13 Red Flags on a First Date

A first date has so many emotions.  There is the excitement and hopefulness of the possibility of what could be.  Am I going out for the first time with the man I am going to spend my life with?  Will it be terrible and I’m looking for an excuse to leave?  Or will it be blah; didn’t love it or hate it, just part ways never to see each other again.  With all of the nerves and emotions racing thru my body, it can be easy to overlook things on a first date.

One thing to always remember, he is on his best behavior on a first date.  He will not improve or get better with time.  Pay attention to the small things, those will become big things later.  And when he shows you something about himself, believe him.  Never make excuses for him.

The older men get the easier it is for them to hide their flaws.  Someone could be a total narcissist or liar and you may not pick up on it right away.  It’s important to ask the right questions and listen to his response.  Don’t get caught up on how cute he is.  Or the compliments he is giving you.  And remember, he’s not going to act like a complete jerk where it’s extremely obvious.  It will be more subtle, so pay attention.

  • His ex is “crazy” or “high maintenance” or “drama” or any similar word.  This one word can be slipped into an upbeat conversation so easily that you could miss it.  The reason why this is bad is it shows that he is not emotionally intelligent enough to handle normal female emotions. Even the most relaxed, chill girl will have a bad day and have “crazy” emotional moments.  I want a man who knows what to do in those situations and doesn’t add fuel to the fire.
  • He acts like a victim.  Pay attention to how he tells stories.  Is everything someone else’s fault?  Is there a consistent theme of problems in his life due to what other people are doing to him?
  • He talks only about himself and doesn’t ask any questions about my life.  Of course I want him to talk about himself because I want to get to know him.  But is he only talking about himself.  Is he not giving me a chance to talk or asking me any questions.  And worse, interrupting me to talk more about himself.  Also, what kind of topics is he talking about?  Do they all have to do with his self image?  Is he only talking about working out, meal plans, clothing, his haircut, etc.  He may be putting to much of a priority on his image.
  • He’s not polite to the server.  There is a difference between being rude and not being polite.  If he is rude that is an obvious red flag.  But I also think it’s a red flag if he isn’t polite and acts as if the server doesn’t exist.  When the food is delivered, the water glass is refilled- did he acknowledge the server and say thank you.
  • Doesn’t have a good relationship with his child/children (if he has any).  This can be a difficult one to discover on a first date.  Most men are not going to speak badly about their kids right away or be honest if he doesn’t have a good relationship.  So make sure you are asking the right questions and pay attention to the response.  I always ask- how often are your kids with you?  If it’s less that 40% or 50% I ask why.  Typically if the kids are with the Mom 80%-90% of the time, there is a good reason.  If he isn’t being a good Dad to his own kids, he certainly won’t be a good role model to mine.  And what kind of man doesn’t want to be a good father to his children?  Not a man I’m interested in.
  • He talks negatively about anyone in his life.  This could be an ex, a boss, family member, etc.  If he speaks negatively about anyone this is a problem.  His ex wife may in fact be a raging bitch, but he should not say it on a first date.  How someone speaks about others, says a lot about that person.
  • Make sure you get home safe.  A true gentleman will care about your well being and safety.   Even if the date showed you aren’t compatible, he will still want to make sure you get home safe.  He should walk you to your car, or watch you walk to your car, ask you to text when you get home, call to check that you got home safe.  There are many different approaches.  The bottom line is he cares about you getting home safe.
  • He’s over critical.  Is he finding the one small thing to complain about when there are 100 good things to talk about.  This shows me he is a negative person and will complain about anything.  One simple way to find this out is asking “how was your day?”.  If he starts complaining about work, or someone cutting him off on the highway, or the dry cleaner ruining his shirt; you know he likes to focus on the negative. 
  • Isn’t close with his family.  What are the family issues?  If you are dating to find someone to spend your life with, his family problems will one day be your family problems.  And there will be many conversations between the two of you on how to handle it.  It can cause a lot of stress in a relationship if you disagree on family and can lead to a deal breaker. Another reason why this is important is because typically how a man treats his Mom and sister is how he will treat his girlfriend/wife.  
  • Inappropriate topics.  This is a first date.  You are just getting to know one another.  He should not talk about sex, make extreme jokes, too much foul language, or anything that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Drinks too much. If he’s willing to drink too much on a first date, I don’t want to know what he’s willing to do 6 months from now when we actually know each other.  Keep it classy and keep it to 1-2 drinks max.
  • He is not a gentleman.  This one has gotten me into trouble before when I have talked about it because there are many different view points.  So I will start with saying, this is personal preference rather than a straight forward red flag for all.  I am old fashion with the way I date.  I want a man to be a gentleman and have manners.  Chivalry is not dead, it’s just hard to find.  On a first date I want to feel like I’m being courted (very old fashion term).  If he is picking me up, he comes to my door on time, preferably with flowers.  If he meets me at the restaurant, he is waiting by the front door for me to arrive.  He pulls my chair out, opens the door, lets me walk first, order first, asks what appetizers I want, if I want dessert, and I’m going to say it… *gasp* pays for dinner.  I want to feel taken care of, safe and protected the whole night.
  • He needs to be “fixed”.  As women we are natural caregivers and feel compassion.  When we hear a problem we want to help.  But it is not my job to fix a man.  I want a partner, not a project.  The older we get the more complicated and complex our lives can be.  When I was 20 it was so simple.  Now there are all the questions about divorce, kids, why are you 40 and never married, commitment issues.  At this age, everyone has baggage.  It’s okay to have a carry on, not an overweight checked bag.  If you spot a problem on the first date you think you can help fix, run!


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