9 Ways First Dates Can Go Horribly Wrong

A guy on a first date cheersing his date across the table.

Have you ever noticed that you hardly ever hear great first date stories? That’s because great first dates are, frankly, a little bit boring. They’re wonderful for the people involved, but there’s nothing particularly interesting about them. The real good stories we like to hear are about first dates gone horribly wrong.

Not to freak you out, but there are so many ways a first date can go wrong. We’re not saying that any or all of these will happen to you on your next first date. But if you’re prepared for what could potentially happen, you won’t be too crushed if it actually does. Here are nine things that often go wrong on first dates that can make things seriously awkward.

1. You got your signals crossed about where or when you’re meeting.
It’s happened to all of us: Someone wrote down the wrong day, mixed up the time, or went to the wrong movie theater. Even if nobody meant to stand somebody up, it can still be hard to recover from a botched first attempt and might make you throw in the towel before a second.

2. They’re not what you expected.
You’ve heard horror stories about people who don’t look anything like their online dating profile pictures. But when it actually happens to you, it can feel like a huge shock. If possible, resist the urge to ditch the date right then and there—even though it might make you feel lied to and misled.

3. Someone did too much pre-date research.
These days, it’s pretty easy to find out everything—and we mean everything—about somebody before you meet them. Think about it: Have you ever looked someone up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or LinkedIn before a first date? Or googled them to see what comes up? Of course you have. We all have! But when someone does too much pre-date research, it detracts from the getting-to-know you period and dulls the spark.

4. You had different expectations for the date.
There’s nothing worse than not being on the same page as somebody. It’s perfectly normal to want a date to go well, but when someone’s hopes are too high, it can come off as desperate and creepy. Alternatively, when someone puts little to no effort into the date, it’s disrespectful. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing how your dating styles will mesh until you actually meet up IRL.

5. Someone couldn’t put their phone down.
This should go without saying, but sadly, it still needs to be said: You shouldn’t have your phone out during a date, period. And it shouldn’t be constantly buzzing or lighting up, either. Put it on silent and don’t check it. Anything else is considered rude.

6. You misread the situation.
You thought it was a date, but he thought it was a friendly hangout. You thought it was casual drinks, but she thought it was a sit-down dinner. Sometimes, even the most seasoned daters can misread the situation.

7. Someone clearly isn’t over their ex yet.
How will you know if your date isn’t over their ex yet? Don’t worry—they’ll tell you. Bringing up an ex once is okay if it relates to the conversation. For example, if asked, “What made you move to Australia for a year?” it’s normal to respond with, “My ex got a job working with koalas there.” But if someone keeps bringing up their ex for seemingly no reason at all, even if they’re not aware they’re doing it, it can seriously bring down the mood.

8. You have absolutely nothing to talk about.
You don’t like the same music, you don’t watch the same TV shows, and your jobs couldn’t be more different. Sometimes, no matter how much chemistry two people have online, they can have absolutely nothing to talk about in person.

9. Someone is too aggressive.
If someone goes in for a hug or a kiss that is neither welcome nor reciprocated, it can ruin even the best of dates. It’s not a great note to end the night on, and it doesn’t bode well for a second date.

These first date mishaps are awkward, but they’re not all total deal breakers. If a relationship is worth pursuing, it can overcome any of these road bumps. And if things work out, you’ll have a funny “how we met” story to tell for years to come. Because everybody loves a bad date story.

Elizabeth Entenman

Freelance Writer

Elizabeth is a freelance writer, editor, and advertising copywriter in Brooklyn. Right now, she’s probably somewhere Instagramming her dogs.

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