He Said: I spoke with over fifty men and compiled a list of the things women do on first dates that incline men to put them on their “will not date again” list. My top four:
1. Conducting an interview. First dates typically start with a handful of the standard questions: “Where are you from, what do you do, tell me about your family, etc.” If there is chemistry, though, the conversation typically evolves into something more personal and intimate. Asking good and insightful questions demonstrates interest. Sharing personal details of your life exhibits trust. Interview questions, unfortunately, do neither of these. No interest + no trust = no second date.
2. Complaining. Dates should be positive experiences, regardless of how they turn out. Spending time focusing on negatives, though, is no way to make a good first impression. Complaining about your job, your family, your pet, your day, and your life makes you — surprise! — a complainer. No one appreciates being bombarded with negative energy, as it demonstrates a need to be the center of attention in a very needy way.
3. Being constantly distracted. Constantly checking your phone for e-mails, answering text messages, or taking phone calls while meeting someone for the first time demonstrates that you either have no boundaries, cannot disconnect, or simply do not care to. No one I know, man or woman, likes to compete with a cell phone for attention.
4. Rudeness. Being rude to people on the street, making fun of the homeless, cursing the woman who has the bag or shoes you want, and reprimanding cab drivers, bartenders, and waiters demonstrates a clear lack of consideration for the feelings of other people. This also demonstrates a lack of self-awareness that is not attractive. Check your Roseanne Barr and channel your inner Jackie O.
She Said: As a rampant online dater, my threshold for bad first-date behavior is lower than most. Still, these are the three things that kill your chances of a second date:
1. Cheapness. I’m all for being frugal. I even offer to split the bill with about 98% sincerity. Tough times and all — we get it. But the quickest way to spoil the first-date mood is to spend way too much time on the check when it arrives. If you want to foot the bill, go ahead, but keep sighs, winces, and other signs of discontent to yourself. Splitting it? Just go ahead and split it for god’s sake, and get it off the table. I once had a date count out my portion of the bill, to the penny … on his cell phone’s calculator. That was the last I saw of him, but I hope he saved those extra 37 cents for a rainy day.
2. Putting yourself down. It’s a date, not a counseling session. If I get you on the couch, it better not be to hear about your tumultuous relationship with your mother and sexual insecurities. The first date is for selling yourself — not putting yourself down. If your flaws and self-loathing are all I have to go on during the first impression, you can bet there won’t be a chance for a second one.
3. Bad breath. A great first kiss should take your breath away … but not because you’re gasping for air. Invest in a lifetime supply of mints or a good dentist before you put yourself out there — if your breath smells funky during that first kiss, you’ll have a hard time convincing me to stick around long enough to get a whiff of what it smells like in the morning.
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On the Soapbox:Abraham Lloyd is a divorced dad, closet geek, and aspiring author dating in New York City. He believes all men should own at least five jackets, know how to dance, and pay on a first date. You can tweet him at twitter.com/abrahamlloyd. Diana Vilibert is Marie Claire’s associate Web editor, a chronic oversharer, closet romantic, and blind-date addict. You can e-stalk her at diana-vilibert.com.
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.