10 First Date Blunders That Blow It Every Time

by Brad Isaac on July 27, 2007

Here’s the moment of truth. You’ve met someone you really like. You’re excited. You’re nervous. You begin to formulate a plan. You mull over how you will dress, talk and act. You begin to think through what you’ll say, what they’ll say and then what you’ll say to what they said…

Hold on a second there 007. Before you get too tied up with what you are going to do, realize the first date is more about not making a bad impression than it is making a good one. After all, the other person is going out with you – they’re interested.

Here are 10 first date blunders that virtually guarantee there won’t be a second date:

1. Talking only about yourself – Isn’t it sad that the whole conversation can’t revolve around you? Not really. It should be fun to learn about someone else, their hopes, dreams, work and life. So while it’s tempting to try to impress by talking about yourself, it’s far more influential to be interested en the other person. Dating is a two way street. Let them talk at least 50-60% of the time and you’ll be ok.

2. Revealing too much – I know what you’re thinking. “I need to be honest so that they know up front who I am and my past.”

Ok, Mr. Creepy, let’s settle down there for a minute. There is a time and place for everything. A first date is not the time to spill the beans on embarrassing past moments, deepest darkest secrets, or about spending the night in the pokey for stealing skin mags from the corner store. At best, your revelation will make you both uncomfortable. At worst, she might brandish the pepper spray.

Same for the women. First dates aren’t the place to reveal past relationships with college professors or your 2 month stint in rehab for a chocolate addiction. Keep it light and fun, not heavy and depressing.

3. Not listening – Have you ever had someone ask you a question and as you were answering, they changed the subject? How did you feel? You probably felt like you weren’t very important to that person right?

It’s the same with first dates. We want to impress the other person, but the best way to impress is be impressed. Ask questions and listen intently to the answers. You should want to know. After all, by dating you will be spending a lot of time with someone, wouldn’t it be better to learn as much about that person as possible?

4. Not looking your best – Isn’t it great when some people say “I am not going to waste time getting all dressed up for this date. If he doesn’t like me for more than my looks then he’s an idiot anyway…”

Sounds good on paper, but fact is, we are all concerned about looks. Looking your best (notice I didn’t say dress like a sex-pot or wear a tuxedo and top hat) is a sign of confidence and security. Looking your worst implies you might be sloppy and/or have bathing issues.

5. Trying to be cool or aloof – “Hey baby, glad you could make it. I’ve ordered you a cocktail and have us a table waiting.” Pretty cool eh?

My female readers are probably rolling their eyes right now. Trying to be cool will ensure one thing…that you aren’t.

Its the same with being aloof. Guys seem to do this more than women, but women can play it too. Pretending not to care will send a message to the other person… that you don’t care. You might say “But that’s like playing hard to get. What if that makes her chase me?

Question: when has that ever worked out for you? No need for games. Show focused interest in the people you like or take up another hobby. You’re wasting everybody’s time and giving me a headache…off with ye!

6. Having sex or being too sexual – Sorry guys, no sex on the first date. And while we’re on the subject, keeping the sex talk to a minimum. First dates too focused on sex seldom lead to sex anyway. But not only that, they usually lead no future dates. So if you can stifle the pr0n talk you’ve got a much better chance of forming a close bond with the other person.

Close bonds lead to what? Typically we hang out with people we’ve bonded with. They don’t go running for the nearest police officer. hint-hint

Women, you need to listen too. Being too sexual tends to lead a guy to think about something… hold on I’ll remember in a second. Oh yeah, sex. When have you known people to think clearly when they are thinking about sex? Steer the conversation to everyday topics, keep it light and fun.

7. Going someplace where you cant talk – Hey, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s go see the Pixies reunion show together for our first date. That way we can yell at each other and still not hear a word. The object of a first date is to keep it light and informative. You want to discover whether this person is compatible with you. You can’t possibly find that out if you can’t talk.

8. Not being yourself – Similar to being cool above, being yourself is your only long term strategy. Lets say you don’t take this advice. How long can you keep up the act? I guarantee it won’t be long.

9. Bringing friends along – People who bring along friends on a first date baffles the mind. There are so many ways this can go wrong it is almost sad. Let’s break it down. On most first dates, you are ahead of the game as long as you aren’t making a bad impression. Do you really want to bring along your buddy who instantly doubles your odds of looking like a moron?

Women, I know you might think “Hey, there is safety in numbers… you never know if the guy is a rapist or not.” True, I guess you never do know. But if you have suspicions, then what are you doing going out with him in the first place? Instead of bringing your girlfriend(s) along, pick a public place where you can get to know the guy. Take as long as you need, but bringing along a friend risks you looking immature as well as your girlfriend running off with the guy.

