Dating can be rough. And there are dating mistakes that we all make that can make it even rougher. Especially because we're generally not aware we're even making them.
And even though these mistakes can make you less attractive, I'm not talking about the way we look (because at the end of the day, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder). I'm talking about the things we all do (or don't) that can distract from the awesome person we are and all the things we have to offer another person. Because at the end of the day, we only have one chance to make a first impression, and if we're interested in the other person, most of us want to make a good one.
I've had a slew of dates in my lifetime — some good, some bad — and over time I began to learn that a ton of what makes for a good date is my mental state going into it, as well as how much I felt I was able to really be my best self. It definitely doesn't always happen (I've certainly put my foot in my mouth in my lifetime, as well as wished I could have a "do over" on more than one occasion), but when it does, I'm always pretty thrilled. Because then I no that no matter what happens, whether I end up going on a second date or not, there's nothing more that I could have done to put my best foot forward.
If you've been struggling in the dating world and aren't quite sure why, here are nine common dating mistakes that we all make that could potentially be the culprit.
1. Your Expectations Are Too High
In a piece on MindBodyGreen, psychotherapist and wellness expert Megan Bruneau said that a lot of us go into dates either expecting a relationship, or hoping for perfection. "Instead of looking at your date as a potential life partner right off the bat, try to look at them as someone you might want to see again. Do I enjoy hanging out with this person? Do I feel connected? If the answer is yes, hope to have another date, not a wedding," Bruneau said. This also takes a ton of the pressure off, which allows us to be way more present and in the moment.
2. You're Always "On"
Bruneau also reminded us that a date shouldn't ever feel like a standup routine, and we shouldn't ever feel like we have to constantly be entertaining. It's not only exhausting, but it often means the other person isn't getting the real you — and what's the point of that?
3. You Order Something Hard To Eat
OK, this is a personal tip so it can definitely be taken with a grain of salt (because at the end of the day, you should order whatever you want). I've just always that when I order something that's a major logistical challenge, it totally detracts from my ability to focus on the conversation, which is ultimately the whole point of the date. My advice is to always keep the food simple and easy to eat when it comes to a first encounter.
4. You Instagram Your Food
A piece from eHarmony.com on a mistake everyone makes warned against taking a ton of pictures of your food. Whipping out your phone and taking photos shows that you're not present in the moment, which never feels good to the person you're meeting.
5. You Complain
The same eHarmony piece reminded us to try to always maintain a positive attitude when on a date. Complaints about the restaurant, the food, or life in general can definitely rub others the wrong way — especially if it's a first encounter. Try to keep things fun.
6. You Talk About Your Ex
In a Huffington Post piece, dating expert James Preece noted that talking about your ex a ton is definitely a dating turn off. Venting about a past relationship can often make us seem negative, or even make it seem like we're not over our ex. If it comes up, you can always say something like, "It didn't work out, but I learned a lot from the experience."
7. You Don't Ask Questions
Preece also reminded us to ask questions about the other person. "Rather than fall into the trap of talking about yourself too much and over sharing, take a step back and consider your date. To show genuine interest and to signal that you care about the date, alternate between each talking about yourselves," Preece said.
8. You Ask A Million Questions
OK, I know I just said to ask questions, but asking too many questions and make it feel like an interrogation. Try to keep the flow as balanced and conversational as you can. Otherwise the other person can start to feel like they're under a microscope.
9. You're Constantly On Your Phone
This final one also comes from personal experience. Spending too much time checking you texts or Facebook messages while trying to get to no another person can be distracting at best, rude at worst. Try to be totally present in the moment, and if you're addicted to your phone, keep it out of arm's reach.
We all want to put our best food forward when playing the dating game, but unfortunately we can sometimes be our own worst enemy when it comes to making a good first impression. Just remember to keep the above tips in mind next time you're meeting someone, and remember — relax!
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