When you spend hours at a time in your car — whether it be driving to and from work every day, visiting your long-distance best friend every weekend, or taking a road trip — the coffee cups, fast food wrappers, and random articles of clothing can quickly add up. And while you may not have a problem with the messy build-up in your car, what if you're about to go out with someone special? Do dates care about your messy car? Well, the short answer is yes. According to three experts, a messy car on the first few dates can be a big no-no for some.
"Dates absolutely care about your messy car," Damona Hoffman, relationship expert and host of the Dates & Mates podcast, tells Elite Daily. "Every piece of information you give a new date will cause them to draw conclusions about you — from your cracked phone screen to the empty water bottles on the passenger side of your car." Now, this isn't to say that a cracked phone screen will automatically make someone not want to date you. We've all had a phone screen shatter at least once. But if your car is the kind of messy where your feet can't touch the floor because it's cluttered with trash, that could be a red flag to your date.
"How you present yourself and how you present your stuff can send a message to another person about the level of care that you have for yourself, and the things in your life, and, ultimately, maybe them," Shula Melamed, MA, MPH, and well-being coach, tells Elite Daily. Your car is an extension of yourself, Hoffman says. So, if you have a messy car, "your date could be led to believe your life is messy too," she continues. "Always aim to put your best foot forward on a date." The same way you probably wouldn't want your date to go into your room if you haven't put away laundry from last month, consider giving your car a nice de-cluttering before picking up your date.
"The real issue here is that it takes 10 minutes to get a messy car cleaned up," Eric Resnick, online dating coach and dating profile writer, tells Elite Daily. "If you have time to go on a date, you've got the 10 minutes it takes to throw out all your old fast food wrappers and spray some Febreze." You don't even need to give your car a deep clean. Just pick up a little bit, so when your date gets in, they don't feel like they just walked into an abyss. "It only takes a few minutes to take a messy car from filthy to passable," he continues. "If you can't take that time to make a first impression, you are sabotaging your own date."
And if you really don't have 10 minutes to clean up your car, give your date a quick and sincere "sorry about the mess" when they first get in. Explain that you had plans to clean it, but you couldn't for whatever reason. At least this way, they'll know your car isn't always that messy. If they really seem uncomfortable at the mess, "offer to get them a Lyft home, so they don't have to deal with the messy car again," Hoffman suggests. "Then, if you get another date, next time, you should do your best to tidy it up."
So, while your messy car may not seem like a huge deal to you because you use it every day, for someone you're meeting for the first time, the clutter may be a turn-off. "Have the respect for yourself and the other person not to invite them into a chaotic environment," Melamed says. "You want them to feel comfortable and open to the evening — it's hard to do that sitting on a pile of gas station receipts or a small, smelly space."