What to look for on a First Date

Posted by Ro571, 02 Aug 10

You're excited (and maybe a bit nervous) to be going out on your first date with someone new. Before you go, consider this list of things to look for—some are promising indicators of a great connection in the making, and others can be reason to make the first date your last.

Red Flags

How much money do you make?

If your date seems interested in your income, even without asking point blank, consider this a warning sign that they might be too materialistic. At this stage, your personality should be more interesting to them than your bank statement. Even if you have plenty of money, you don’t want to date someone who’s too concerned with how much you have and what you do with it. Guys, unless she’s an auto enthusiast, asking what kind of car you drive is a dead giveaway. Ladies, it’s okay to want a potential provider, but be classy or risk seeming like a gold-digger.

The Ex factor

Unless it’s an exceedingly casual or inadvertent mention, no one should discuss their previous relationships on a first date. Most people know this, so if your date is going on about what they liked or didn’t like about their ex or all the fun things they used to do together, this is a sign of unresolved issues. Unless you’re all right with being someone’s rebound, keep your radar up here. Whether your date actually gets back together with an ex or is always comparing your relationship to that one, someone with freshly packed baggage can be a real drag!

Let’s go Dutch

Hear this, ladies—on a first date, the guy should want to pay. It’s up to the lady whether she lets him, but if he doesn’t offer now, he probably never will. While men should definitely not pay for everything in this day and age, offering on the first date is just being gentlemanly. If he doesn’t it could mean a lot of things, but none of them are good.

I remember getting to the bar, but that’s about it…

Some of the best dates never seem to end, and there’s nothing wrong with going barhopping together. But if your date is pounding one drink after another, with or without you, it’s a bad sign. Not only is it bad form to get ‘faced in your first face-to-face, it hints at a larger problem. It could mean that the person lacks confidence, is trying to force a connection, or might have a drinking problem.

An addendum for the ladies: if he’s trying way too hard to get you drunk, that means he’s only interested in one thing.

May I see your resume?

If your date lobs a ton of intrusive questions at you that make you feel like you’re in a job interview, it suggests the person has exceedingly high expectations, is cynical, uptight, or all three. The vibe should be relaxed and playful, not clinical. If you feel like you’re being vetted for a security clearance, getting involved with this person is not likely to produce the warmest, most understanding relationship in the world.

Encouraging Signs

A cozy atmosphere

It can take a little while to break the ice, but if you get to a point in the date where you feel almost as relaxed as when you’re out with your friends, it’s big. This is where the fun really starts. If you feel comfortable touching each other’s arm when you connect on some point, sit close together, and can’t keep smiles off your faces, you’ve crossed a threshold that many pairings never do.

Me too!

If you find yourselves constantly echoing each other’s sentiments, finding that you went to the same summer camp, or have the same tastes, you’re going to have a lot to do and talk about. What you’re doing here is connecting, in the truest sense, and it’s the bedrock of a relationship. See how far it goes—if you agree on the big stuff too, you’re fundamentally aligned.

Time flies

Does it feel like you just sat down when the check arrives? Do you look at your watch and wonder where the time went? When couples have a good dynamic, they’re so focused on each other that they’re barely aware of the outside world. Consider it very encouraging if you lose track of time during the date. (Obviously, checking your watch every ten minutes would be a red flag.)

Who knew the drugstore was so much fun!

Let’s say the best-laid plans go wrong, the restaurant lost your reservation, the roller-skating rink was closed, or whatever—if you make the best of it and have a blast anyway, you have a key component of great relationships. When a couple can turn a trip to 7-Eleven into a memorable experience, they’re clicking. Some things in life are fun with almost anyone, but if you can take adversity or boredom and turn into amusement and enjoyment, you’re good together.

Take note of each of these indicators and consider them seriously in your assessment of the date and your compatibility. It’s important to take every part of the date into account, not just the end. Just because things felt a bit awkward at “goodbye”—perhaps the kiss was unsatisfying, or didn't happen—doesn’t mean that overall this was a promising start. If you racked up some Encouraging Signs and there weren’t any Red Flags, a second date is almost surely in order!

