These Are the Worst Things to Do on a First Date, According to Millennials

Let’s be frank — dating in 2018 can be… well, complicated.

We’re swiping left and right, sliding into DMs, hooking up, breaking up, ‘almost’ dating, keeping things casual, ghosting; whatever the new trend or terminology might be, our culture has granted it an opportunity to affect the millennial masses (for better or worse). Having spent much of my time living in TO as a single woman, I‘ve long since settled into a niche writing on topics of love, sex and dating, especially as it relates to navigating the changing tides of current dating culture.

After spending a recent night on the patio with a girlfriend swapping wine-induced, dating ‘horror stories’, I found myself settling on the question: When it comes to a first date, what are the ultimate deal breakers? Especially in this age of dating apps, how do we sift through the good, the bad, and the ugly to determine what makes a great first date, and what ensures there will never be a second? So, naturally, I took to the streets (and by that, I mean I took to social media) to ask my millennial counterparts exactly that question. Here’s what I found out:


The Worst:

1. Being on Your Phone

This was, by far, the most common response I received — which prompted me to ask the following question: Your date keeps looking at their phone during your time together. Is that a deal breaker?  88% of respondents said ‘Definitely’. Millennials might be a hyper-connected bunch but when it comes to first dates, either keep the phone out of sight entirely or, at the very least, keep it face down (and on silent) on the table to avoid distraction. After all, is there anything worse than having your date continuously interrupted by texts, calls, Instagram likes and maybe even a barrage of Bumble/Tinder notifications?

2. Talking About Your Ex

Opening up about your past and speaking to lessons learned from previous relationships is an important conversation to be had in any new relationship — but generally speaking, this shouldn’t be the conversational focal point of a first date. Talking too much about a recent ex or, even worse, continuously sh*t talking that ex will only give the impression that you aren’t over that relationship or in any headspace to be pursuing a new one. Be open, but try to keep the ex specifics (and especially any slander) to a minimum. If the relationship progresses, there will be plenty of time to get into the nitty gritty of the past.

3. Being Late (Apparently it’s not Fashionable)

You only have one shot at a first impression — so please, show up on time. But if you are running a bit behind (hey, sh*t happens), make sure to communicate that ahead of time and let your companion know so they aren’t waiting around aimlessly for you. 

“A girlfriend of mine had a guy show up 20 or 30 minutes late, and when he finally showed up he didn’t even apologize or acknowledge it. They went for coffee and he didn’t even offer to pay for her coffee as an apology, even though he was the one who asked her out. She obviously opted not to go on the second date with him.”

4. Being Rude to Servers, Staff and/or Passerby’s

Kindness never goes unnoticed. Making rude, entitled, sexist, homophobic, transphobic (or otherwise) remarks to staff or passerby’s in any capacity during a date is something most millennials aren’t willing to tolerate.

5. Getting Too Deep into Heavy/Personal Issues Right Away

According to the millennials polled, it’s best to not get too heavy on the first date  there will be a time and a place for those conversations a few dates down the road (if things go well). Warm up to each other, first.

6. One Sided Conversation/Frequently Interrupting Your Companion

Not letting your companion get a word in edgewise is a great way to ensure you won’t get a second date.

“I went on a date once, where the girl gave me her entire life and work story and didn’t ask a single question about me. Not. One. Question.

7. Dropping Hints About How Much Money You Make

Toronto is full of successful people, but don’t be that guy or girl who brags about their quarterly earnings on the first date. Let your personality/connection define your first impression, not your paycheque.

8. Talk About Kids

This one may be up for debate depending who you ask (and their age demographic), but some millennials consider the mention of kids/family planning to be a ‘no fly zone’ during the first few dates.

In fact, on a first (and last) date a couple years back, my potential suitor drilled me with questions about my background, eye colour, height and health regime before stating “You will be great for breeding” — an approach which I can confirm did not go over well. 

Let’s Get Personal:

Since I had everyone talking, I figured it was a great time to ask some of the harder questions:

1. Thoughts on sleeping with someone on the first date?

Interestingly, the response was almost a 50/50 split with 55% saying ‘Go For It’ and 45% saying ‘Nah, Bad Move’. Here were a few of the explanations to back up those conflicting opinions:

Go For It: “It’s so controversial, but if you ask me, it depends what love language is yours. For me, physical touch is my #1 and that means I need to know if that is there night one or if it has the potential to be there. Otherwise, we’re likely just wasting each other’s time.”

Nah, Bad Move: “Honestly, I’ll like the girl more if I don’t. If they want to sleep together on the first date, I will, but I would rather work for it — it gives me a reason to come back for another date. If every girl slept with me after 2 drinks and some conversation, how are we supposed to think it’s special? What separates that interaction from every other casual interaction?”

2. Ladies, do you still expect the guy to always pay on the first date?

This question also presented a pretty even divide in opinions with 46% saying ‘Yes!’ and 54% saying ‘No, Split it!” One of the respondents elaborated on their answer by explaining ‘I think whoever asked the other person out should pay’ — a stance that I happen to align with as well.

3. At what number of dates do you start offering to pay if you didn’t pay on the first or second?

Majority of respondents said second or third date, with a few outliers naming the fourth date as their turn to foot the bill.

– “In my opinion, you should reach for that bill on the second, and the guy should still refuse, but that reach is everything.”

– “If you haven’t paid by the third date, you’ve probably entered the ‘friend zone’ lol”

– “Worrying about money on a date is the worst! I prefer to alternate who pays!”

4.  Have you ever left midway through a date? If so, why?

– “Yes! It was a first online date and ALL he did was b*tch about his ex he just broke up with.”

– “Yes, he was showing me all his other Tinder matches.”

– “Yes! My date was a total dick, so I faked a work emergency.”

– “Yes. The person I went on a date with kept bragging about their ‘kill count’ – I kid you not…”