Dating can be tricky, but there are some cues that can save you from a lot of lost time. Check out these nine dating red flags to help decide if they’re worth it.
I can’t believe I stuck around with him for so long.
Why do I keep dating the wrong people?
There are many factors involved in why any relationship works out. But sometimes the agony can be spared by paying attention earlier on.
What are some red flags to look out for on a first date?
1. It’s not clear that it’s a date.
In a post that went viral on Huffington Post earlier this year, I declared that there is one question you should never have to ask while on a date. That question? “Is this a date?” If one or both of you are wondering that, then something went wrong along the way. If it’s a date, then it should be clear. Otherwise, there is no shared context, permission or freedom to be flirty or sexual. So first thing to do is have it be clear that it’s a date by boldly asking “I want to take you on a date. When are you free next week?” And if for some reason it’s not clear to you that it’s a date, the next best thing to do is just ask.
2. They treat the wait staff poorly.
You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat someone who is serving them. Do they have sense of entitlement? Are they outright rude? Did they leave a really bad tip? Of course, anyone can have a bad day or have a brain fart when calculating the tip. But if you see several things that indicate that they have a lack of respect or kindness, then I would say that is something to definitely look at.
3. They don’t ask you any questions.
People that are into you, ask about you. People that are into themselves, don’t. Notice on the date how the flow of conversation goes. Are you asking most of the questions? Is she only asking questions that she could find on your LinkedIn profile?
What if you’re in the middle of a date and you notice this dynamic is happening? No worries. Just propose you both play the Curiosity Game. It’s a game with just one rule: you can each ask any question you want as long as you are genuinely curious about the question. And you take turns going back and forth. If, after giving each other explicit permission to be boldly curious, your date isn’t showing his or her curiosity about you, then pay attention to that.
Note: you don’t need a game to be genuinely curious. Just be that way all the time.
4. You have absolutely nothing in common, but you are super attracted to him or her.
This mostly applies to situations where you’re truly looking for a relationship. Because if you let just your loins take the steering wheel, they won’t take you anywhere productive long-term. You won’t be letting your true self show because you’ll be so obsessed with trying to get in their pants. Or skirt. If you’re dating in order to attract a healthy, fulfilling relationship, then you want to be clear on what you want in a partner. Not just activities and hobbies, but what are their values and character traits? If the person you’re sitting across from has those and physical connection? Boom.
5. There is no appreciation.
Whether you did the asking or you were asked out, showing generosity is a must. Few things are as disappointing as spending a few hours with someone and there is no acknowledgment of appreciation for time you’ve just spent together. Whether it’s for the cupcake, concert or drink you treated them to, it’s common courtesy to say thank you. The male and female clients I know that always pay on the first date always notice when they don’t say thank you. And that appreciation goes both ways. Don’t take for granted the time and energy it took for her to look as stunning as she does and her to take time out of her busy schedule to go on the date with you.
6. You catch them in a lie.
If he says on his profile that he’s 6’2″ and he’s really 5’8″, that’s a sign. He’s already starting off demonstrating that he’s willing to bend the truth for whatever reason. She says she’s a doctor, but she’s still studying for her MCAT exam. Sure, it could be a one-time thing and not mean much. And I’m not saying it’s a 100 percent deal breaker, but it’s still a red flag. It’s something to keep in mind while still looking at the other positive factors.
7. They are always on their phone.
Does she have the decency to keep her phone off and in her purse? Look up rudeness in the dictionary and you’ll see a photo of a guy hooked on his phone while a beautiful woman is talking to him. If that happens, make one kind request like “I’d love to spend tonight really getting to know you without any distractions. Do you mind if we both agree to turn our phones off?” And then just sit back and see how they respond. Are they totally on board or do they whine about it?
8. They are overly negative.
Is everything that comes out of her mouth a complaint? Nothing screams date from hell more than a conversation that is all about what’s wrong with his life, his ex, his job, his body, the world. And if that describes you, then stop it.
9. You don’t share the same sense of humor.
No relationship can survive long term without fun and humor. The difficult moments in a relationship require some form of laughter to make them more palatable. If you’re dishing out your signature wit and sass and he’s totally straight-faced, it’s probably not a good sign. A matching sense of humor is either there or it’s not. You can’t force it. And if you have to explain your joke to them, then you’re going too far.
These are just a few of the things that might be good to notice if they happen to you. But more important than some checklist is your intuition. You know when your inner guidance system gets activated. And when it does, listen to it.
[image: via Nan Palmero on flickr]