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How to Recognize a Bad First Date: 12 Subtle Red Flags People Ignore

How to Recognize a Bad First Date

You’re on a first date. It’s going… horribly. Is it actually a bad date? Maybe you’re overthinking things. Learn how to recognize a bad first date!

I’ve been on so many bad first dates, I could write a book about how to recognize a bad first date. Now you have me thinking… Honestly, there have been dates where I thought they would never end and some when I thought I was sitting across from a complete psychopath.

When it comes to going on first dates, you’re meeting with someone you know very little about, if anything. Naturally, this is the exciting part of dating, figuring out who they are and if you will be a match.

But at the same time, it also means you have no idea what you’re going to get in front of you. There will be dates where you just don’t know what’s going on. You’ll not be sure if this is a bad first date or if you’re just losing your mind! [Read: What to talk about on a first date when you feel tongue-tied]

How to recognize a bad first date

There have been dates where every single thing I did was wrong. Everything that you’re supposed to avoid on a date, I’ve done. Whether snorting while laughing, drinking too much, having my friend “emergency call’ me—I’ve done it all. Some of those disaster dates ended up becoming something more. Who would have thought?

You may think the date is going horribly, but in reality, this person is really digging you. Though, your instinct could be right, and the date is just as shitty as you thought. What’s important is that you don’t jump ahead of yourself and label the date as bad. There are some signs to help you really figure out whether this date will lead you to a second date or if you should just pull out while it’s early.

#1 No chemistry. You’re at a romantic restaurant, the lights are dim and the music is sensual but there’s no chemistry between you and your date. Like zero chemistry. You’d have more chemistry with your gynecologist. If you’re not feeling any attraction towards this person, there’s no point for a second date. [Read: How to tell if there’s no chemistry and if you should stop trying]

#2 They’re texting/calling on the date. It’s basic knowledge when you’re on a date that you don’t answer your texts or calls. If your phone is on the table, that’s already rude. But, if you or your date are answering texts and calls, it shows you want to be somewhere else. If that’s the case, leave. [Read: Proper social etiquette redefined for our modern world]

#3 It’s all silence. Silence isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if the date is mostly crickets chirping in the background, well, that’s a problem. If you struggle to find something to talk about or if you have absolutely nothing in common, this isn’t a good sign. If you think it’s just nerves, see if it gets better on the second date.

#4 You feel like you’re at a job interview. There’s no conversation happening. It’s more like being interrogated by the CIA. First dates are supposed to consist of small talk and questions, but if your date is drilling you with questions then that’s not a sign of a good date.

#5 You want the date to end. If you really liked this person, you wouldn’t be thinking about what you’re going to cook for dinner or how you’re going to divide the bill. If you’re not enjoying yourself, then why are you on this date? This is a good moment to ask yourself why you’re feeling these emotions. 

#6 It’s all about getting laid. We all know dating means finding someone you’re sexually and emotionally attracted to. But the entire date shouldn’t have an underlying tone of getting laid at the end of it. It’s a date. If your date wanted to get laid, then they shouldn’t have asked you out and vice versa. [Read: 17 sordid signs you’re just a hookup and nothing more]

#7 You guys disagree on almost everything. It’s normal for people to disagree on things, I mean, even with people you love, you won’t agree about everything. However, if you spend most of your time arguing about each other’s core values–not a good sign. This shows you may not be as compatible as you thought.

#8 They’re dating other people. If your date tells you they’re seeing other people, that’s pretty shitty. I get that it’s the first date, but no one wants to know they’re just another person. If they’re telling you about other people they’re seeing, they don’t respect you.

#9 They talk about their ex. Oh god, this is a bad first date. If they spend the entire time talking about their ex, this isn’t a first date, it’s a therapy session. You want to get to know the person, not about their past relationships. It’s just an awkward conversation to have with a potential match. [Read: 20 things to perfect any first date conversation]

#10 They end the date early. Well, that clarifies things, doesn’t it? If your date can’t wait to pay the check and part ways, it’s clear this person isn’t for you. It shows they are rude and obviously not interested in you. Both reasons are enough to ditch this person. 

#11 Nothing in common. You should have things in common. Of course, you don’t need to have everything in common, but if they don’t like anything you like, I wouldn’t take a second date. Don’t waste your time with someone that doesn’t make you feel good when you are in their company. [Read: 14 signs you’re unintentionally ruining your first date]

#12 They’re pushy. They’re too touchy like they’re trying to get a full-on makeout session at Starbucks, and you’re not having it. Listen, the first date should have no physical contact unless you are both hungry for each other. If they’re too touchy and you’re not comfortable, leave.

[Read: How long should a first date last? Your guide to timing it right]

Knowing how to recognize a bad first date will help you get out of a potentially messy and time-wasting situation. Don’t waste your time on a bad first date. It’s just not worth it!

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic
A serial dater, Natasha Ivanovic knows a thing or two about men and the dating scene. Much of her writing is inspired by her encounters with men - and for good ...
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