I’m sure you’re very familiar with the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This couldn’t be truer when it comes to first dates. And though the excitement, anxiety and emotional imbalance can cause changes in your personality – which may seem off to your date, – there are some things, however, that you just shouldn’t do as they can seriously squander your chances of getting a second date.

Being Tardy

We Africans love to stick to the “African time” mentality a lot when it comes to appointments. However, on a first date, this is something you should definitely avoid at all cost. If you know there’s going to be a lot of traffic, then make sure you beat the traffic. It’s always better to be earlier than the time scheduled. Lateness shaves off points from your “date score.” Arriving late can not only look disrespectful, it can also make your date feel like you aren’t taking him/her seriously.

Being on time shows others that you value their time and are making them a priority, while simultaneously demonstrating that you’re organised, responsible, and capable of making and keeping commitments.

It’s also interesting to note that being on time is a quality that’s highly attractive to others, so why not start off the date in a way that immediately draws this person toward you in a favourable light? Being on time can also help to lessen the stress that you may be experiencing regarding a first date or in your life overall. And rather than arriving at the date feeling flustered, frustrated, and frazzled because of your tardiness, you can reduce your anxiety by being on time and heading into the date feeling more centred, focused, and calm.

Telling Lies

Yes, a lot, and I mean millions of people do this on the first date. This mistake which can eventually be costly down the line or even later that same day, because you never know when your lies may catch up to you. Lying about things like your age, where you work, what you do, etc isn’t something one should think of while on a first date. + if the other party isn’t interested in the truth or in who you really are, then that is enough red flag on your part to know that you can’t get the deeper connection you would want from a significant other in a relationship. So, a second date with this liar is definitely a ‘no’.  After all, when you lie to someone, how can this person be sure that you’re not going to lie again in the future? And since trust, honesty, and openness are at the very core of a happy, healthy, and long-lasting relationship, it’s only a matter of time before a connection based on lies is going to disintegrate.

Getting Distracted

Looking at your phones, watches, or any and everyone who walks past you can be a serious bother to your date partner. Sure, you may have many things on your mind, a lot to do in so little time, but your lack of focus will show this person that he not a priority, and not worth your time or attention.

The internet and social media are really not your friends when you are on a date. So we strongly advise you to stay away from distractions and put your phones on silent. Neglecting to pay attention to your date will undercut your ability to make a positive first impression. Plus, by focusing on the distractions around you instead of on your date, you’re actually making him/her feel belittled and insignificant, regardless of your intent.

Doing All The Talking and Not Listening

Along these same lines, while being distracted on a first date can be a major turn off, failing to listen to your date can have the same effect. In fact, many people simply wait to talk rather than truly listen to what their date is saying to them. And if you’re someone who already formulates in your mind exactly what you want to say without taking into account or paying attention to what’s being said to you, it won’t be too long until your date recognises that you’re basically ignoring him and invalidating the substance of what he’s saying.

So if you want a successful first date, it’s time to start listening with your eyes and your ears, which is a concept known as ‘active listening’. This is when you hone in on a person’s verbal and nonverbal cues in order to fully understand what’s being expressed to you. By doing so, you can communicate and engage with this person in a meaningful way, while also demonstrating that you’re interested in what’s being discussed and that you aren’t merely reciting lines that you’ve already come up with in your head. With this in mind, so to speak, it’s not too surprising that being a good listener is a quality that others find quite appealing and attractive, as it demonstrates to your date that you’re highly interested in getting to know him on a deep level.

Talking About Your Ex

Bringing up your ex on a first date is all shades of wrong that can send your date partner running for the hills instead. Sure your ex cheated, lied, stole and broke your heart, but bringing him/her up on a first date is a sure sign that you haven’t moved on and are just looking for either a rebound or to get lucky.

It’s important to note that speaking ill of your ex can actually paint a negative picture of you as a vengeful gossip who chooses to bash and trash talk others behind their backs, even to someone you just met. So whether you’re still into your ex or not, it’s important to avoid bringing him up on the first date. Don’t tell your date that your ex has the same shirt, loves the restaurant where you’re eating, or shares the same first name. Although discussing your past relationships are an important step in building a meaningful and long-lasting relationship, it’s however, not an appropriate topic for a first date.

