I mean, is it EVER acceptable to leave someone on Read?
Dating can be a special type of shit show, especially today with texting and every type of dating app imaginable available to you.
So we spoke with the experts, Terri Orbuch, PhD in Social Psychology, creator of the online video course How To Find Love In 7 Days, Rachel Sussman, LCSW, licensed psychotherapist and author of The Breakup Bible, and Irina Firstein, LCSW, licensed relationship therapist based in NYC, to get to the bottom of what mistakes you may be making and how to fix them so that you can better navigate the bizarre, and sometimes incredibly infuriating, world of dating.
We’ve rounded up the most common dating mistakes, according to experts, and how to avoid (and correct!) them. See if any of them sound familiar!
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Social media/Google-stalking your date ahead of time.
Dating today, with the pre-first-date research you can do on the internet and with social media, can be really hard, Sussman tells BuzzFeed Health. “You’re getting all this information about someone before even meeting them and some of it is accurate and some of it isn’t.”
Look, we know you’re going to look people up ahead of time — and that’s perfectly reasonable because you don’t want to be catfished, or end up going out to dinner with some jerk who dumped your best friend a year before. But Sussman recommends refraining from doing the really deep research — like what their hobbies were in middle school — so that you can go into a date without any preconceived notions (that may or may not be true) about who the person is or what they're really like.
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Assuming that after a few dates, they’re not seeing anyone besides you.
If you’re in the early stages of dating someone, you should always assume that the person you’re dating is still seeing other people as well, Firstein says.
But if you’ve gone on three or four dates, and you’re pretty sure you both like each other, just be honest about your feelings. (Yes, it can be intimidating. But you can do it!) Firstein recommends saying something like, “Look, I really like you and I want to know what you’re looking for.” And if the other person responds saying they like you, too, then you can reply with something like, “I’d like to keep getting to know you, but exclusively, if you want that too” (if that’s what you want).
However, keep in mind, if you've been on what feels like a bunch of dates with someone, and they're still seeing other people, Firstein says that could mean that they aren't ready for something serious with you. Again, you won’t really know until you talk about it.
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Ghosting someone as a way of ending things.
Don’t ghost someone just because you don't want to hurt their feelings, Orbuch says.
If someone you’re no longer interested in reaches out to you, she recommends responding by saying something like, “It was lovely to meet you, but I’m sorry. I don’t think I felt that connection that I’m looking for and I don’t see a reason to go forward. I wish you lots of luck in the future.”
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Going on about exes really early on.
Look, just don't do it. Don't bring up if your ex cheated on you, if you're having legal woes or custody battles, or if you're still trying to get a box of stuff back from your ex’s apartment.
Orbuch says that when people talk about their ex at length, especially early in a dating situation, it could mean that they're not over them yet, which means that moving forward to a new partner could be tricky.
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Obsessing over whether someone texts you back and how long it takes them to do so.
“Keep yourself busy, enjoy your life, and don’t get hung up on whether or not someone texts you back or responds exactly when you want them to,” Sussman says. “If you’re counting the minutes that it took them to respond, you're only going to make yourself upset and potentially misread into someone's actions.”
That being said, if you’re dating someone, and they’re obviously not consistent with keeping in touch with you, Sussman thinks that’s a warning sign, and that you'll have to ask yourself whether you really want to go out with that person again.
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And taking lack of follow-up after just a couple dates too personally.
“It’s a good idea to develop a bit of a tough skin, so that you don't take rejection or lack of follow-up, from a person you’ve only met once or twice, too personally,” Firstein says.
Okay, let’s be honest. We’ve all been obsessed with why a person decided to cancel or didn't call back. But there are SO many potential reasons for those things, and someone not wanting to take a relationship further doesn’t necessarily mean something terrible about you. On to the next!
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Spilling your deepest, darkest secrets on date one.
The notion is that you want to get everything out on the table early, and then if they like you, you'll know if they like you, for you, right away. But “too much information” means different things to different people and it’s tough gauge where people are with sharing. So, keep in mind that sharing a ton up front, if you’re doing it with someone who’s like you, can mean great connection and more intimacy, but if they’re not on the same page, it could feel like too much too soon, or it can be a sign of a mismatch.
She recommends revealing things about yourself gradually over time. Think about it as a book, and you're reading someone one chapter per date. You deserve to share your life and past with someone who's ready to listen and connect with you.
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Revealing major insecurities through self-deprecating humor during early dates.
Some people are really into self-deprecating humor (myself included), and that’s totally okay.
