The dating world is a tricky one to manoeuvre.
While everyone has their own individual tastes, there are recurring traits that repeatedly put potential suitors off.
We spoke to relationship experts and singles to compile the definitive list of things to avoid when dating - both online and in real life - to help you successfully navigate around the dating scene
Being too keen
This can be a difficult one to get right. However, ultimately, there are certain things that, in most cases, will always come across as just a bit too much. So in those early days, you might just need play hard to get.
Barbara Bloomfield, a counsellor at Relate, says while it is important to be yourself, getting too intense too early can make potential partners feel overwhelmed.
“If the date went well, by all means text and arrange another, but maybe don’t send countless texts and declare your undying love for them just yet,” she told The Independent. “Also, when on a date, avoid bringing up topics such as whether you want children or marriage. These kind of conversations are better left to couples in long-term, committed relationships.”
Rhiannon*, 24, says being keen can also transcend into the activity you’ve planned for a date or how long you talk on a dating app before asking out. For example, a really fancy restaurant is too intense for a first date and she prefers to speak to someone on an app for roughly a week before they arrange meeting up. This correlates with e-Harmony’s research from 2014 which suggested the average number of days people wait before arranging a date is 15 days.
Similarly, James*, 26, says overuse of emojis can suggest someone is too keen as can sending an opening paragraph when striking up a conversation on a dating app. “An effective opener for me is a sarcastic one-liner,” he says.
Talking about yourself too much
Bloomfield says that although this might be an obvious one to avoid, “you wouldn’t believe how many people do it”.
“Often people start babbling because they are nervous. Or maybe they don’t have the communication skills they need."
Similarly, showing off is a no-no with 48 per cent of people listing it in the top ten first dating faux pas.
Being rude to staff
The highest faux pas in the 2014 survey was the date being rude to staff. Ed*, 23, agrees: “I hate it when people are rude to waiters. The minute they are patronising or snappy with the person bringing us food, or usually alcohol, I’m texting my friend to call me with a fake emergency.”
Rhiannon agrees that this is a definite red flag: “It is a major turn-off when a guy is rude to staff on a date,” she said. “It makes me think that he is just being fake polite to me because he wants to impress me, but he is actually not a nice person at all.”
Love and sex news: in pictures
Love and sex news: in pictures
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While going for a drink might be the perfect icebreaker to ease the nerves on the first date, be careful to not let it get too out of hand. Imogen*, 25, says a man being significantly more intoxicated than her is a bad sign.
“It is so unattractive when a man is so much more drunk than you,” she says. “It is like they are not aware you’re not as drunk or they would have surely slowed down.”
Likewise, James says a woman being too drunk on a date can be a sign of nervousness, but said if someone accidentally got too drunk – that is understandable.
“If she came in with the aim of getting wasted, guzzling down wine, knowing she would get very, very drunk I wouldn’t like that,” he said.
On the other hand, it also works the other way. Rhiannon was recently put off when she went on a date and her potential suitor took two hours to drink his glass of wine and she was left aimlessly waiting for a top-up.
Talking about your ex too much
Again, a seemingly obvious point, but something that people trip up on much too frequently, is mentioning an ex. Dating someone new might naturally trigger similar memories you might have shared with an ex which is normal but maybe keep it in your head. Talking about an ex came up as the third most incessant dating faux par in the 2014 survey, suggesting more people have experienced this than expected.
“It’s only natural that your ex may pop into conversation briefly when you are dating but try to consciously keep the amount you mention them to a minimum. Talking at length about the break-up may give them the impression that you haven’t moved on. Take an interest in the person you are dating and be present in the moment, rather than dwelling too much on the past,” Bloomfield suggests.
Checking your phone
In an age of technology and social media, when even dating is largely conducted via our phones, actually continuing to check your phone while on a date is bad practice. In the survey, 60 per cent of people said this would put them off someone. It’s better to leave the phone aside and be present in the moment. Matt*, 26, says: "Someone constantly checking their phone is a massive turn off because I may be boring but she can at least pretend she is more interested in me than her phone."
The dating game has undoubtedly progressed a lot over the past ten years or so with online dating, but just like in real life, there are certain things people say or do which are instant turn-offs.
Ed doesn't like people that chastise other people on the app, normally with passive aggressive statements.
“People who write things such as 'I'm not quite like most people, so if you're not willing to accept difference and kindness in the world then please move on'. If they think so little of people on the app, don't use it.”
Being too forward
Rhiannon agrees that someone being too forward or suggestive as soon as they start talking is an instant no. “Also, if they list things in their biography that they don’t want, I don’t like that,” she says.
E-Harmony found that using certain words when you are online dating decreases the potential for matches, namely describing yourself as spiritual, quiet or a good listener.Reuse content