There’s nothing quite as nerve-wracking as a first date. You can drive the right car, wear the right dress, and crack all the right jokes, but say one wrong thing and you can relinquish all hope of a second date. And we don’t mean obvious creeper comments either, like telling the other person that you’re already married or inviting her back to your Red Room of Pain. Believe it or not, committing a conversational faux pas is as easy as saying “how do you do?”.
Here’s what NOT to say the next time you go on a first date
“I once dated a guy who…”
Under no circumstances should you mention your ex. Waxing nostalgic is obviously a bad idea. And trashing your ex will make you look bitter and angry, giving your new date reason to wonder what you will say about him if things don’t work out. Even saying something simple like, “My ex taught me how to prepare sushi” when you’re on a date at a sushi restaurant shows that everyday things still remind you of him.
“Don’t eat yet, I want to Instagram this.”
There are plenty of reasons you should avoid documenting a date on social media. It’s rude, it’s disruptive, but above all, it’s creepy! Is this date really important enough for you to memorialise on Instagram? Be cool. You’re eating dinner, not celebrating your anniversary. Save the food photos from Saturday brunch with the girls, or better yet, Saturday brunch with the guy after he actually becomes your boyfriend.
“I’m not racist, but…”
“I’m not racist, but….” is just an excuse for people to make racist comments without being held responsible for them. Same goes for “no offence, but…” This ain’t a web forum. It’s a date! Stick to topics that couldn’t possibly be construed as political, antagonising, or plain derogatory.
“Would you mind if my friend joined us?”
News flash: 100 per cent of people would mind if you asked a friend to crash your date. Why ask someone out if you’re inviting other people along at the last minute? She’ll spend the rest of the night wondering if the two of you were really on a date or if you’d just wanted her to “hang out”.
“The service here is TERRIBLE.”
Maybe the restaurant really is terrible. The air conditioning is broken, you found a hair in your soup, and there’s a baby screaming over in the next table. You’re having a miserable time, but we can guarantee that the poor guy who picked out this place feels worse than you do. So cut him some slack. If he’s a gentleman, he’ll whisk you away to some alternate venue. And if he’s not, you can take the high road by thanking him for dinner…and ranting about it with your friends once he’s out of earshot.
“You’re such a catch. How are you still single?”
This sounds like a compliment, but it implies that the other person has some kind of unforgiveable flaw. Why has he been single all this time? Is there something about him that sends women away screaming once they get too close? He’ll either have an internal meltdown, or he’ll start blabbering about all his failed relationships. Consider the date OVER.
“Let me tell you about this exciting new opportunity.”
Dating is for getting to know potential romantic partners. That’s it. By all means, try recruiting the ones who never made it to the second date, but you could at least wait until the sparks have stopped flying before considering them for your pyramid scheme. The same goes for job-seekers. Asking your date if his company is hiring comes across as a little opportunistic, if not totally awkward, and completely inappropriate (especially if he’s paying for your meal!).
“I don’t like to read.”
This is a turn-off even if the other person hates reading as well. It sounds lazy. We’re attracted to people who are curious and intelligent, not people who are proud of the fact that they haven’t opened a book since To Kill a Mockingbird in Secondary 1. If the other person asks you about your reading habits, just smile and say that it’s been awhile since you read anything, as you’ve been busy with [insert equally awesome hobby].
“Nice guys/girls always win last.”
Nobody wants to hear a sob story over oysters and champagne. The “nice guy”/”nice girl” mentality gives off an air of entitlement (“how dare he not like me for being so NICE!”), which can sink a date faster than you can say “Debbie downer”. Be confident, even if you are always friend-zoned. You’re not single because you’re a perennially rejected loser. You’re single because it just wasn’t the right time to settle down. But now you’re happy! And ready! And eating dinner with someone who could like you because you’re nice!
“I love you.”
Sorry, Ted Mosby. Give it about 10 seconds, and we can guarantee that the potential love of your life will receive an “emergency phone call” that will force her to throw down her napkin and flee the restaurant. At least wait until things are Facebook official (or okay, exclusive) before breaking out the “L” word.