While giving a “meh” first date a second chance is often recommended, there are a few first-date red flags that might let you off the hook. If any of these flags are waving, move forward carefully — if at all.
Ten first date red flags:
1. “I’m not really the boyfriend/husband/relationship type.” You will not change his mind. If you’re looking for a boyfriend/husband/relationship, he’s not the one. Yellow flag: “I’ve never had a serious girlfriend.” Maybe he’s just waiting for the right woman to come along — or maybe he’s not into commitment.
2. “I’m in between jobs right now.” While unemployment doesn’t always have to be a deal-breaker — times are tough, right? — a total lack of career direction or ambition in general is cause for concern. Yellow flag: He doesn’t want to talk about his line of work. Why not?
3. “My ex hated this place.” Constant ex talk, whether it’s reflective, comparative or hostile, is a red flag. He’s still on her mind. You might be a rebound.
4. Her phone is the third wheel. If she won’t put the phone away, she’s not giving you her undivided attention and isn’t being intentional about getting to know you. If this is already a problem on the first date, it’s only going to get worse with time.
5. Sex is on the table. If he’s looking for a little somethin’-somethin’ outside of a committed relationship, he’s not thinking long-term. If he doesn’t respect your spoken boundaries or very clear “no thank you” body language, run.
6. He’s controlling. If he orders for you, tells you what you should have worn to dinner, and makes every decision for you, his inner control freak has no boundaries. Even less extreme examples of controlling behavior are to be headed as red-flag warnings. If he has to have his way all the time, let him have it — as a single guy.
7. He drinks too much. A glass or two might take the edge off, but getting drunk on a first date might indicate a more serious problem.
8. Pessimism. If everything is “the worst,” and life has given your date the worst hand ever, beware of the Debbie Downer. You want someone who will build into your life, not bring you down. Related: If she’s angry about everything, it won’t be long before she directs that anger at you.
9. Competitive. Does your date one-up all of your stories? Is the conversation filled with name-dropping and stories of overachievement? If she a workaholic? You’re looking for a partner, not a nemesis. And you want her to be available to you, not holed up in the office obsessed with climbing the corporate ladder faster than her peers.
10. He holds onto his wallet way too tightly. If he doesn’t offer to pay, expects you to split the bill, or asks for free drinks at the bar, generosity isn’t his thing. Financial issues are often big factors in compatibility, so watch how he spends — or doesn’t.
What are the red flags you look out for on a first date?