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10 First Date Red Flags That Signal You Should Get out of There ASAP

Morgan Mandriota
First Date Red Flags
I’m willing to bet that we’ve all gone on our fair share of some pretty bad dates, and if you haven’t, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

A date might not go well for several reasons, including pre-date anxiety, lack of attraction, or simply not being a good match. Sometimes, a particularly bad first date can reveal the other person's true nature right from the start.

It’s important to keep an eye out for red flags when dating that may become deal breakers down the line. Spotting toxic or annoying habits early can really save you time and keep you from getting into a relationship you might regret later. It’s better to nip it in the bud right from the start so you can get back on those dating apps and find yourself someone better.

Here are 10 common red flags to watch for on a first date:

1. They spend the whole date talking about themselves

Maybe they’re nervous and don’t know what to say so they keep talking about their life in an attempt to avoid a dreaded awkward silence. But if they don’t ask you any questions and use your date as a therapy session, it’s more likely that they’re just self-centered, and possibly even narcissistic. 

A date should serve as a space for a mutual exchange of conversation to get to know each other better — key word(s): EACH OTHER. Hate to break it to you, but chances are high that this person cares more about hearing themselves talk than learning about you. Beware of anyone who doesn’t show interest in what you have to say and where you’ve come from. 

Zoosk Zoosk Find Your Match

2. They drink way too many (alcoholic) drinks

It wasn’t until our first date was halfway over that I realized my ex’s version of “dinner and drinks” really meant two beers during our meal followed by four more drinks at various bars across the street. 

Although we continued to date for months after, I should’ve known that those six drinks on our first date were a sign of his struggle with alcoholism and related relationship problems to come. Word of advice? Consider calling it quits if they have more than two drinks — three tops! — on a first date. 

Red Flags 3

3. They make sexist or racist comments

You don’t ever need to subject yourself to listening to a racist or sexist jerk ramble on about nonsense for (at least) an hour. Do you really want a misogynistic partner? If they show signs of sexism or racism, feel free to get up and leave. If you stick around, then the worst is probably yet to come. 

4. They act or look nothing like their online dating persona

You matched. You talked for a while. You started to like them so you planned to meet. Now that you’re together face-to-face, you see that they portrayed themselves to be someone online that they’re truly not in person.

Their photos are from a decade ago, or their friend created a fun profile for them because they have zero personality. Whatever it is, the truth is out — and you don’t have to stick around any longer than the first date if you don’t want to. 

5. They left out really important information prior to your date

Maybe they’re in a relationship or they have a family and kids. No matter what they were hiding, they purposely left out valuable information about their life that may impact your ability to trust them in the future. Omitting the truth is still lying. No one wants to date a liar. 

Red Flags 1

6. They’re on their phone the whole time

Whether they’re texting, scrolling on Instagram, or constantly checking their notifications, your date has their phone in hand nonstop… which means their attention isn’t where it should be: on your date. 

A phone face up on the table while you’re together is a red flag, too. They really can’t put their phone away for an hour or two? Yikes. Both of these actions are inconsiderate and disrespectful. Find someone who knows how and when to put the phone down and give their time to you and you only. 

eharmony eharmony Find Your Match

7. They show up extremely late

If they show up way past the time you agreed upon, it could be a one-time fluke due to traffic or a personal matter... or they may not respect you or your time. 

A more solid sign it’s the latter is if they don’t text or call you to give you a heads up that they’re running behind on time and leave you hanging wondering if they’re ever going to show up. Once again, inconsiderate! And certainly a red flag. 

8. They keep complaining

They don’t like the restaurant. The server sucks. The food is taking too long. Their coffee tastes bad — nothing like the fresh roast they got in Colombia last summer. Pessimism and negativity isn’t a good look on a first date (or ever). 

Consider finding someone more positive who will make the best of any situation, regardless if you’re at a slow-paced dinner or a not-so-great coffee shop. 

Red Flags 2

9. They don’t shut up about their ex

Discussing your ex is a definitive example of what not to talk about on a first date.. It’s fair game to spill the tea if/when questions naturally pop up about what your last relationship was like and how it ended.

 But if your date keeps reverting normal conversations back to their ex and the things they used to do together, then they may not be over that person. Be careful not to be a rebound!

10. They try too hard to hook up after the date ends

There’s nothing wrong with having sex on the first date. It’s also totally fine to not kiss them goodnight if you don’t want to. If your date pushes you to come over for a nightcap, or even tries to coerce you, you may have an abuser on your hands. 

Respect and consent always come first. If your date makes you feel pressured or uncomfortable in any way, especially on a first date, and in relation to anything sexual, this is a major red flag — and a dealbreaker. Run. 

Stir Stir Find Your Match

Only You Can Decide Who's a Match

Although one person’s red flag may be another’s dealbreaker, we recommend keeping these in mind the next time you go on a date. Only you can decide what is or isn’t worth not talking to someone anymore, but always make sure to stand up for yourself and never settle for less than you truly want and need while you’re out playing the dating game.

»Want more pointers on what red flags to look out for? Check out our first date questions cheat sheet:

Morgan Mandriota
Morgan Mandriota writes for Top10.com. Morgan is a freelance sex and wellness writer with bylines at Betches, Health.com, and BuzzFeed. Her insight has been quoted in Cosmopolitan, Tinder, The New York Times, and more. When Morgan isn't writing about orgasms, dating struggles, or CBD, she loves traveling, eating tacos, and training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.