Love or Bust? 9 First Date Red Flags You Need to Know

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy

You’ve had butterflies all day. Is it 8pm yet? You found the perfect pair of strappy sandals and the oh-so-flirty shade of red lipstick. Hair done. Nails did. Everything is on fleek. Damn girl, you look good. After days of planning, phone convos with your friends and stalking your honey online, you’re finally ready for that first date. The first date is a major love milestone and can make--or break--your relationship. Are you heading down the aisle or down in flames? Here are nine first date red flags you need to know.

1. Tardy for the Party

The first few seconds of the date leave a lasting impression and there’s nothing worse than a late date (Okay, maybe a date that doesn’t show up at all, but we’ll save ghosting for another post). Everyone gets a 15-minute #latepass for traffic, subway delays and last-minute fashion emergencies. Anything after that is just plain disrespectful. Your time is valuable and your honey needs to recognize. Would your date be late to a big job interview or to see Beyonce and Jay Z in concert? Probably not. So, they better not be late to see YOU.

2. Wardrobe Malfunction

Okay, your date is on time. Fabulous. You’re taking a glance at what they look like. What’s up with that wrinkled shirt? The hair is looking kind of messy…and not in that cute surfer way. Sure, everyone has different fashion sense (and taste) but looking disheveled is a major red flag. I went on a first date once where the guy looked like he was wearing a crumpled paper bag. Technically, he had walked off a 24-hour assignment, but the lack of care made him look lazyyy. Needless to say, there was no date number two.

3. Mind Your Manners

Your date looks good. Pants are nicely ironed. Shoes are new and crispy. Check. Check. Check. How does Mr. Right (or Miss Right) greet you? If you’re a hugger, then a handshake may seem too formal while more reserved folks may find a hug too cozy. Regardless of what you’re comfortable with, some greetings are just plain wrong. The creepy stare up and down? Get away from me! The guy who doesn’t get up from the bar to greet you? Next! Fun fact: I’ve been on dates with guys who were shorter than they claimed. They refused to get up to keep up the illusion of height. Not sure how long they thought that plan would work.

4. Food for Thought

Most first dates involve drinks, coffee or food. How your date deals with ordering and the wait staff tells you so much about their manners and communication skills. Does your date smile and treat the waiter politely? If your date snaps their fingers and yells “Garcon!” at any point, feel free to walk out of the restaurant. Pay close attention to how your date deals with an incorrect order—maybe he got French fries instead of salad—and if they try to order for you. Some women love a take-charge situation while others find it offensive. I can order my own salmon roll thank you very much! Know your own comfort level with this. If you need your burger cooked your way, then this ain’t the date for you.

5. Bird Gang

Okay, the food has arrived and it looks delicious but bad table manners are a major red flag. There’s nothing worse than someone slurping their soup or fidgeting with chopsticks. Why are you stabbing your food? The napkin goes on your lap, bro, not tucked into your shirt like a little kid. Poor table manners means I can’t take you out anywhere and if you have to leave your date at home with a can of SpaghettiOs, it’s probably not gonna work.

6. The Talk

First date conversations are awkward; two strangers getting to know each other while trying to be impressive, funny and interesting. What’s the old saying? Don’t talk about religion, politics or sex. Unless you and your date are already friends or just so happen to be instant soulmates, leave those topics for another time. There’s nothing worse than meeting your dream boo and then spending the date talking about his mommy issues, her daddy issues or unresolved baggage from an ex. This is a first date, not a therapy session.

7. My Eyes Are Up Here!

Click click click. You’re in the middle of that adorable story of you in eighth grade but your date is busy buried in their phone. Being connected to the phone means being disconnected from the date. Anyone who tweets, Instagrams, texts or answers calls on a date needs to be deleted immediately from your phone.

8. Hey, Big Spender

Now we get to that dreaded portion of the date…when the bill comes. That moment when he reaches for his wallet or she acts like she forgot her purse at home. Many women expect their date to pay but going half-in on the bill is becoming common. If dutch is not how you roll, the bill will be your dating dealbreaker. Assuming bae does pay, keep an eye on how much they tip. A bad tipper (under 15%) usually means cheapskate or inexperienced. I have friends who are so mortified by their cheap-tipping dates, that they’ll separately leave extra money on the table for the waiter.

9. The Follow-Up

A date is only as good as the follow-up. So you went on an amazing date. Bae was looking, acting and smelling right and you’re already planning that summer wedding in Martha’s Vineyard. Pump the brakes. What’s his/her follow-up? Whoever made the date needs to send a text (or preferably, call) to thank you and plan the next date. If you don’t hear for a few days and your date goes ghost, it usually means the date was a bust. Ditch that buster and find you a new date.

These girls might have missed a few red flags, but they get theirs! Watch the series trailer and tune in to Player Gets Played Wednesdays at 9/8c!

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