8 Things You Say On First Dates That Guarantee You Won’t Get a Second
While perusing our menus at a restaurant, Francois, a retired French race care driver, leans into my ear and whispers in his heavy French accent, “I can’t wait until your tongue is in my ass later.”
It was our first date.
And we hadn’t even ordered yet.
Without looking up from the appetizer list, I replied, “Sorry, that is not on the menu.”
Neither was a second date.
Ok, you probably know better than to ask a woman for analingus before appetizers. But that’s not the only verbal slipup that can kill your chances for a second date. We talked to than a dozen women about their real-world experiences on first dates to find out what else you should avoid saying. Read on for eight phrases to eliminate from your first-date vocabulary. And for ideas of what topics to avoid, click here.
Suzi, 29, was once on a first date with a guy she liked. Until he actually asked her this weirdly old-fashioned question: “Wanna go steady?”
“It was presumptuous,” she says. “I was like, ‘Hold on, cowboy. That’s way too fast.’ He wanted an instant relationship without the requisite of wooing me or getting to know me.”
You probably don’t speak like a guy in a 1950s-era romance, but any attempt to plan your future together—beyond a second date—will probably have the same off-putting effect.
What to do instead: Take your time to get to know her. “Women like to feel special and like you’ve taken the time to get to know them. When you seem like you’re just desperate to get married then it makes women feel interchangeable,” says Jenn Mann, an LA-based licensed psychotherapist and the author of The Relationship Fix.
How could a compliment turn women off, you wonder? Well, one is fine—but a barrage of “you’re so pretty,” “you’re so cool,” “you’re so sexy,” etc., is just too much.
“It makes the guy seem needy, desperate, and insincere,” says Janine, 41. “It’s like when someone gives you a present that’s way too expensive for where you are in the relationship—everything has its time and place.”
What to do instead: Less is more. And try to make the compliment specific to her. “You can say ‘you’re so pretty’ to just about anyone, but if you say you like the green flecks in her eyes, that is specific to her and makes her feel special,” says Mann.
If you’ve just decided to go back to school or are saving up for future plans, this is totally passable. But unless you have a good reason, many women will see living at home with the ‘rents as red flag.
“If a man lives at home to realize a goal (i.e., buy a house, build a business, get his Ph.D.), that’s the exception,” says Heather, 37. “But if you’re a grown man living at home so his parents will pay his bills, do his laundry, and cook his meals, it’s never okay. I want an equal partner, not a child.”
What to do instead: You won’t be able to hide this fact for long, but you also don’t need to lead with it on Date No. 1. Let her get to know you—and your ambitions—so she’ll have a broader context to place that one fact in.
“You can hold off until after date three,” says Mann.
Yes, one man really said this to Marcia, 28, on a first date. You probably know better than to be that blunt, but a surprising number of the women we interviewed for this story complained that men bring up sex too soon on first dates.
For example, one woman told us about a guy who joked about getting into her pants. It may seem more innocent than Marcia’s date, but it was still enough to ruin his chances because it made him seem like he had a one-track mind—which, again, can make women feel interchangeable.
And in Marcia’s case: “The only thing this guy wanted to talk about was how we were going to get drunk and f*** in his car,” she says. “Our conversations before we met up were never sexual, so this was a shock. I finished my drink and snuck out the back door.”
What to do instead: While sex is an important part of a relationship, sex talk on a first meeting should be limited. “You do want to make sure you’re compatible or know how someone feels, for instance, about pre-marital sex, if that’s a deal-breaker for you. But it needs to be limited to the broader strokes and not the sordid details,” says Mann.
Tread lightly when bringing up races or cultures that are foreign to you. Laura, a 33-year-old woman with a Mexican background, finds that some men try to ask—or even joke—about her culture in a way that makes her feel stereotyped.
“My date asked me if I like guacamole in a super exaggerated accent as I was trying to be serious and tell him about my Mexican background,” she says. “The lack of awareness was a huge turn-off.”
What to do instead: There’s a respectful way to ask about her culture. “Don’t make assumptions about what a person likes because of their culture. Ask open-ended questions, like ‘What kinds of foods does your family tend to like to eat?’” says Mann.
Eventually, past relationships need to be discussed. But a first date is about getting to know each other, not the exes. The ex-files have ruined many a first date—including one for Stephanie, 48.
“One guy said, ‘I know we’re not supposed to talk about our exes, but…’ and then proceeded to tell me everything about her and how he wished they could have worked it out,” she says. “Pretty clear signal that he wasn’t over it enough to date.”
To be clear: Griping about your ex isn’t any better, according to the women we interviewed. Whether your thoughts about your former flame are positive or negative, sharing them will only make you seem preoccupied with her—and not focused on the woman sitting right in front of you.
What to do instead: The advice here is simple: Just don’t talk about it on a first date. “This is a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ situation,” says Mann. (Same goes for your sex number. Here’s how to handle that question.)
But if your last relationship does come up, Mann says, speak about your ex respectfully. “Doing anything else makes you look like an a**hole.”
“I’M HAVING HYPNOTHERAPY TOMORROW”
We all have “weird stuff.” Maybe you have an odd fascination with serial killers, or refuse to eat anything blue. Whatever it is—we all have something, and your partner will find out eventually. But when to reveal it is the tricky part.
In the case of Leslie, 47, and her hypnotherapy-enthusiast date: “Thirty seconds into the date, he announces that he’s not drinking because he’s having hypnotherapy later to go into his past lives,” she says. “I’m not a spiritual person—my online dating profile even says I’m an atheist—so I nearly burst out laughing.”
What to do instead: Get to know your date through your shared interests first before dropping your weirdness bomb. “You don’t want to throw it all out on the first date, but you should share what you’re truly interested in early on,” says Mann.