46 responses to "What to look for on a First Date"

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  1.   RubyJym says:
    Posted: 14 Oct 12

    I've only been on the site for about two weeks. Just reading some of the responses from the ladies, my presumptions are the same. It appears that many of the males are looking for more sex. When I say more sex, whatever they're not able to get enough of elsewhere they go to the date sites. A gentleman told me once that my presumptions were right. Some of the men are on here for sex. So shallow minded they want to think the women are on here for the same reason. It's perversion. It's good they send up red flags to warn you. The ladies can go to the bars and night clubs for one-night-stands if that's all we want. Don't give up because of the ones that are deceivers. I believe there are some good men on the sites. I don't just expect to meet someone on the dating sites either. It is still possible to meet someone at the supermarket, the post office, the gas station, Home Depot, at the airport ladies, I met someone on the plane once. Don't give up yet.

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  2.   avamatinez says:
    Posted: 12 Oct 12

    well it seems almost every man here seeks sexual attention more and i am beginning to give up because it so insulting when ladies get this kind of treatment from men who so call say the are looking for a partner. i do not know what they think about dating on the INTERNET . i have spoken to over 30 men from this site but just 2 never asked for sex cams and just not my age group. the only thing that still keeps my hope high is the success stories i read.

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  3.   QTpie1968 says:
    Posted: 01 Aug 12

    It really does seem as if the men on here are way more interested in sex as opposed to a real relationship, and it's extremely disconcerting. There is nothing wrong with wanting and enjoying a wonderful and fulfilling intimate relationship, but I truly believe a solid foundation should be built first.

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  4.   Fikiy says:
    Posted: 02 Jul 12

    I think people are so intrested in sex than love. And i don't waste my time in trying to explain to them that am not that type! I just tell them am not a prostitute! And don't reply to anything afterwards. Am loosing hope! May God help me.

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  5.   Friendly13 says:
    Posted: 30 Nov 10

    I really like this online article. When I go on a first date I look for the red flags mentioned here: Questions like how much I make. Okay, I can understand asking me what I do as a profession, but asking me about my income is too personal. I mean is he looking for a roommate to split his mortgage with? Red flag for real. Then I want to talk about us not them (the ex'es). I want to forget my ex. I am not going to spend money getting ready to look good for someone who is going to waist my time to talk about some other woman. No way. Boring. This lets me know he is still on the rebound and could be called back at anytime. Red flag! Lets go dutch means is that if I decide not to go all the way with him he at least hasn't lost anything. I feel a gentleman would not treat me like a prostitute. If he pays for my dinner, movie, and maybe even an outfit, he can feel like the man that he is. If he suggests dutch he can count on a cancellation. Don't get me wrong if it is not a romantic date and we are just friends that is different, but I wouldn't pay to be on a site to find a buddy, I can do that at home. Well, needless to say...I could really relate to this story. Thanks for saying it all so well.

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    • Flame53 says:
      Posted: 13 Dec 10

      I feel this article is very helpful especially for first-timers to online dating. There are so many different types of people out here! People are looking for all types of things, Sex, money, gifts, only God know what else. You have given them some excellent types of guidelines to assist them in what to look out for. I personally have run into some of the very things you talked about in this article. Women that put out on the first date speaks volumes for that type of person. . .they are not going to change regardless of what anyone says lets just hope they don't spread disease to the rest of us ! ! ! But ladies there are some REAL gentlemen out here, keep searching and keep your principles intact! Remember those RED FLAGS!

