Most women have been on a bad first (and last) date they wish had never happened. Looking back, you often find there were warning signs you should have heeded. If you’re just hoping for a fun fling, the fact that the guy’s a bit narcissistic or is “between jobs” doesn’t really matter. But if you’re looking for serious boyfriend material, you need to skip over the bad dates that get you nowhere. Here are six reasons to be ruthless and call off a first date before it can become another train wreck on your list.
1. He’s a Player: I met a hot guy at a friend’s party, and he gave me his number. When I called him to set up a date, he was all smooth talk about how gorgeous I was and how he couldn’t wait to see me. Then he said he loved the way I had raced by him in my sexy sports car. At the time, I was driving a used economy hatchback. It suddenly became clear that he thought he was talking to another woman; someone he had apparently picked up on the side of a highway somewhere.
It may seem obvious to skip a date with a guy who doesn’t remember meeting you, but like many women, I agreed to the date anyway. After all, he was hot and apologetic. And hot. The date? A total waste of time, of course. I didn’t want a player, and he wasn’t interested in being anyone’s boyfriend.
2. He Keeps Postponing the Date: You’ve been texting for weeks. He’s got a business trip. He’s got a cold. His Aunt Martha is in town. He has to wash his hair. You get the idea. While there might be a few exceptions, the fact that he can’t commit to a date any time in the next millennium is a bad sign. He might consider dating a low priority in his life, or he might be waiting for a call back from a woman in a hot sports car. Either way, you’re not at the top of his list, and you’re wasting your time waiting for him when you could be meeting someone better.
This also follows if he cancels the date for a less than compelling reason. If the caller ID comes up with the local hospital’s number and he tells you he had an appendicitis attack, then you can reschedule. If he calls you from his friend Chuck’s house and tells you the party went a little long and he can’t make it, then tell him to enjoy the party and promptly lose his number. And Chuck’s.
3. He Makes a Late Night Date: If he tells you he’s too busy to go out that weekend, and then calls you Saturday night at midnight for your first date, hang up the phone. This is not a date; this is a booty call. It also probably means he called you because he couldn’t score with anyone at the bar he went to with his buddies. So you’re not just a booty call, you’re a D-list booty call. Ditch this guy fast; you deserve better.
4. He’s a Control Freak: It’s understandable if he’s got a romantic first date planned and he wants it to be a surprise. If you’re trying to choose a restaurant or movie together, however, and he keeps ignoring your preferences or telling you that you’ll like something you don’t, it’s probably time to bail. Definitely call it off if he expects you to drop everything in your life for him before you’ve even been on one date. If he tells you to blow off an important company meeting or ditch the plans you made with your friends long before you ever met this guy, then think of what he’ll expect once you’re actually a couple.
5. He Just Broke Up With Your Best Friend: This one’s a bit tricky. You might not even think it is a first date. He says he doesn’t want to lose you as a friend, and that you should get together sometime. You think it’s no big deal. He does. Trust me, it doesn’t matter how innocent it all seems. I went out with a friend’s ex for pizza and a PG-rated movie and he still wanted to know where his kiss was at the end of the night. There’s no reason why you can’t be friends, and maybe you might even want to date him later on, but wait until the smoke has cleared. You don’t want a guy on the rebound, and you don’t want to lose your best friend.
6. It Just Feels Wrong: Maybe his emails mention how he got into a drunken brawl the night before, or that he’s 40 and lives in his parents’ basement, or that he owes money to the mob. Maybe he can’t seem to keep his own life story straight. Whatever deal-breaker he reveals, take advantage of the advance warning and save yourself the trouble of dating Mr. Wrong.
Sometimes it’s not anything you can point to exactly, but something about the guy just seems off. Call it the Spidey sense of dating. You know that feeling when your naïve friends suggest taking a shortcut through a dark alley? Or when you change subway cars because you don’t like the way that crowd of teenagers is looking at you? If the guy you’re trying to set up a date with gives you that feeling, then cancel the date. Trust your instincts–they’re there to protect you.