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14 First Date Red Flags that Speak a Lot More Than Your Date Says

First dates give more insight into someone than you might think. Keep a lookout for these first date red flags and respond accordingly.

Before I get into all the first date red flags, remember that red flags are only red flags to some. Depending on what you’re looking for from your date, what could be a red flag to you could be a benefit for someone else.

For instance, if you want a serious relationship, hearing your date mention that they are on the road a lot and don’t have much time would be a red flag. But if you hope for something casual and don’t have a lot of free time that could be the perfect scenario for you.

So, with all these red flags I’m about to throw at you, keep your situation in mind. Consider what you’re looking for from your date. [Read: Casual vs serious? What’s your current dating speed]

What are first date red flags?

We all know a red flag in dating terms means STOP. It means this is a big flashing sign warning you that this will not turn out well. Immediately run in the opposite direction.

A major red flag would be someone that tells you they collect human fingernails in a bag in their closet. You hear that and not only should you run away and change your phone number, but you should also probably call the police.

But, beyond a murdery red flag, there are quite a few red flags we all come across during our dating journeys that are best avoided at all costs.

Something a little less crazy would be someone on a first date telling you they aren’t a fan of kids. But, if you ignore that because they have other good qualities and start dating, years down the line when you do want kids and they don’t, it could be the beginning of the end.

That all could be avoided by spotting first date red flags. [Read: 10 unfair but relevant dating rules we all have to live by]

First date red flags to avoid

These are not only commons first date red flags, but they are major ones that should not be overlooked. I know we don’t want to come across as picky though.

We want to give our date the benefit of the doubt if they are wearing gym shoes to a nice restaurant and if their car isn’t the nicest. But, red flags go beyond pet peeves and doubts. First date red flags are there to warn you. It is up to you to heed the warning.

#1 They are late without telling you. Sure everyone is late on occasion. Maybe they got stuck in traffic. But nowadays there is no excuse for not sending a quick text explaining.

If someone is late and acts like it doesn’t matter and don’t explain or apologize, they probably don’t appreciate your time or presence. For a first date when most people are on their best behavior, this is a major red flag. [Read: The 15 types of toxic daters you have to keep an eye on!]

#2 They don’t ask you anything. A first date red flag that can be commonly overlooked is someone that doesn’t ask you anything about yourself. They not only talk about themselves the whole time, but they also don’t ask you about your job, interests, or family. Sure, some people get nervous on a first date and word vomit. If they are interested in you in the slightest, they will want to know more.

#3 They’re on their phone. If someone can’t meet you for drinks for an hour and stay off their phone, there is a reason for it, and usually not a good one. Unless this person is a firefighter or doctor on call, being on their phone during a first date is a huge red flag.

They clearly are not making this date a priority nor are they realizing how rude their behavior is. [Read: Don’t ignore these subtle signs of a bad first date]

#4 They’re too into you. We have all been nervous with someone right off the bat, but being too eager too soon is a major first date red flag. Not only is it insincere to like someone that you barely know, but it can also be a form of manipulation called love-bombing.

If your date falls all over you with compliments and makes romantic plans for the future, slow things down or end them right there. [Read: What is love bombing and ways to spot the manipulation instantly]

#5 They’re problematic. If your date makes a racial slur, says they don’t believe in feminism, or even makes a sexist joke, it is a bad sign. I was once on a date with a guy who went on and on about how boys shouldn’t kiss their dads any age after two. I found it super weird, but overlooked it, which I shouldn’t have.

That really rubbed me the wrong way and felt like major toxic masculinity, which it was, and instead of paying attention to that red flag I let it go on longer and paid the price.

#6 They have no manners. If your date is rude to the waiter, valet, or even to you, that is not a good sign. I am not saying they need to lay down the red carpet for you and be the most polite person in the world, but they should be respectful to those around them.

Saying please and thank you to the waiter is not too much to ask. If they can’t even mutter up basic manners now, don’t expect them to get any better from here on out. [Read: 13 warnings signs to look out for after the first date]

#7 They complain about their ex. I wholeheartedly believe talking about your past relationships on a first date is totally okay, in moderation. If you mention that your last relationship ended a year ago, that is beneficial. If you say you learned a lot about yourself from your last relationship, wonderful.

But, if your date complains about their ex, not a good sign. It shows that they may not be over them and that they are bitter. If your date mentions how their ex cheated on them briefly, it is fine. But, when they go on about how crazy their ex is, it is a major first date red flag telling you that they are probably the crazy one.

#8 They are close-minded. Everyone disagrees. You may not want to date someone with opposing beliefs, but if you only slightly disagree about something you should both be open to hearing the other out. If they cannot handle your stance on something: major first date red flag.

For instance, if you are Catholic and your date is an Atheist that shouldn’t matter. You can respect one another beliefs, but if they attack your religion just because they don’t agree, that is not healthy at all. [Read: 22 early warning signs of a person who’ll be a bad partner!]

#9 They outright tell you they’ve cheated or ghosted. Sure, openness and honesty are what we all want. However, it is rare someone admits to ghosting and genuinely feels bad about it. If someone on a first date tells you they have cheated or ghosted, they straight up tell you what sort of person they are.

Unless they say they did these things in high school or college and are a changed person, take what they say as the truth and run. 

#10 They’re too neutral. Someone with no opinions is not too easygoing. It says they just don’t care. If you ask your date how they feel about what’s going on at the border or what they think about this country’s healthcare and they just brush it off as something that doesn’t affect them, it is a major red flag.

It tells you that not only is this person likely the definition of white privilege, but they also don’t seem to care about what’s going on in the country or to anyone else. Think about if that is someone you want to share your time with. If they don’t care about the bigger picture, will they care when you’re struggling?

#11 They disrespect your needs. Before any first date, I layout ground rules. I don’t allow anyone to pick me up, I always meet them out. And I always like to meet someplace semi-busy and in public. These are just minor safety precautions anyone should take.

But, if your date shuts that down and doesn’t understand why you would be wary, they are not someone you want to date or even meet.

#12 They say, “I’m not like other girls/guys.” This is the kiss of death in terms of dating. Anyone that says this tends to have a precedent eg. They are most likely exactly what they claim not to be.

#13 They’re weird about the bill. The bill is always an awkward part of a first date. Neither person has to pay, but there shouldn’t be any arguing. If they reach for the check and you offer to split it and they politely decline, wonderful. If they accept, wonderful. But, if they brutally insist on paying or insist you pay, something weird is happening. [Read: 15 warning signs that reveal a total lack of chemistry on the first date]

#14 They’re judgmental. This can show up in many forms on a first date. It is unacceptable. If your date mocks someone in the restaurant that is overweight, it is not only a first date red flag but a reason to get up and leave.

I once went for coffee with a guy that felt the need to judge a girl that came in with piercings and purple hair. He mentioned how he thought she would never get a date looking like that. I left almost immediately. If your date does something like that, you should too.

[Read: Is your date a toxic person? These signs will show you the truth]

These are just some major first date red flags you should be aware of and avoid at all costs. If anything on a first date makes you feel uncomfortable, do not feel bad about leaving.

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