in: Dating & Relationships

5 Ways You’re Sending the Wrong Message on the First Date

Jeffrey Platts says if you’re on the phone, in stinky workout gear and don’t say please and thank you, you’re not good at first dates. Get it together, Kid.

It’s the first date. You want $100 loan today to go well. You want to feel sexy, attractive and confident. You want the date to be fun and exciting. You don’t want spinach in your teeth.

And yet the past few dates you’ve you been wondering why they’re not calling back. Or why they’re declining a second date. Or why they run away screaming like Macauley Culkin in Home Alone.

While you might be doing everything right, there might be a few things that we often overlook that can send a different message than we’re wanting.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. You don’t dress up or groom yourself.

Message: “I don’t care about looking good for myself or others.” 

I went on a date once and the woman came in workout clothes, hair in an oily ponytail and no makeup. It was clear she had worked out earlier in the day and made no effort in her appearance. Now, I’m the last guy to say that women need to dress all fancy and dolled up. Or that a guy needs to wear a three-piece suit. At the same time, it is a date. We don’t need to impress each other, but we do need to express the best version of ourselves. It feels good to look and smell good.

2. You hold back on the compliments.

Message: “I don’t find you sexually attractive or consider you as a romantic possibility. Let’s just be friends.”

This is a huge one I see male coaching clients of mine make. They think that women don’t want to be objectified by their date. Sure, you don’t want to treat her like a piece of meat. That is true. And there is a difference between objectification and appreciation. Moreover, if you don’t bring some type of mojo or sexual energy to the interaction, she won’t know for sure if you’re attracted to her. It’ll feel like a business colleagues or two friends getting a drink. And it goes both ways. Tell him “I love that shirt on you.” Or share with her how much you dig her smile. And remember, it’s all about energy, so say it with a sexy flirtatious vibe.

3. You don’t say thank you. Or you say it and they don’t hear it.

Message: “I did you a favor by going on a date with you.” 

This is something I tell both men and women. If you say thank you to your date, whether it’s for the company or for their treating you to dinner, it doesn’t count if they don’t hear it. Make sure that when you do thank them, that it’s got two elements: a) you’re both fully present to the moment and b) you have solid eye contact. So that means don’t quickly blurt out a thanks as you’re getting up from the table. An even nicer touch is to make some form of physical contact (arm, shoulder or hand) as you say it. Whether you’re a man or woman, your date has taken the time and energy to spend a few hours of their day or night with you. Thank them. Even if he or she isn’t what you’re looking for.

4. You use your smartphone. 

Message: “I’m not interested enough in being here.You’re not captivating enough.”

This actually is a no-no for all social situations, but it definitely applies on dates. I’m guilty of this at times with my girlfriend. You’re on a date. You’re there to have fun, explore the connection and see if you like them. This is not the time to check your  text messages, Facebook notifications or emails. There is absolutely nothing urgent that you will receive during your date. And I recommend turning your phone fully off. Having it on vibrate or silent mode still leaves an energetic connection to the outside world. And an additional tip/challenge: don’t check your phone when your date goes to the restroom. Just sit there, be present with your experience and check in with yourself. Checking your phone will just distract you from all of that and take you out of the connection. You can practice this when you’re out to dinner with your friends, too.

5. You don’t ask any questions.

Message: “I’m a lazy conversationalist. I’m not interested in you.” 

On a first date, you have a whole other world in front of you. You’ve both chosen to spend some time with each other. When you don’t ask any questions, it sends the signal that you’re not interested in them. Instead, slow down and dive in and let your curiosity roam free. One fun game to play is to take turns asking each other one question. The only rule is that you must be genuinely curious about the question. No small talk “where did you go to school?” questions.

Just like a fish in water, it’s tough to see the water we’re swimming in sometimes. So if your first dates are feeling in need of a tune-up, these quick fixes should be the solution you need.

[image via Jessie Jacobson on flickr]

About the Author:


Jeffrey Platts is a men’s coach, writer and authentic relating facilitator passionate about helping men and women connect to their authentic power in life and love. He is one of the lead facilitators for the Authentic Man Program, a life-changing course for men, and has led over 70 personal growth, dating, and consciousness workshops. Jeffrey has been featured in Huffington Post, Washington Post, ABC News and the Good Men Project. He brings to his coaching and writing the latest and best practices in personal growth, communication, technology, sexuality, masculine/feminine dynamics and spirituality. Find out more at, follow him on Facebook and tweet him at @jeffreyplatts.


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