The internet is full of dating advice, giving you handy hints about choosing the right outfit, the right place to eat, the best type of food, topics of conversation, and even what you should avoid saying on your dating profile. 

While some of these tips may be helpful, people who have successfully enjoyed a date are sure to tell you that the best kind of first date is one where you feel comfortable to just be yourself. 

Of course it goes without saying that there are a number of things that neither a woman nor a man should definitely never say or do on a first date, so here we bring you 13 helpful tips about things to avoid to make a good impression.

Avoid Being a Pushover

Being a pushover won't impress anyone. Here's one example – your date has reserved a table for dinner at a restaurant that serves seafood, however you absolutely hate fish.

What do you do?

It makes sense to say something before you actually arrive at the restaurant – after all, waiting until you're looking at the menu before saying you can't find anything to order or, even worse, ordering a meal and then barely touching it, will only serve to cause awkwardness between you with your date feeling embarrassed about the arrangements that they've made.

Instead, take the initiative by explaining your likes and dislikes to your date. Avoid saying “whatever” when you're asked what you'd prefer to eat and drink, what you'd enjoy doing or which places you'd like to visit.

Confidence is incredibly attractive, and telling your date what you want and need is not being bossy, it's showing your personality and letting them know that you're a person who is happy to communicate.

Avoid Being Late on Purpose

Turning up deliberately late on a date doesn't make you look cool, desirable or mysterious, it just makes you look unreliable and rude.

If you're late on your first date, you will give the impression that you're unable to manage your time properly, and even that you didn't think the date was important enough to put in the effort to get there on time.

Think about how you would feel if it was you who was kept waiting – what would you assume about your date, and how would you feel about yourself?

Set aside enough time to get ready and make sure you turn up on time to maximize your chance of enjoying a successful date.

Avoid Wearing Inappropriate Clothing

One of the most common mistakes on first dates is wearing an inappropriate outfit.

Women – don't wear a very short or tight skirt or dress, and avoid wearing very high shoes. Not only are you likely to give your date a wrong impression, but you may also be more anxious due to feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable.

Wobbling in a pair of stilettos or constantly adjusting your dress isn't going to help you to impress your date, and it will hinder you from being able to just be you.

Guys – while it's ok not to wear your best formal suit, you should definitely avoid turning up wearing thongs and a singlet top.

If your date is looking stylish and glamorous, you're bound to feel uncomfortable, and she'll also feel that you didn't think this date was important enough to put in the effort.

Both sexes should wear an outfit that they know looks good and which feels comfortable, but which is also modest.

Avoid Checking Your Phone

Spending your entire date looking at your phone is a big mistake as you're bound to look disinterested and rude.

It's impossible to have a conversation when one person is always checking their screen, and if you're looking at your phone more than you're looking at your date it won't be much of a surprise if they don't want to go out a second time.

All you're showing them is that you have other people in your life who matter more to you than them.

While many people keep their phone close at hand these days, putting it on the dining table during your first date should definitely be avoided.

Turning off your phone altogether will help you to avoid being distracted by alerts and texts, allowing you to focus on your conversation.

Most importantly of all, avoid posting on Facebook or Tweeting during your date, even if your date has gone to the bathroom – there's nothing more off-putting!

Avoid Holding a Grudge From Past Relationships

Many people are keen to start dating again straight after breaking up with a partner in order to mend the heartache they're feeling or to fill that gap in their life.

It's important to remember that having someone new to go out with won't help your heart to heal any more quickly and many people find that dating again too quickly can actually backfire, causing more pain.

Often, people who do this find that they compare their new partner to their ex and end up yearning for them even more since it's impossible to really make a connection with someone new if you're distracted in this way.

If you're still experiencing unresolved feelings about your ex, it's all too easy to allow your judgement of a new partner to be clouded. 

Avoid Using Shallow Tactics

A common error many people make when going on a first date is talking too much about their dating exploits or previous relationships, boasting about the number of times they go to the gym each week, or even bragging about how they look just like some celebrity or other.

Not only do these tactics fail to work, but you will also look self-absorbed and immature.

It's possible that you could even intimidate your date by giving them the impression that physical qualities are more important to you than who they are as a person.

Instead, act maturely and up the game. Feel free to tell your date about your achievements, but do it in a humble way without boasting.