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  6. Posted: 16 Nov 10

    Hi there. I am very happy to read articles like this and I commend you for sharing your knowledge about relationships. Keep up the good work. I am Mike Petrick and I wrote a book about how men will get the girl of their dreams and it s called Seduction Revolution. I hope you can help me spread the news. You can get more info at my site: http://get-agirl.com

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  7.   Afilaka says:
    Posted: 01 Nov 10

    You didn't mention poor personal and oral hygeine

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  8.   serenity33 says:
    Posted: 24 Oct 10

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  9. Posted: 24 Oct 10

    People are so different from each other nowadays. There are some interesting comments covering this topic though. I kind of smile here as I think about here in the midwest compared to the east or west coast. Its so conservative, its like you are kind of leery of asking too many questions, and you kind of are letting her lead the conversations. If she is leading in most conversations, she comes out thinking you have no confidence in yourself. Nothing is further from the truth. A nice smile flashed all night long by her makes me feel real comfortable. If I am standing away from her as she is talking to someone else, it makes me feel comfortable seeing her hips or her upper body pointed in my direction , even if she is looking at the person she is talking too. When she turns her whole body away from me to talk to someone else...kind of a lost cause. I think that being a non-drinker may lose points in regards to social skills while out on a date. It does not make me uncomfortable to see her drink, but it appears to make her uncomfortable. Its only a first date, be yourself, Religion and political beliefs I do try to stay away from in the beginning. I had a few tell me how I should be living...lol Naturally, it did not work out. I wonder if over time my senses are getting dull from this. It is getting to the point where it takes a whole lot to get me interested in a person. Something has to really be interesing to me about this person. Looks are great, but what is coming from the intellect?. Its hard to really know what you have got on a first date, but first impressions leave lasting effects!

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 24 Oct 10

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 27 Oct 10

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  10.   swRedlady says:
    Posted: 23 Oct 10

    Well, went on a first meet n greet this week. All seem to go well. We have more commons than uncommons. He spontaneously initiated the meeting. It was good. It was comfortable, nice, pleasant, alot of laughing, by the ways, holding hands and good conversations. We contacted everyday, via text, phone, email. I thought he was adorable. Anywho. After the meet n greet no more text, no email no contact. I reach out via text. he did ask about a personal past question. I replied honestly and explained it was 25 years ago that most people endulged in "grass". I thought honesty was best upfront than later when before the sh&% hits the fan when things are coasting and good. Well, I have not closed the door on my other connections and will move forward. Your thoughts are appreciated ! We had all the good signs. What happend, is he a cloacker? Redlady

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 24 Oct 10

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      • swRedlady says:
        Posted: 24 Oct 10

        Sorry spelling error. I meant Cloaker' as in hiding ehind the nice personality and smile, when you really are looking for a booty call "only". Thanks for the input.

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        • serenity33 says:
          Posted: 25 Oct 10

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        • kissime says:
          Posted: 12 Nov 10

          swRedlady, Move on. That's all I can say. It's crazy...I know. Just think of him as a crazy man. Anyone with mental stability or a hint of self-respect would not just disappear-especially after being in contact daily. Don't even waste your time thinking about what could had been. He's just not right. Keep your heart & mind open.

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 25 Oct 10

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  11.   Splended says:
    Posted: 21 Oct 10

    I agree Joseph! Most women is not taking into consideration about the warning signs: Bad dates, that lead to a destructive path. To many times we are told what to look for in a potential mate, but we chose to ignore the signs. What's so interesting is: most women who go out on dates that happens to turn out horrible and are left feeling uncomfortable, wouldn't say anything because fear of hurting the person feelings.( lack of confidence that led most people afraid to say what's on their mind and the fear of not finding someone good). Online dating is more and more challenging and competitive. What I have experience about online dating: A cop-out for most men who's board; want to past time and unleash their perverse behavior. Life long experience has taught these key points: Spend more time listening than talking; always trust your gut instinct; it never lead you wrong, but puts you on the right path. These guidelines able us to sift out the good from the bad. There, life becomes more and more simple for everyone!

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 22 Oct 10

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    • Olajola says:
      Posted: 04 Nov 10

      Amen to that.... You are so right .... I almost feel like giving up But there has to be some real men left.... Or are they " extinct species"....???