Being Negative

It’s a given that people are generally drawn towards others who are happy, optimistic, and positive than those who aren’t. So if you go all negative on your first date, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get a second chance to negate this first impression.

Also, if you head into your first date thinking that it’s going to be a bad experience and/or a total disaster, chances are that you will get exactly what it is you are thinking of/looking for. In fact, your personal expectations of certain situations, events, and encounters can be powerful enough to directly impact their outcomes in both positive and negative ways, as your expectations can shape the way in which you interact with others as well as the way in which they interact with you.

Being Negative can only make your date see the negatives in you… And I can assure you that you shouldn’t expect to see him/her again.

Forgetting Your Manners

Never believe those who say “chivalry is dead.” Open the car door for her, bring out her seat at the table for her. And please don’t forget to leave your table manners at home. Avoid talking with your mouth full, belching, swearing, and even picking at your teeth. Further, the simple act of saying “please” and “thank you” can also help your date to see your gracious side, as it demonstrates that you’re a courteous, considerate, and respectful person.

Also, it is important to treat people around you with respect. If the waiter messes up your order, raining fire and brimstone down on the person says a lot of negative thing about you. In fact, acting in a kind and compassionate way can even help you appear more physically attractive to your date, as researchers found in a study in Personality and Individual Differences.

Drinking Too Much

Getting wasted on your first date signifies one thing and one thing only, your date is a waste! While you may enjoy consuming alcohol as a way to loosen up and lessen the anxiety that can come from first date jitters, drinking in excess can actually have the opposite effect and cause your body stress. When you’re drunk, you’re also negatively impacting your attention span, vision, and memory — all of which can make it highly difficult for you to focus on your date, your conversation, and even your surroundings in general.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it’s been found that alcohol plays a role in nearly half of all cases of sexual assault on women. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that drinking makes you responsible for any aggression committed toward you, but you should take steps to protect yourself in any way you can. Being inebriated makes you vulnerable — and since you don’t know the person well on a first date, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

It’s okay to drink but do so in moderation.


Do you hate your job? Is your roommate a slob? Are you sick of the rainy weather? Constantly complaining on a first date is a major turn off that will likely result in your date complaining about you to someone else.

While you may be used to complaining to friends and family, choosing to vent on a first date and moan about all of the ways you’ve been wronged is the wrong approach when it comes to making a good impression. After all, complainers are often seen as needy, immature, and desperate for attention. Even if your complaints are completely justified, people who complain are often viewed in a negative light.

If you’re someone who can be described as a constant complainer, it’s time to stop this detrimental date behaviour. One technique is to pay attention to what’s triggering your need to complain in the first place and develop strategies to manage why you’re whining. For instance, if you’re complaining about something that can be resolved, avoided, or changed, you should take steps to deal with the issue at hand. However, for the complaints about things that can’t be changed and/or are indelible aspects of life, it’s time to shift your focus from annoyance to acceptance and learn to let go instead of letting these grievances negatively impact your life.


Being confident is viewed as a highly attractive quality, but bragging about all of your accomplishments certainly isn’t. And while you should be proud of your different achievements and successes, trying to convince your date how terrific you are is actually a terrible mistake.

Research in Psychological Science has shown that people who brag tend to overestimate the positive response of others while simultaneously underestimate their negative response. In other words, when you brag about yourself in order to make yourself look good on a first date, you’re achieving the opposite reaction. Rather than dazzling your date with your incredible accomplishments and attributes, you’re just coming off as a boaster and shameless self-promoter.

So in order to make a great impression and have your first date be a firsthand success, it’s never been more important to steer clear of these critical first date faux pas. In fact, when you take to heart these first date tips and resolve to be truthful, optimistic, and courteous on your date, you’re increasing your chances of connecting with this person in a heartfelt and genuine way because you’re putting your best self forward. Dating can seem a bit daunting, but if you empower yourself with the right attitude and approach, your first date will have far more potential to grow into a budding and blooming long-term relationship.