A Relationship Expert Reveals The Things They Wish You’d Stop Doing On A First Date

I am not so great on a first date. I'm someone who's actually shy, but puts on a good "extrovert" performance. And while that can help you get through many social functions, it's not quite as effective on a first date. Eventually, the mask slips and I end up being an awkward weirdo. The key, it turned out, was to find someone who appreciated my secret awkwardness. While my story has a happy ending, I really could have used some solid advice about things you should stop doing on a first date so I could have saved myself a lot of embarrassing moments. And I mean a lot.

Since I don't want you to have to suffer like I did through years of bad first dates, I reached out to experts to find out what things you may be doing on a first date to sabotage yourself without realizing it. They broke down a handful of common mistakes folks make on a first date that are killing their mojo, so that you can avoid them on your next romantic outing. Trust me, these tips will make a world of difference! Here's what the experts say you should stop doing on first dates.

Stop acting like the date is a job interview.

Look, I get it. You're nervous, but don't cope with the nerves by going into serious job interview mode. Alessandra Conti, celebrity Matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City, tells Elite Daily that's one of the worst things you can do on a first date because "a first date should be a fun experience for you to be playful, laugh, and see if you enjoy each other's company, not a roasting session on their past achievements and failures." Instead of trying to land a relationship or give a good performance, she says "the goal of a first date is to have fun together, develop rapport, and see if you both want to spend more time together." By setting your outcome expectations a bit lower, you increase your chances of being able to just relax and have some fun.

But how do you do that if you're nervous you'll run out of things to talk about? Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating, says it doesn't hurt to plan ahead. "I believe in having a cheat sheet of questions to ask, such as: Who is your hero? Or, what was the best vacation you’ve ever gone on?" Spira tells Elite Daily. The key here is to make sure the tone of the questions is light, open-ended, and maybe a bit flirty if you're vibing. Just make sure you don't get nervous and start firing off questions rapid-fire style, because, as Spira warns, "firing off questions like you’re in a job interview or being interrogated by an attorney is an instant buzz-kill."

Taking About Your Ex

You've probably heard this advice before, but it bears repeating. "Talking about an ex on a first date is a huge no-no," Conti tells Elite Daily. "As the great Rihanna once said, 'I want you to make me feel like I'm the only one in the world.' Have this be your mantra on your first date." Not only is hearing about someone's ex on a date not really that interesting, but Conti warns you also run the risk of giving your date the wrong impression: that you're still hung up on your ex. Not so hot on a first date!

Not Asking Them Questions

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You're nervous, so you just start talking and, before you realize it, you've been talking about yourself for a long, long time. You haven't asked about them; in fact, you're not sure if you paused to breathe. Jennifer B. Rhodes, licensed psychologist and founder of Rapport Relationships, says this is a common mistake on a first date. So instead of just talking about yourself, make a point to learn more about your date by asking them questions.

"People who are good at dating know that in order to be a good date, it is never about getting your needs met - it is about trying to get to know the other person," Rhodes tells Elite Daily.

Making Snap Judgments About Your Date

Do you think you know for sure whether or not you and your date are compatible immediately? Is it all about gut instinct? If you answered yes, then Conti says you are making a very common first date mistake.

"When people tell me that they know whether or not it will work with a person within five seconds of meeting them, I call BS," she reveals. The reason she feels so strongly? Experience. "As a personal matchmaker for almost seven years, I have seen so many couples who initially weren't head-over-heels for each other go on to get married and have fabulous lives together."

To avoid falling into this pattern, Conti says to stop worrying about your "type" and focus on getting to know the person before deciding they aren't right for you, because, "once you chat with them, you realize that they grow more and more attractive with each moment because of their amazing personality and the witty banter that you have with them. Looks fade fast, so stop judging a person based on first sight."

Getting Way Too Serious

If that sounds too general, then Rhodes has some specific topics to avoid. She says to stop telling your date you're nervous over and over. "Stop saying that you are nervous 17 times or verbally vomiting your life story in the first two minutes," she insists. "Anxiety kills chemistry. Confidence increases chemistry."

"If you are nervous, you can say so once and then ask a question about what your date likes to do for fun," she adds

She also suggests avoiding conversations about your dietary restrictions. Sure, you find Keto fascinating, but chances are your date won't. Rhodes explains, "if you are not drinking, simply order something non-alcoholic. If you are a vegan, simply order something appropriate for you. There is no need to explain your choices — just be who you are."

And lastly, don't be a buzzkill. "Don’t talk about anything depressing in the first 30 minutes," Rhodes advises. "Essentially, a first date should be about connection and having fun. If that happens, then you can dive into personal information."

Keeping Your Cellphone On The Table

I am just as addicted to my phone as everyone else, but if there is one time to put it in your pocket and forget about, says Spira, it's on a first date.

"Having your phone on the date with you is like having a love triangle," Spira explains. "You, your date, and your phone. It’s a first-date no-no, as the focus needs to be how interested you are in learning about them, and not how many likes you got on your latest Instagram post." And trust me, that's not the three-way they're hoping for.

Putting Way Too Much Pressure On The Date

And the toughest but most important advice of all: Chill out. This just a first date, not the beginning of your future — even if it is. Want to guarantee you have a full-on panic attack on the date? Just pile this amount of pressure on to it! If this sounds familiar, Spira says it's time to change your mindset about dates. She advises to think about them as a chance to "get to know someone and more of a casual meet-and-greet."

"While I believe in looking your best and putting your best foot forward, often singles start thinking if he or she is ’the one’ while on the date, and that puts too much pressure on a first date," Spira says.

No kidding. Her advice: "Instead, try spending time learning more about your date, and find out their favorite things that make them happy." Honestly, that's a really effective way to get of your head and out of your own way.

Ultimately, that's what it's all about: Getting out of your head, relaxing and being present. If you can do that, your date game is going to level up exponentially. When in doubt, try not to think about it so much as a "date." Instead, Spira says to remember, "The goal of a first date is simple: Try to put a second date on the calendar to continue the conversation."

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