This is much more likely to create a good impression than telling them how many people have asked you out recently.

Avoid Displaying Poor Eating Habits

Women are often under the impression that they will look mysterious, sexy, cool and skinny if they pick at their food or even avoid eating altogether.

This is a big mistake.

No man wants to date someone who won't eat.

Men, on the other hand, often go the other way and order way too much food, running the risk of looking greedy and lacking in self-control.

If you're eating out on your date, order a regular sized meal and eat at an appropriate pace, otherwise you'll run the risk of your date feeling uncomfortable or questioning your habits.

Avoid Freeloading

Even if you believe in the old-fashioned idea that the man should foot the bill, avoid making this assumption during your first date. Always suggest splitting the bill and make sure that you're ready to share the costs once you've made the offer.

Should your date refuse to accept your money, you should still continue offering to contribute to the movie tickets, taxi or snacks – whatever you happen to be doing next, as this will show you're not a freeloader.

Avoid Making Demands and Expressing Unrealistic Expectations

It can be very tempting to express your desires for the outcome of this relationship right from the outset, however, this can be incredibly off-putting.

While it's not unreasonable to say that you're keen to meet a special someone to enjoy your future with, you should avoid outlining all your expectations and hopes for the relationship on your first date.

Talking about how disappointed you'd be if your partner didn't give you an expensive birthday gift or forgot your anniversary is a guarantee that you won’t be asked on a second date.

Avoid Getting Drunk

There is nothing attractive about having to be carried home by someone who is virtually a stranger, vomiting in a taxi, crying into your dinner, or behaving in an embarrassing way on your first date.

Although having one or two drinks will help you to loosen up and enjoy yourself, it's important to know your limits and not exceed them, or you could risk giving a completely wrong impression.

Staying sober is key to getting a second date.

Avoid Asking Inappropriate Questions

Striking up a conversation is vital on your first date, but thinking of topics to discuss with somebody you barely know can be tricky.

Even though questioning a new date may be problematic, you don't need to avoid asking questions altogether as this is one of the best ways of keeping a conversation going, and one simple question may even lead into a conversation with a life of its own without either person having to exert too much effort.

Some neutral and helpful questions are those that centre around career or work interests, sports, hobbies, family and music.

Questions that you should avoid are those about previous relationships or personal problems that may have been mentioned, such as difficulties with parents.

If your relationship progresses to the next stage, there will be plenty of time to discuss these personal topics at a later time, however you should leave your first date with a happy and light first impression of each other, feeling that you can get on well and enjoy spending time together.

Even basic questions can help you to find out a lot about someone, and will fill plenty of time during your first date.

Avoid Revealing Everything Immediately

Following from the previous point, you should never tell your date everything about your personal life during your first meeting.

Whether you're dying for a big white wedding on an exotic beach or whether you have already picked names for the children you plan to have, these details are the sort of thing you need to keep private at the moment.

Some other personal topics you should avoid include problems at work, medical issues, difficulties with your family relationships and, most importantly, your ex.

Although all of these are valid subjects which can be discussed at a later time should your relationship progress, none of them are appropriate topics for your first date.

Remember that your date doesn't know you, so raising work worries and problems in prior relationships is likely to make them think that maybe you are the problem.

Avoid Showing Too Much Eagerness Afterwards

In the modern world of today, it's perfectly acceptable to send a Facebook message or text following your date, however you should take care to follow some simple rules.

While a casual text is perfectly ok, you should never go overboard. “Enjoyed our date, thanks!” is fine, but “Think you're amazing! When can we meet again? Text me now and we'll go out again tomorrow!” is definitely over the top.

You should also avoid following them on Facebook or Twitter until you've had a few more dates.

Remember that being a little mysterious is very powerful.

To Conclude

The build up to your first date with a new potential partner is an exciting time, but you're likely to have some anxiety alongside the hope of meeting somebody special with whom you can develop a stable and happy relationship.

If you follow these guidelines and try your best to remain calm, collected and open minded, you will have a good chance of things moving forward in the right direction if the two of you are suited.

I would love to hear your comments or answer any questions you might have about this post.

Yours sincerely,   


Dr. Carissa Coulston, Clinical Psychologist

BSc(Hons), MPsychol(Clinical), PhD, MAPS