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  12.   gjones66216 says:
    Posted: 20 Oct 10

    I wonder how many female department heads of the Philosophy Department there are in Baltimore!

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 23 Oct 10

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  13.   gjones66216 says:
    Posted: 20 Oct 10

    Good article, generally. What about before that first date! Perhaps an article that describes what to look for in a profile would be an appropriate, informative addition. Sure, we go to the pictures for that first spark. Do we want to see pictures of you with your ex? Should you put pictures of your kids there? Is a bunch of facial shots and no body shots (no, not talking nudies) a red flag? Cars in the pic? Old pics? What's with pictures that are taken obviously in hotel rooms? Pics that aren't current are an immediate turn off.

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 20 Oct 10

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 26 Oct 10

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  14.   nessie6 says:
    Posted: 16 Sep 10

    You know I do like you Joseph, God bless you for everything you said here, is really very very difficult for people to be honest with themselves especially when it comes to relationship, this day and age people think when you have sex with someone then the relationship becomes all that one wanted but is rather not so, especially women are so vulnerable with dating because women think when they reach certain age their clock is ticking so the do things in extreme fashion just to get a man, but is wrong men knows that so they will deceive you by wanting to be romantic with you and say all manner of interesting topics to capture your mind, and then deceive you, there are men who exploit women on the internet a lot some women will show their nakedness on the web cam to men, because the man said so if you wont expose yourself to them they keep hunting until they find vulnerable women who will do that for them and that is a problem and is very troubling what kind of class do you have to meet somone that you have not met or do not have a relationship and talk into exposing yourself to them, they are perverts and they do not want anything serious then ease themselves , because somone man have told me that I am too hard to please and said he has women who do what he says but with me I wont, and I said my up bringing was totally different and I have some class so I dont bow to any body's irresponsible sort of thing to let myself go so stupidily that way.

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 22 Oct 10

      Thanks for the encouragement nessie6. It is greatly appreciated and I agree with everything you have said. But too many people dont like my views because my views make them feel guilty about their actions and way of being. I hope to bring enlightenment for people to change and be happier in relationships like I do in my marriage counseling job. Men are slick with their romantic statements and other things to deceive women and women are too quick to show their bodies online to try and entice the sex-crazed men. I dont think you are too hard to please and you shouldnt settle than less than what you are looking for. No one should and it is better to keep sex out of the equation between potential couples because like I keep telling people, it is the easiest part of the marriage. Compatibility and personality growth together are the hardest parts of a marriage. Sex is most wonderful in a happy marriage as opposed to being done just for hedonistic pleasure but sadly, most people will never know that feeling because they cant wait and ruin their chances later on when they do get married. Better to remain single your entire life than to compromise your standards especially if they are deeper ones. If you are holding out for shallow reasons, then you deserve to be alone. Of course my own personal view is the Christianity helps but that is my own biased view and I am the first to admit it. Thanks again and I hope you find a guy worthy of you.

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  15.   serenity33 says:
    Posted: 01 Sep 10

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  16.   blm70 says:
    Posted: 01 Sep 10

    I'm actually agreeing with Joseph's last post. I break all the rules on the first date. The woman I want, will want to skip the bs and talk about beliefs and values. Little bit more informative than what their favorite band is. And it's not so much 'are you religious?; but 'is your faith strong enough for both us, as I do not pray?' seriously, not mockingly... im agnostic, not an aethiest. Bitterness look when thinking about past, any felonies, lol.. I will talk about things in the past that shaped me to who I am now. Or ask them for a 'lesson learn' from prev relationship (like 'more communication' - not describe the past event). I still don't know her favorite band... ~kev

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 23 Oct 10

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  17.   serenity33 says:
    Posted: 28 Aug 10

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  18. Posted: 28 Aug 10

    Religion, politics and past relationships are topics ill suited for a first meeting as noted by dating experts. It's better to keep the initial conversation light and explore more personable topics.

