they can’t face dumping you properly.
So if you’re on a first date, and the person sitting opposite you is telling you how they have ghosted people before (they may even brag about it) that’s a sign they probably won’t have much courtesy for you either.
According to Erika Ettin, ghosting is the absolute worst thing you can do to someone you are no longer interested in. So if someone is willing to do it at all, it’s a big old red flag.
13. They seem bored by you
Therapist Jeannie Ingram told the Huffington Post that your date should show a balance of curiosity and interest in you as a person – which means they have to listen to you.
“If they’re dismissive of you – or seem bored by what you have to say – it’s a red flag,” she said. “If the relationship launches and you’re together for a period of time, you want someone who, in a time of inevitable conflict, can listen to you with respect, kindness and curiosity. Bottom line: You want someone you can trust to treat you well on the first date and the rest of your life.”
According to councilor Suzanne Degges-White in a blog post for Psychology Today, even taking you to their favourite sports bar could be an early warning sign – especially if they spend more time watching the TV instead of listening to what you’re saying.
“If you don’t warrant his full attention on the first date, chances are that he’s made his priorities clear,” she said. “If you are as engrossed in the game as he is, this might be a good thing. If he leaves you feeling like you’re already on the losing team, you might need to decide if you want to go into overtime or just admit defeat and cut your losses.”
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