Even if you've had tons of practice, first dates can be incredibly scary. There's so much pressure to hit it off romantically, plus all those pesky expectations of what might happen — of course you're going to be nervous. You might not always know the exact right things to say to win your date over, but it can't hurt to be aware of what you should never say on a date, because first impressions matter and you don't want to ruin your chances by accidentally putting your foot in your mouth.
"For the most part, first dates are incredibly pressured, self-conscious experiences where you are often preoccupied through the whole experience about how you are coming across to the other person," Rhonda Milrad, founder and Chief Relationship Advisor of Relationup, tells Bustle. "It is actually hard to focus on getting to know your date because you are so focused on your date’s reaction to you."
If you're distracted and nervous, you might not pause to think before you speak — which could mean you let slip something awkward (or worse, offensive). In a recent AskReddit thread, one user asked people to give examples of things you should never say on a date, and their answers are super eye-opening. From the obvious — "I love you" — to the very specific — "Your bicycle seat smells like strawberries" — Reddit users pointed out things that are best left out of first date conversation.
If you want things to lead to a second date, here are 11 things to avoid saying on a date. (At the very least, let this be a reminder to think before you blurt something out to a stranger.)
1Any "Most Girls" BS
Actually, I am just like "other girls" in the sense that I am, ya know, a girl? But thanks for implicitly insulting an entire gender and ensuring I will never want to see you again!
2Saying You Want To Get Them Drunk
It's pretty creepy to admit you actively want someone to get drunk on a date. At best, it's pushy and weird (I can make my own decisions about drinking), and at worst, it's scary, because it implies you want to take advantage of me while I'm under the influence of alcohol — which is obviously not OK.
3Mentioning An Ex Right Away
In certain contexts, bringing up an ex on a date is acceptable (like if you have a cool traveling story that happens to involve them). But it's pretty ill-advised to mention an ex right away on a first date... especially if it's in a way that draws a comparison between your current date and your ex.
4Asking Their Name Repeatedly
Some people just aren't great with names, and that's totally understandable. Forgetting after being told once is an honest mistake, but if you need a constant reminder what your date's name is, they'll probably assume you aren't listening to them and don't give a sh*t about getting to know them.
5Anything Ignorant About Gender Equality
If I were more naive, I would say there's no way a guy would actually say that to a woman on a date. But alas, there are plenty of sexist jerks out there in the dating pool, so be on the lookout for signs that your date doesn't respect women.
6Saying Their Pictures Are Misleading
This is one of those lose-lose situations to be avoided at all costs. If you're saying they look better in real life, you're implying that their pictures suck, and if you're saying they misled you with hotter pictures, then you're calling them ugly. It's OK to think those things, but maybe don't voice your "surprise" about their looks.
7Implying You Don't Want To Be There
To be fair, it'd be pretty weird if someone outright said "I don't want to be on this date." But it is possible to imply (accidentally or on purpose) that you have somewhere else you'd rather be — e.g. "it sucks that I'm missing the big game tonight." Try to avoid this, because it'll probably hurt your date's feelings and make them feel guilty.
8Casually Letting Slip That You Aren't Paying
We're all human, so occasionally forgetting your wallet is nothing to get all worked up about. But if you tell your date you're cash-less and then make no effort to arrange a way to pay them back (even if it's just, "I'll get the check next time!") that is going to come across as super shady. Even if your date is fine with picking up the bill, it's a nice gesture to at least offer to pay your fair share.
9Ordering For Someone Else
Listen, I can read a menu. In fact, it's one of my favorite things to do! Please don't patronize me by ordering on my behalf — especially if you're going to imply that salad is the only food befitting a lady.
10Joking About Being A Murderer
It's 2017 and nearly everything we do is online-based, so I think it's safe to say that we're all past assuming every person from the internet is a serial killer. Therefore, there's really no need to joke about how you're totally not an ax murderer on a date.
11Starting A Political Debate
Although Millennials are actually cool with talking politics on a date, it's still a touchy subject that should be broached with caution. Pro tip: save that intense discussion for date two or three, just to be safe.
Ultimately, the number one rule for not putting your foot in your mouth on a date is simple: when in doubt, keep it to yourself. All you can do is be polite and kind, and hope that there's a connection — although it doesn't hurt to look up some good first date conversation topics, just in case you get tongue-tied.