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9 Things NOT To Do on the First Few Dates (*Hint* They All End in “Out”)

In Dating, Relationships by Debra Fileta

I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say that I’ve been on some out-of-control bad dates in my lifetime.

I once put a question on social media asking people to share their most horrific dating experiences. The answers ranged from terribly awkward conversation to over-the-top religious undertones to sex-driven interactions.

But the most interesting thing about these dates, is that there wasn’t anything catastrophic that made them horrible, but simply the quality of the interactions. As I’ve been thinking (and WAY over-thinking, hence the rhyming list…) about what makes a bad date, here are the top 9 things you should never, ever, ever…ever do. And so that they’re easy to remember, they all end in “out”. You can thank me later.

  1. Make-Out: Let’s just get this one out of the way. I get that we live in a crazy hook-up culture. But no matter your beliefs, there is absolutely no reason to be head-locked on a first date. For the best chance at a healthy relationship, the first stage of interactions with the opposite sex should be a purposeful and deliberate pursuit of trying to get to know each other. Emotional, mental, and spiritual connections are the foundational building blocks of a relationship. Time is precious. Don’t waste your time exchanging saliva, when you could be learning what you need to know to take steps forward in the relationship, or to quickly back away.
  2. Zone-Out: There’s nothing worse than checking out on a date. Whether it’s getting distracted by the TVs in the sports bar, or worse yet, your iPhone addiction- there’s no greater turn-off than a lack of attention. Show your date respect by putting your stinkin’ phone down, and choosing a place where there are little to no distractions. If you’re hoping to make a relationship last, your attention, time, and energy is the greatest investment you can make.
  3. Leave-Out: More important than all of the rest, it’s important to be honest. Don’t leave-out the truth by trying to be someone you are not. Relationships can only be built on honesty, so come prepared to be real, genuine, and authentic. Anything less is setting yourself up for failure.
  4. Give-Out: As important as it is to bring honesty, let’s not get carried away with ourselves. Be honest, but save the details of your life story and deep dark secrets for at least date 3 (I’m being sarcastic…let’s wait a little longer). Emotional intimacy is an important part of building a relationship, but be sure to only give as trust has been earned. Take it slow the first few dates, focusing on the basics. Don’t give out too much of yourself too soon.
  5. Cash-Out: If you’re going on a date, always be prepared to take the check. I think it’s always a courtesy for whoever did the asking to do the treating, but you can’t go wrong by offering to pay. Don’t just see it as a “get out of paying a meal” card, because your generosity will always shine through.
  6. Back-Out: The worst thing you can do is back out of a date by making lame excuses. “I’m so sorry, something came up….” If you’ve changed your mind for one reason or the next don’t blame it on God, your parents, your finances, or anything else you care to throw in the equation. Be kind, but most importantly be truthful. It’s more important to let the other person know where you stand than to blindly lead them on.
  7. Black-Out: Okay, #7 is where I start realizing that maybe this “end every lesson with ‘out’ thing wasn’t the best idea. But hey, I’m going to go ahead for the stretch. I’m not going to pretend that just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you aren’t going to drink. But no matter what your views on drinking alcohol (and this is not the time nor place to debate that) the reminder here is to be responsible in how you represent yourself, but most importantly, how you represent the God you serve.
  8. Freak-Out: Why do Christians always freak out about dating? Seriously, people…it’s really not that big of a deal. Do yourself a favor and go into this time of getting to know someone with the purpose of just enjoying the presence of another human being. Have fun, laugh a lot, and realize that even exchanging small talk over a plate of hot wings, you can still glorify God in everything you do. PS. I wouldn’t recommend hotwings on a first-date. Been there, done that, experienced the awkward mess.
  9. Pig-Out: Whether out for coffee, dessert, or a fancy meal- always remember to bring your manners and be polite…….but let’s just get totally real here, I absolutely pig out wherever I go. My husband is chuckling at this lesson as we speak. Whenever John and I go out to eat, the server automatically assumes that his 6’4 self will out-eat my 5’7 self, and they are almost ALWAYS wrong. I may be smaller, but when it comes to eating, I can keep up with the boys. The bottom line is this: don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, whether that means the vegetarian option, the healthy salad, or the cheesey burger.  Might as well give them a glimpse of who you really are.

So remember these 9 rules, but most importantly, remember to be yourself, to have a good time, and to be present in the moment and most of all: to respect yourself. Happy Dating!

Tell us, have you ever been on a really bad date?

*For more on making the most of singleness as well as everything you need to know about finding the love of your life, check out  True Love Dates!

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter


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