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.

The reason why a date didn’t go so well could stem from never being able to cover from anxious pre-date jitters, a lack of attraction and chemistry, or simply a matter of not being the right match for one another. However, depending on the severity of how bad the date is, the person you’re meeting might actually be showing you their true colors from the very beginning. 

It’s important to keep an eye out for those red flags that may become dealbreakers down the line. That way, we can prevent wasting our precious time by not getting into a relationship with them and ultimately avoid wishing we had paid closer attention to them sooner. It’s better to nip it in the bud early on so you can get on a top dating app and find yourself a new date. 

There are many clear warning signs that may pop up when meeting someone for the first time that should signal you to run before the trouble or heartbreak starts. Here are 10 of the most common red flags to look out for on a first date that should signal you to GTFO ASAP:

1. They spend the whole date talking about themselves

2. They drink way too many (alcoholic) drinks

3. They make sexist or racist comments

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

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

6. They’re on their phone the whole time

7. They show up extremely late

8. They keep complaining

9. They don’t shut up about their ex

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

You may also like:

10 First Date Questions You Can Ask to Ensure the Conversation Flows

How to Use These 10 Popular Emojis When Dating Online

Here are more details about the top 10 red flags you should look out for when you go 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. 

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 drink more than two drinks — three tops! — on a first date. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

9. They don’t shut up about their ex

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. 

Only You Can Decide

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.

Morgan Mandriota
Morgan Mandriota 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.