While finding your true love in college isn’t necessarily likely, it’s still fun to date and get to know some of the amazing cuties on your campus. But for every happy couple who met in college, there are first dates that didn’t work out, too. We talked to collegiettes and collegents to find out what makes a first date good or bad, so check out our list to make sure your date with that cutie from your Psych class ends on a positive note.
1. Freak out if things don’t go as planned
Nothing will scare a guy off on a first date more than a high-maintenance girl, so if your plans fall through, adapt to the situation at hand.
While this goes for situations like restaurants being closed or movies being sold out, it applies practically, too—if you do something embarrassing, make a joke out of it instead of dwelling on what happened.
“I went on a date with a guy I had been talking to… we were having good conversation,” says Chelsea, a senior at Oklahoma State University. “Considering we had known each other for a bit, we weren’t really nervous. I cut a piece of chicken that was a bit large, but already had it on my fork so I didn't want to put it down and recut it, for sake of manners, so I just ate it. Me, being ungodly accident prone, began choking on it. And when I say choking, like not breathing, thinking I'm going to die choking. Of course the guy, is asking if I am alright and doing the best he can… It did not work out with this guy and I sure hope it is not because of my choking.” If something unfortunate does happen, just laugh it off and move on, don’t let it put a damper on the entire date
2. Disclose all of your weird habits
While many of us dream of a relationship where we can be completely comfortable and open with our significant other, there’s no need to disclose everything when you first meet him. Once you get to know the guy you’ve been dating, you should be able to open up to tell him the details about what you like and who you are, but when it comes to first dates, be careful of crossing over into the TMI-zone.
“I was hanging out with this guy I thought was really cool, but he told me he collected busts. As in, full-sized busts of historical figures,” says Heather*, a UNC-Chapel Hill senior. “It didn’t change how I felt about him, and I was glad he felt comfortable enough to share that, but it made the conversation a little awkward since we didn’t know each other very well yet.” Be yourself, but stick to tamer topics the first time around, and let your freakier side come out later.
3. Ask about other people he’s dated
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many guys (and girls) ask about their dates’ previous relationships. While this is a fairly standard conversation to take place at some point in relationships, it’s really not something that needs to be addressed on a first date, since both of you are clearly trying to make a fresh start.
“I once went on a date where the guy kept prying for more details about my ex,” says Hannah, a sophomore at New York University. “It was pretty uncomfortable—obviously, if I wanted to talk about him, I would!”
Bailey, a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University, agrees. “I know it’s obvious, but try to avoid talking about exes, even if they ask,” she says. “I was on a date and we started talking about nutrition. The guy asked me how I knew so much, and I admitted I learned it from my ex, who is a body builder. There was no second date, and that may or may not be the reason.”
Even if you and your ex are friends now, discussing your relationship with another guy will only lead to awkwardness on the first date. “Looking back, I realize it was a big mistake on my part,” Bailey says. “Long story short, it’s best to be vague.”
4. Overload on alcohol
While it’s nice to enjoy a beer or cocktail with dinner or on a night out if you’re of age, try to stay relatively sober on a first date. Aside from the fact that you may not know your date very well, getting drunk will also make your date more uncomfortable. First date jitters are normal and you want to maintain your discretion so you can figure out whether this person is worth seeing on a second date.
“Having dated a lot throughout college and now in NYC, I would say the best way to ruin a first date is to get too drunk,” says Shelby*, a class of 2012 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania.
“First dates can be extremely nerve-wracking, and that sometimes makes girls drink a little too quickly to quell their nerves. Also, a lot of the time girls think they are more outgoing and fun if they’ve had a few drinks,” Shelby says. “But if you get too drunk, you will likely say or do things you will regret, like telling the guy about all the other guys you’re dating or doing things sexually you might not have done otherwise on a first date.”
Shelby recommends staying at least one drink behind your date to maintain control of the situation, “Nerves are a good thing to have on a first date--that means you're into the guy and makes dating exciting.”
Now that you’ve heard our tips on dates gone wrong and how to avoid first date disasters, we want to hear from you! Have you ever had a first-date mishap? Let us know in the comments!
*Names have been changed.