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  19. Posted: 27 Aug 10

    I've experienced more success when meeting someplace where thoughts and ideas can take place. Perhaps a coffee shop. the ability to converse and communicate is essential in determining if there's to be a "second" meeting. However, there's a number of topics that might be avoided that first time: politics, religion, past relationships - not necessarily in that order. I enjoy learning about the movie types you enjoy, books you've read, the types of vacations you like to take. Those help define you as a person and share a bit of your personality. It's important to become acquainted, but too familiar - at least not on the first meeting.

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 22 Oct 10

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  20. Posted: 26 Aug 10

    I enjoyed reading your post and it's hard to find someone these days that is as honest as you. I am seeking a long term relationship also,but it seems that the men I meet online are just seeking sex. I am just about ready to give up.The first man to respond to me was all about talking about sex. I really tried to be lady like, but he made it impossible for me to hold my tongue. I just had to tell him that I was not what he was looking for and he thought that it was funny. I think that the world has gone mad. At first I thought that it was the younger men with the sexual issues but now I see the older ones are just as bad. I hope to meet Mr. Right one day.

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    • serenity33 says:
      Posted: 22 Oct 10

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      • JNB says:
        Posted: 22 Jul 13

        Serenity33 thank God for men like you who will speak and stand by the truth. God bless you

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    • tosen says:
      Posted: 24 Oct 10

      hey sweetness....you are absolutly right ...... i agree with you hmm so maybe one should become a lesbian ...hehe

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    • Meka01 says:
      Posted: 11 Feb 12

      I agree with you as well. It is so hard to find Mr Right. one guy I was chatting with invited me to an adult party-swingers party, another guy wanted me to send him money in africa, another guy was way too old. No thanks! I'm at the point now where I want give up on love. I know true love exist but I'm just not sure where to find it. be blessed-

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    • coolshanny says:
      Posted: 13 Jul 12

      I agree with you. I have all but given up on finding Mr. Right online. I am going to say what is a real turn off to me. When I try and have a conversation to get to know about that person. The man will try and lead the conversation to sex. I hate that!! I feel like I have logged into a porn site by accident. I don't need to see your body parts nor do you need to see mine. I even say on my profile that I am not a boody call. I wish men would stop tying to send naked pic's have phone sex and start a conversation on a level of respect for women. I would ask men this question...if a women sent nude pic's. Of herself to you don't you think she would be sending them to other men? And the same goes for men. I tend to ask this question of men like this, if they can have a conversation with a woman or is it just easier for them to talk about sex. I am not a prud but I do have respect for myself. I am not saying all men are this way but a majority of them are. To have a meaniful relationship you need to lay a good foundation first. If you want a classy lady then respect her and don't talk about sex. If things progress to the level it will happen in time. Also think about this...if you had a daughter would you want her sending, talking or sexing to a stange man she met online? I know I will probably get a lot of flack for what I am saying but I call it how I have seen it.

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      • trackgirl15 says:
        Posted: 13 Jul 12

        OMG! I thought i was the only person experiencing the "sex talk". I had a "text" conversation with a guy and he wanted to know if I was a freak in bed. Didn't even ask me my name. When I refused to go along with him he called me "boring" and said I am self centered and closed minded. Imagine that? LOL

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  21.   serenity33 says:
    Posted: 21 Aug 10

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    • 2martini says:
      Posted: 24 Aug 10

      Joseph, I really appreciate your relating your experiences. Some people are very shallow and expect the fact they they desire you, it should change your mind. I do like the idea of waiting, because it allows you to cross the hurdles and clear the challenges you may face to go further. If , in fact , that is your desire. For those who simply want to bed someone, it is way too easy, to find a willing person to do it. But in all honesty, I feel once the New wears off, they will definitely be on to the next. This type of be behavior can be very dangerous. Thank God for a working conscience, as well as a desire to build a stable, happy, healthy, long term relationship!

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      • serenity33 says:
        Posted: 23 Oct 10

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