‘I’m a Matchmaker, and These Are the 4 Mistakes I Advise People Not To Make on First Dates’

Photo: Getty Images/ Janina Steinmetz
First dates evoke all sorts of emotions, like excitement, anticipation, and nervousness. Whether it’s an active date, a meeting at a coffee shop, or the more traditional dinner and drinks combo, a first date is a chance to suss out potential partners to see if there’s room for something more. But navigating how best to get to know this person—and what to share about yourself—can be tough to parse.

Knowing the right and wrong questions to ask is one part of it. You want to give a good impression, but also to evaluate the person to see if you'd like to get to know them better. So how do you do this? A matchmaker has tips for first date mistakes to avoid.

Experts In This Article
  • Susan Trombetti, celebrity matchmaker, relationship expert, and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking

Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, has coached numerous clients through first dates, and has listened to their tales of woe and triumph. She says a first date, whether you’re dating to find a long term relationship or shorter term fun, is all about giving off the best first impression possible. “Your first date is for getting to a second date and being a good flirter,” she says.

“Your first date is for getting to a second date and being a good flirter.”—Susan Trombetti, matchmaker

Trombetti has seen it all, and has some advice for what not to do on a first date if you’d like to be invited on a second one. Read on for the first date mistakes this matchmaker advises you not to make if you want a successful first date.

The 4 mistakes this matchmaker advises not to make on a first date

1. Getting drunk

A boost of liquid courage may be a good idea, but drinking too much can quickly tip the date from fun and flirty into sloppy and messy.

While everyone is affected by alcohol differently, Trombetti recommends her clients stick to a two-drink maximum to keep it “classy and sassy.” She advises this because too many drinks can cause someone to be too uninhibited and overshare or start arguing. Also, keep your safety in mind—don’t drink so much that your awareness of your surroundings is impaired.

2. Talking about an ex

According to Trombetti, speaking at length about an ex partner, whether in complimentary or derogatory terms, is a major turnoff. “I could talk for two hours about this, but there should be no talk about an ex or someone that you find attractive,” she says. Trombetti says it’s better to avoid talking about others in general to make the person you’re on a date with feel like you’re focused and excited to get to know them. It can also come off as bragging.

Additionally, don’t take this time to brag about all the other attractive people you’re currently dating, or if there are others you find good looking where you are (for example, a waiter or waitress if you’re at a restaurant).

And don’t dump all your drama and baggage with your ex on the first date, because it can be overwhelming and scare someone off.

3. Using your phone

Another cardinal mistake Trombetti advises daters not to make is being fixated by your phone. If you have an emergency that’s one thing, but you shouldn’t be incessantly scrolling, texting, or talking on your phone during a first date because it’s rude and distracting.

Center your attention on your date so you can make a judgment about how you feel about them. You don’t have to turn your phone off entirely, but be mindful of how often you’re looking at it and using it. “Usually my clients have enough sense not to do this,” Trombetti says.

4. Grilling your date

Remember that you’re on a date, not a job interview. It’s great to share your interests and passions, but hounding a date about the news, politics, their beliefs, or anything else can make you look inconsiderate and controlling, Trombetti says.

Questioning your date so intensely can come across as annoying, harassing, or even creepy and those are vibes you don’t want to put out on a first date. It can come across as testing your date’s intelligence and patience, which is not a good feeling. Your goal is for your date to remember you as someone they’d like to get to know better. “If you miss that flirtatious fun at the beginning of a relationship, you’re going nowhere fast,” Trombetti says.

There are ways to find out if you’re compatible. Ask questions and be interesting without hounding your date, Trombetti advises. Make sure they’re allowed to get a word in edgewise, and be sure to ask them questions in turn.

Keeping the vibe light and fun doesn't mean you have to avoid all depth and stick to surface-level topics. Act authentically and be yourself.

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