Who hasn’t tossed and turned in bed the night before a big date trying to account for all the things that could go wrong? Your usually reliable car might refuse to start, you might hit traffic and miss your dinner reservations, or you might not notice the mustard stain on your shirt until you get home that night. It’s as if Murphy’s Law was written specifically with dating in mind.
There’s nothing you can do about those things — which makes it especially important to get a grip on factors you can control, the self-inflicted catastrophes that are avoidable with a little sensitivity and awareness. Here are eight dumb things to avoid like the plague:
Waiting and waiting and . . .
Write this down: There’s no such thing as a perfect man or woman. While you wait for one to appear, lots of people cross your path with whom you could have a perfectly good time — and maybe even fall for.
Texting at the table.
Imagine you’re looking forward to dinner alone with someone you find attractive. You show up at the agreed upon time, and he or she has invited twelve others to join you — parents, siblings, coworkers — and given them permission to interrupt you conversation at any time. Ridiculous, right? Put. The phone. Down.
Flirting with the waiter/waitress.
If you’re in the market for romance, it’s natural to have your antennae up and alert for possibilities wherever you go. But when on a date, turn off the radar and focus your undivided attention on the person — and potential partner — right in front of you.
Taking “casual” too far.
It’s probably a good thing that society has eased up on the strict formalities of dating when our great-grandparents were young. But relaxed standards are no excuse for laziness. Don’t just “hang out.” Use your imagination to plan something fun and different. Don’t dress like you just came from the gym — put some effort into looking (and feeling) sharp.
Ignoring common courtesy.
Some of those “antiquated” rules for dating, however, deserve a second look. In rejecting concepts like “chivalry” and “decency,” we’ve robbed ourselves of potent romantic opportunity. Discover for yourself how attractive old-fashioned good manners can be.
Talking more than you listen.
Some people treat a date as an opportunity to reveal — in great detail — how fascinating they are. Make it your mission to do the opposite, to discover your date’s hidden dreams, talents, and goals. Give them the gift of being the fascinating one for a change — and they’ll remember you for it.
Breaking the (dating) speed limit.
While it’s possible to cause problems by going too slow, the most dramatic crashes happen because you’ve hit the gas too hard, too soon. That’s when you’re most likely to confuse sexual sizzle with true love, or to ignore warning signs that the road ahead may not be as smooth as you hoped. Slow down and (safely) enjoy the journey.
Getting too personal, too soon.
In most cases, the person you are dating is — or was until recently — a complete stranger to you. They don’t need to know your secrets, phobias, childhood traumas, medical issues, and most embarrassing moments right out of the gate. Establish trust before you open up about everything.