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Zoosk advice: What not to do on a first date

By Juliet O

As more and more Zooskers are taking their connections from the web onto the street, we’ve been hearing about more Zoosk IRL (“in real life”) dates now than ever before. We’ve listened to your heartwarming love stories — like one from Kelly and Andy who are getting married this month — and we are beside ourselves with joy that people are finding love on Zoosk. We believe that there is really, truly someone out there for everyone. This fundamental belief is what keeps us truckin’ day in and day out to help you find love — or at the very least, to help you get your flirt on in a major way.

But every once in a while, we receive feedback from people who struggle to find a special someone and who come to us for dating advice. We already published some tips on how to maximize your online dating experience and how to make a date card that doesn’t suck. But what about when you meet offline, in person? To help you in your real life endeavors,  we came up with this list of things not to do on a first date. Most of the blunders people make during their first dates are completely within their control. Like getting so drunk during drinks that you pass out during dinner. Or showing up in a white unmarked minivan wearing a ski mask. Charming! Raise your chances of a second date by avoiding these and other simple mistakes, and let your real personality shine.

1. If you can’t handle your alcohol, try not to get drunk.

We know alcohol is a social lubricant, and we know people drink to make things less awkward and nervous during dates. Go ahead and drink. Just don’t drink so much that you think it’s a good idea to cry in public, fall down the stairs, steal your date’s iPhone, and start a bar fight. We’ve heard some pretty wacky things in our community forums about drunken dates, and the overwhelming consensus is that they suck.

2. Don’t talk about your ex.

A cardinal rule of dating: it’s generally not okay to unleash your baggage on someone you barely know, so no sob stories about the ex on a first date. Honestly, people hate hearing about their significant other’s ex(es) even after years of dating, so why would anyone want to hear about one on the first date? Focus on the person you are with, not the one you used to be with.

3. Don’t talk about yourself nonstop.

It is so not fun to hear someone drone on and on about themselves. So you volunteer at an orphanage, a soup kitchen, and the animal shelter, you recently got a huge promotion at work, you have 2 PhDs and everyone says you look like George Clooney? Good for you. You might be impressive, but you’d be a lot more impressive if you ask questions about your date and show you’re a good listener rather than just a non-stop one man talking machine.

4. Don’t lie, and don’t hide important facts about yourself.

You will get caught. Even something as seemingly insignificant as saying you read a book you never actually read will get you caught. How? Because it always happens. Also, don’t hide important facts about yourself. Your date doesn’t need to know everything about you, but they deserve to know if you have kids, are married to someone else, are pregnant, live with your parents, or are currently homeless. What you divulge is up to you, but skeletons do come tumbling out of the closet eventually, so you might as well be clear up front.

5. Don’t use your cell phone.

We know you’re super excited about Zoosk Mobile (now you can flirt with Zooskers anywhere and everywhere you go!) but it’s rude to use your cell phone during a date unless it’s an absolute emergency. Being preoccupied on your phone is a sign you aren’t mentally present, which is a huge turn-off for the person you are with.

6. Don’t talk about money.

Zoosk recently conducted a study of over a thousand singles all across the United States, asking about sensitive issues like dating during a recession, unemployment, and going on dates that involve free activities as opposed to dining out extravagantly.  What we found was that money can’t buy love, and that people don’t really let factors like money influence their decisions too much when it comes to dating someone they really like. For many, money is a touchy subject, and one that’s best avoided on a first date.

7. Don’t talk about your future together.

Even if you’re sure it’s love at first sight, don’t tell your date about your plans to Photoshop their Facebook pictures into fake wedding pictures and that you’ve always wanted two kids. That will only serve to make you seem creepy. And insane. Going into a date without any expectations is a good rule of thumb. Be pleasantly surprised if you and your date hit it off and make plans for the future, but it takes more than dinner and a movie before you get to marriage and kids.

photo credit: gromgull

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