Having gone on dozens of first-and-only dates, I got pretty good at assessing a man’s character after the first date. I became fairly well-attuned to some of the dumb things men do on first dates.
I’m not saying I could always tell who they were after the first date, but I could tell whether or not they were right for me.
Never mind that I didn’t always follow my gut on this. I had plenty of missteps and made some poor decisions, on the road to finding true love.
What really got to me was men who were so impulse-driven – or just plain ignorant – that they did what felt good to them . . . without caring if they overstepped and made me uncomfortable or creeped out.
They didn’t seem to care or consider the impact their actions would have on me. After all, except for a few emails and phone calls, they didn’t know who I was.
Sure, a guy can go with an impulse and do whatever strikes him on a first date, and everything may be groovy. She may be glad he did.
But isn’t it better to play it safe . . . just in case that action may make her uncomfortable, and blow his chances with her?
Doing the dumb things noted below also indicates a lack of empathy. Try putting yourself in her shoes.
Women perhaps more so than men, are concerned about their safety on dates. Men need always to keep this in mind, before doing things that will make they them feel good, but may make her feel icky or afraid.
Err on the side of caution and common courtesy. Be considerate. In other words, be a true gentleman.
The “don’ts” below are all about taking risks that can easily backfire. Why take the chance that doing these things will be okay with the woman who may be your ideal partner?
4 Dumb Things Men Do on First Dates
1. Tell her where you’re going for the first date.
One of the things men do on first dates is deciding, with no consideration for his date, where they’ll meet.
It drove me nuts when men would write or say to me “Let’s do such and such” on our first date, instead of asking me what I’d like to do, or offering suggestions.
This may be a fine point, but “Let’s” implies a command, which is not a great way to start things off. I want a say in where we’re going.
Be polite. Ask what she’d like to do.
I’ll take this further. For the first several dates at least, ALWAYS let the woman decide where you’re going. If she’s wise, she’ll go somewhere that she’ll feel safe . . . maybe somewhere she’s gone many times before.
And be willing to go out of your way. Agree on a spot that’s convenient and comfortable to her.
Defer to her. It may not matter to her that you do this . . . but then again, it may matter very much.
I always think a coffee date is the best for a first date. Don’t push her to meet you for dinner if she doesn’t want to.
You may be sure she’s the one and you want a romantic evening with her, but you could be misjudging things.
I made the mistake of letting a man talk me into a romantic dinner for the first date, and it was a disaster.
Dinner is too much of a commitment for a first date. Go for coffee or some other place where either of you can make a hasty get-away, if things go really bad.
2. Insist on picking her up in your car for the first date.
Again, put yourself in her shoes. She’s about to meet a stranger, so has every reason to be cautious and want to move slowly.
She’ll probably be concerned for her safety and not want to risk getting into the car with you.
Smart men understand that they should always let the woman set the pace for how and when the relationship progresses from one stage to the next.
Here are the hurdles I was aware of getting past in the first several dates, if I wanted things to progress beyond the first date:
- Moving from a few initial emails to a phone call or two, before the first date.
- Moving from the phone calls to an actual first date.
- Wanting to have the first romantic kiss.
- Feeling safe enough to get in a car with him.
- Feeling safe enough to invite him into my home.
- Feeling safe enough to go into his home.
Always assume that you’ll each drive separately to the first date.
3. Think you’re so endlessly interesting that you deserve to dominate the conversation.
I sat through many first dates and mostly accepted that first-and-only dates are just part of the dating game.
Actually, I came to treat them as learning experiences. The more men I sat across a table from for an hour or so, the more I learned about myself and who would make an ideal partner for me.
But some conversations were close to intolerable.
One of the dumbest and most annoying things men do on first dates is talking non-stop and showing little to no interest in finding out about their date.
Since first dates can be nerve-racking for some, I made allowances for plenty of flubs.
But the purpose of a first date (or any early-on dates) is to find out about each other.
Without a balanced conversation, with give and take, there’s no way to get to know each other.
And the thing is, these motor mouths were most often complaining non-stop about something: their exes, their jobs, their relatives, etc.
Someone who talks non-stop on a first date is likely to be a gasbag in a relationship too.
I believe that some men may feel that what they talk about is more important than what women talk about.
And some women are not used to being assertive enough to insert themselves into a monologue.
Women also may be more apt to tolerate men who interrupt them.
We allow ourselves to get interrupted and talked over, for fear we’ll come off as too assertive.
Prepare a specific phrase
Having a prepared response when you’re interrupted can make it easier to acknowledge that it’s happening and get the other person to confirm that it’s now your turn to speak.
For example, you could say, “Would you mind if I finish?” Then be quiet. That’ll often stop someone talking over you.
Wait for a break
Another option is to let the person finish their thought. Then ask, “Are you finished? Because I would like to finish what I was saying.”
Get them to engage in that. When they say ‘Yes, I am finished,’ then they will hopefully be willing to listen to what you have to say.
Watch your body language
Position yourself in a more assertive way nonverbally. For example, lean forward and make strong eye contact.
Stop offering nonverbal and paralinguistic cues that position you as listener. These cues are helpful while you are listening, but if you want to shift out of that role into the speaker role, indicate that. For example, stop nodding, “mmm-hmmm-ing,” or looking away.
4. Kiss her on the lips on the first date.
This is another one of the dumb things men do on dates that may work out fine, but could also ruin your chances.
I remember a first date in which the man apparently thought things were going very well. If he’d been paying attention, he would have noticed that I wasn’t that interested.
He was nice enough, but not for me. Aside from being friendly as always, I don’t believe I gave him any indication that I was interested.
Nevertheless, when he walked me to my car, he grabbed me tight and planted a big wet kiss on my lips. If I’d had any hesitation, that sealed the deal. No way I’d have a second date with him.
I’ve been on first dates that went very well, and I was very interested. I still didn’t want the guy to kiss me on the first date. It never felt right. Even with Cosmo – and we REALLY hit it off on date one. He knew enough not to risk a kiss on the first date.
You may think I’m a prude, but kissing on the lips is intimate. And if Covid is still floating around, I think everyone should be cautious about kissing strangers.
It’s best to hold off until the second or third date, in my opinion.
There are plenty of people who take it to the limit and have sex on the first date.
I think that’s a catastrophic mistake, that can instantly ruin a relationship that might have worked out. But then again, it might not create problems. You never know.
You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth the risk on date one to have sex, or kiss her on the lips, or dictate where to go on the date one, or insist you pick her up.