The whole point of going on a first date with someone is an air of mystery, the idea that ~anything can happen~. But that's just it: anything can happen, and "anything" is a pretty large umbrella of good and bad and just plain awful. And while I by no means intend to squash the magic of the idea of first dates, there are still a few warning signs that nobody should ignore — and yes, a lot of those warning signs can come before the date even happens.
That might seem like an outlandish thing to say when most of the dates we go on these days are set up online or through an app, with 300 character bios, a few photos, and a handful of messages back and forth serving as a first impression. And while some warning signs are so clear on someone's profile that you know instinctively to swipe left, some are subtle and will only come after the conversation is initiated. Remember going into any interaction with a stranger that your first priority is protecting yourself, so if you have any reservations going in, trust your gut. And if you aren't so sure about your gut, then definitely consider all of these warning signs that you shouldn't go on that first date.
They Are Determined To Set The Terms Of The Night, To An Unreasonable Degree
They want to pick you up, and push back when you say you'll drive yourself. They want to go to some place far out of town that you don't know about that makes you nervous. They are making plans for what you'll do or where you'll go "after" the date before the date even begins. This kind of behavior, or anything similarly controlling, should be enough to set you on edge. Anything that compromises your sense of security on a date, and especially anything that compromises your ability to leave a date, is an immediate and glaring warning sign.
You Can’t Find Anything About Them Online
A decade ago it was creepy to stalk someone online before a date, and people who did were the butt of many a joke. Now it's not just a normal thing to do, but entirely necessary. Sure, there are always going to be a few holdouts who aren't into social media — but if you can't even find some record of the person's existence and have no idea what you're getting into, you might want to consider the vibes you are getting from them very carefully before committing to a date.
They’re Already Drunk Texting You Or Texting You At Weird Hours Of The Night
Maybe sexting and drunk texting is totally your speed — but even if it is, there should be at least some kind of logical buildup to this before it's happening. If you haven't given any indication that that is something you'd be OK with (whether or not you are), and the person is already getting into weird texting antics, proceed with caution — or at least consider the very real possibility that they may not be going into this date with the same expectations that you are, whatever those expectations may be.
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Somebody You Trust Doesn’t Like Them
Even if you didn't meet them IRL, odds are with dating apps that you at least have some mutual friends in common. If one of those friends happens to be someone you know and trust really well, it's only natural to reach out and ask them about the person in question. If they have a less than favorable opinion of your potential date, that right there is a major red flag. Even if you do end up liking them, would it ever be worth being at odds with your friend when there are so many other less inconvenient fish in the sea?
They Were Already Upfront In Their Bio Or Texts About Not Wanting The Same Things As You
Do not take someone's honesty for granted by expecting to be able to change them, or change their minds about something. You're only setting yourself up for disappointment and, quite frankly, being unfair to the person you're going out with.
You Feel Unsafe Or Ill At Ease In Any Way
This goes for before a date, during a date, after a date — if you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe, leave. It's not just the whole "better safe than sorry" rule (which is, of course, the most important rule of all). Beyond that, you just plain don't deserve to feel that way, and you don't owe it to anyone else to try to change it. If you feel uneasy, there is a biological reason why that is older than the oldest human. Trust that feeling. Trust yourself. And remember that there are few first dates that can top the glory of pizza in your pajamas with a full DVR, anyway.
Images: Unsplash (1); Andrew Zaeh/Bustle (4)