10. Not listening to your gut – You know that little voice in your head that says ‘oh he’s bad news’ or the little sick feeling you get in the pit of your stomach ‘something about her is strangely unnerving in a Paris Hilton sort of way.’ These ‘primal’ senses are critical not only to forming a happy and healthy relationship, but they can prevent you from being hurt.

“But she’s so hot!” he argues. “He’s so confident and mysterious.” she says. They always are. Move on anyway.

To have your heart and head moving in two different directions leads to confusion. Confusion leads to vulnerability. And vulnerability leads to nothing good at the hands of some crazy person… Need I go on?

Trusting your gut can be a challenge if you feel lonely or needy. But not trusting it is going against your nature. At best, you would be snuggling up with someone incompatible with you. At worst… well, we won’t go there… Lets just say some people in this world aren’t nearly as kind and loving as you, ok?

The goal of a first date

To summarize, first dates can be both a thrilling and nervous event. My basic advice is to be yourself, be curious and keep it light. First dates are like job interviews, so ask yourself “would I say or do this to a potential employer?” If the answer is no, then you are much better off doing something else.

If you like this article be sure to check out my blog series Project Dream Dating 2007 where you’ll discover breakthrough strategies on meeting and dating the people you want.

Part 1: Project Dream Dating 2007 Introduction

Part 2: Project Dream Dating 2007 Background On Shyness

Part 3: Know Who You Are Looking For

Part 4: Five Steps To Being At The Right Place At The Right Time

Part 5: Shyness Buster #1Part 6: Shyness Buster #2

Part 7: Know This Before You Ask Someone On a First Date  

Part 8: How to Ask Someone Out for a Date

Set powerful goals online with our new online goal management tool


July 28, 2007 at 12:41 am

Phew. This makes me even more glad I’m married. :) Of course, more permanent relationships come with their own list of blunders as well as “do’s and taboos.”

July 28, 2007 at 5:07 am

Permanent relationships are based on trust, mutual understanding between each other

July 28, 2007 at 1:34 pm

Excellent advice. I’m glad to be out of the dating world, but I do miss the thrill of a first date.

Mike July 28, 2007 at 2:21 pm

i think i did all of these on my first date with my present girlfriend. Yea, she’s a keeper.

July 28, 2007 at 8:40 pm

I agree with an earlier poster.. thank god im married..dealing with all those little things to make someone like you seems crazy now at this point in my life.

July 29, 2007 at 6:28 pm

Brad – I transposed your list for my profession (law) and in particular for first client interaction purposes. My post (on my blog) admits that I stole from you and points to your site (both blog and software). Have a look and tell me its OK :)


My post: http://www.gerryriskin.com/law-firm-marketing-7-client-interaction-blunders-that-blow-it-every-time.html

Brad Isaac July 29, 2007 at 11:42 pm

Gerry, to me it looks like you took the message and spun it so your readers would benefit. You linked back and credited the source. I don’t consider that stealing at all, in fact, it’s what blogging is all about.

So if what you did was wrong, I don’t wanna be right. ;)

David July 30, 2007 at 1:01 pm

I would add:

Don’t ever answer your cell phone, or make a cell phone call, during the date.
- You have a child at home and it’s the babysitter calling.
- You’re someone important enough to have to answer a call during your off-time (Lawyer, MD, etc.) And if that’s the case, state up front that you may have to take a call like that at some point.

September 26, 2007 at 12:10 am

I’ll tell you this. If you’re out with some chick who is texting and chatting on a cell phone you can only assume she has such complete disregard that would rather be somewhere else. Do yourself a favor and get rid of her… fast… because she’s three things: greedy, self centered and inconsiderate.

June 4, 2008 at 1:39 am

“My basic advice is to be yourself, be curious and keep it light. ” True, go to the local coffee shops that you feel comfortable at and save something fancy for later.

Sabinas last blog post..The World’s Greatest Football Stadiums

Brad Isaac June 4, 2008 at 9:34 am

Sabina, a coffee shop is good as long as it’s quiet (off hours). Because if it’s a busy rush hour meeting, you can’t hear each other and there are too many distractions that can be misinterpreted.

September 6, 2008 at 12:47 pm

I’d say that listening to your gut instinct is very important.

Also, it’s pretty easy to be too forthcoming. If you start talking about past relationships too early then that can turn someone off pretty quickly.

They probably think: “This guy is pretty candid. If we get together, is he going to blurt about me to others when he has the chance?”

hiiiii April 30, 2009 at 1:43 pm

i dunno, things can turn bad ? not only beacuse of these reasons !?

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