10 Mistakes Women Make on a First Date

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Posted by Jenn Clark on November 4, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Have you ever had this experience:  You go on - what you think is - a great first date. You’re certain he’ll call to ask you out again. You wait a couple days, confident he’s just playing a little hard to get.  However, as time passes without so much as a measly text, you begin to wonder what’s going on. Maybe he got busy? Lost your phone number? Fell into an open manhole and will call you as soon as emergency workers rescue him to safety? 

Perhaps you decide to take matters into your own hands and send him a text thanking him (again) for dinner. Chances are, you either receive silence or a noncommittal response without any indication he wants to see you again. Now you're confused. What the hell happened? You were feeling it -- why wasn’t he?

First dates can be particularly tricky. Figuring out how to navigate an evening with someone you barely know has its potential pitfalls.  In the interest of having a great first date, here are some of the common mistakes women make. Hopefully by learning about them, we can prevent ourselves from engaging in them.         

1. We get too excited beforehand. Have you ever met a man and started to imagine a future together before you’ve even shared an appetizer? I think most of us have. We’ll get so amped up about the prospect of a date with a new guy that we’ll start to obsess about what we’re going to wear, spend $200 on hair extensions, and begin to envision our destination wedding. This puts major pressure on both the man and the date itself to be incredible. Instead, relax a bit before a first date and keep an open mind. Don’t invest your emotions in someone until you’re sure they’re worthy of that investment.

2. We act overly eager or desperate. Do you tell dates how desperately you want to get married and have kids? Do you laugh too hard, come across as nervous, or act like you are way too concerned with saying the right thing? Do you offer to pay or split the check? Are you willing to drive two hours to see him instead of coming up with a halfway point that’s convenient for both of you? Do you try to extend dates by asking if he’d like to move on to a different location for another drink? If so, you are acting like a desperado. And no man wants to be with a desperado.

3. We talk too much or not enough. I’ve heard over and over that a man wants a woman who is “mysterious.”  For years I wondered what the heck that meant. Fortunately, I’ve figured it out and am here to explain it to you:  A man thinks a woman is “mysterious” (translation: interesting) when he keeps wanting to get to know her. This is why you don’t want to tell him every detail of your life within six minutes of him saying “table for two.”  Similarly, you don’t want to be mute, expect him to carry the entire conversation, or refuse to tell him anything about yourself. On a first date, give him a taste of the wonderful woman you are and let him wonder about the rest. When you do this properly, a second date is almost always guaranteed.

4. We think of it as a job interview rather than a date. Back in my single days, I had a first date with a guy who asked me, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”  Are you kidding me?!?  That’s something you ask a potential employee, not a potential girlfriend. Women make this mistake too. We act like our date must audition for the role of boyfriend.  We forget to flirt and have fun. We treat him like our co-worker rather than our romantic interest. There’s no need to interrogate him with a series of questions, ask him about his “life goals,” or explain that no man will ever come before your career. It’s just dinner, ladies, not a business transaction.

5. We overdress (or underdress). I know a woman who insists on wearing workout clothes on dates.  It’s true!  She puts her unwashed hair in a ponytail and laces up her tennis shoes.  Is it a surprise she has very few second dates? When you don’t make an effort to look nice on a first date, you send a message to the guy that he’s not important enough for you to be bothered. Rude! On the converse, you don’t want to go over the top with your outfit and makeup either. It’s completely unnecessary to spend a fortune on a new dress or hours doing your hair. Look your best without making it look like you’re trying too hard to look your best.

6. We forget to be classy. One of the biggest complaints I hear from men is that modern women seem to have forgotten how to be classy.  “I don’t like it when a woman cusses a lot - especially when we’re first getting to know each other,” one explained to me.  On a first date, be sure to mind your manners. Don’t drink too much or get drunk. Don’t engage in overly sexual conversations.  And, of course, anything that could be construed as racist, offensive, or derogatory should never be spoken.

7. We act like it’s a therapy session. In a recent conversation with a friend, I asked her how her first date with a new guy went.  “It was great!” she told me. “I felt so comfortable and we talked about everything.”  Everything, indeed. My friend told her date about her last horrific break-up, her battles with her body image, and how she hasn’t spoken to her father in almost three years. Is it a shocker that she never heard from him again?  “I don’t get it,” she told me after she realized that a second date would not be forthcoming. On a first date, it’s best not to get into any “heavy” discussions. Keep it lighthearted and save the drama for your therapist.

8. We forget to pay attention to his behavior. I have a theory that if you pay attention, a man will tell you almost everything you need to decide if he’s got boyfriend potential on the first couple of dates. The trick is to learn to pay attention to the signs.  Is he polite to servers? Does he have good manners? Does he watch what he says and seems to be on good behavior? Or does he seem disrespectful? Does he have a positive outlook on life? Does he seem genuinely interested in getting to know you (as opposed to merely getting in your pants)? Or does he seem braggy, self-centered, or conceited? Use the first date to analyze his behavior and see if he’s worth more of your time and energy. If he’s not, cut your loses and run!

9. We act bitchy, snobby, or hard to please. Here’s one of my dating rules:  A woman who radiates warmth and friendliness is a woman men want to be around.  Rolling your eyes at him, complaining about the food, or suspiciously asking him prying questions such as, “So why did your last girlfriend break up with you?”  are no-no’s.  If you don’t like him, don’t go out with him again. However, while you are with him, be considerate, fun, and appreciative.

10. We sleep with him. About a year ago, I was a guest on a radio show where the host and I discussed first dates.  “What’s the one thing a woman shouldn’t do on a first date?” she asked me.  Without pausing to think, I immediately said, “Sleep with him.”  Not having sex on a first date isn’t about being old-fashioned or prudish -- it’s about being smart.  Chances are great that at the end of a first date,  even if it was amazing, you still won’t know whether or not he is truly serious he is about you, has an STD, will ask you out again, and is your future boyfriend. When sex happens on a first date, the chances of developing a relationship decrease significantly. More often that not, the man loses attraction and the inclination to pursue.  It’s “game over” and before he’s changed his sheets, he’s already thinking, “Next!”  My advice?  Keep those clothes on, ladies.    

It’s always important to keep in mind that even if it was the best first date you’ve ever had, he isn’t necessarily your soul mate.  So after a first date, take a breath and relax.  Call your girlfriends and book plans for the next few days to take the edge off.  And never fear, if you handled the date right and he’s a quality guy, you will hear from him again.

What are your first date rules?


Don't forget to check out GirlsGuideTo...TV's Quicky this week: First Date Do's and Don'ts! 


Jenn Clark is a relationship advice expert and author of the book “How to Be a Goddess (A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Woman Men Dream About…).” You can find it on her Facebook

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9/10 i'm making sure I don't see myself hanging under the CLEARANCE SALE. You just need to know your worth and that's good enough.
  • Posted by Anonymous on November 6, 2012 at 1:04 PM
Pretty sure I've done at least half of these and I'm in my lower 20's and recently got married, sooo....
  • Posted by Anonymous on November 6, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Seriously, did your Mother tell you that or did you have to go to college to figure that out for yourself. How is being single working out for you??