“It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself,” Orbuch says. “It can show that you’re down-to-earth and comfortable with yourself. But sometimes, self-deprecation can indicate a deep lack of self-esteem and confidence, which can make people uncomfortable and end up being a big turnoff.”
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Thinking there has to be ~intimacy~on the first few dates in order for them to be considered a success.
“I don’t think that kissing or hooking up on the first few dates is the only way to know if a person is truly interested you or not,” Orbuch says. “If you do, that’s great. But if you don’t, that’s great too. Someone’s body language is definitely more indicative of their emotions and feelings.”
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Looking down on online dating.
“I hear so many people say 'I want to meet someone organically,' or 'there’s only creeps online, so it’s not going to work out for me,'” Firstein says. “But most people these days ARE on online dating apps, and thousands of people meet online every day and eventually get married.”
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Or only meeting people online and not being open to meeting people elsewhere.
But Sussman says it's a mistake to only date online and be closed off to meeting someone elsewhere.
“I believe you have to push yourself to go out and be willing to meet someone in person too,” she explains. “Don't let online dating stop you from being social, going out with friends, and being open to who your loved ones think could be good matches. You never know when/where you could meet someone you really like.”
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Going into dates with a checklist of things a person needs to meet, in order to make you happy.
It’s okay to have criteria that you’re looking for, like someone who's kind, and empathetic. But deciding whether to see someone based on their height, college they went to, car they drive, how much they weigh, and what type of fashion style they have, could be restricting your potential matches, so much, that you're never even giving potentially awesome people, who don't check every single box, a chance, Firstein says.
“Checklist dating is only going to hold you back from getting to know someone and making a deeper connection with them,” she explains. “Try to go into every date with an open mind, and pay attention to the person's values, like family, religion or spirituality, sense of humor, trustworthiness, etc.”
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Getting pessimistic when a date doesn’t go well.
“Sometimes when people have a couple of bad dates they’ll make comments like, 'dating in New York City sucks', or 'dating sucks and I’m never going to meet anyone and be single forever,'” Sussman says. “It really blows the bad dates out of proportion and creates a jaded attitude.”
Of course we all get frustrated when a date (or string of dates), that you took time and effort to coordinate, doesn’t end well — and that’s a totally normal and healthy way to react. But try not to let yourself spiral, focusing all your time and energy on losing hope and being convinced you’ll be single forever.
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Or, immediately thinking you’re going to marry the person, if things do go well.
“If a date goes well, some people will assume that the person is perfect and they’re going to marry them,” Sussman says. “They get so excited about the prospect of that person, that if they don’t hear from them again, they're completely devastated over someone they've only hung out with a few times.”
Her advice is to, just like searching for a job, go into dates with an open mind — thinking that you'll probably never see this person again, but if you do, then that's great. Because even if a date goes well, there's still a chance you may never hear from them again, she says.
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Ignoring and making excuses for red flags.
“It’s okay to bring things up that concern you, like a date showing up a little late, or a date ordering a dish for you,” Sussman says. “But blatant red flags, like if your date is getting smashed on mixed drinks or consistently talking about his/her ex all the time, mean you should probably run.”
For example, sometimes it can be meaningful when someone takes a little while to respond, because it shows that they’re putting a lot of care and effort into their response. But if someone consistently isn't making communication a priority, that's a big warning sign that they aren't interested, Firstein explains. Don't make excuses for your date, like they're busy, or may not have seen your messages. It's probably time to move on.
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Only communicating through texts or DMs.
Everyone today communicates through messaging which, Orbuch says, might make it tough to get to know someone. People make assumptions (which may or may not be accurate) about their dates because of how they read into a message. Things are easily misconstrued through texts, since it’s not easy to know the tone of what someone is saying, she explains.
Orbuch suggests trying not to pass judgement on someone based on an assumption made in part because of a DM or text they’ve sent. She also recommends making sure you communicate through a variety of ways such as phone chats, texts, social media, and talking IRL.
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Getting drunk during a date.
“Alcohol is a part of dating but you have to watch yourself,” Sussman says. “You have to keep your wits about you when deciding if this is someone that you’d want to spend more time with or not, and you can't manage that if you're drunk.”
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Not keeping first dates casual, fun, and in a neutral, public spot.
Orbuch says the first few dates should be at a neutral, public spot like a coffee shop or a wine bar. She thinks it's best if the date is casual, not too expensive, and is short and sweet, probably lasting no longer than two hours.
She also recommends that you stay away from movies or loud concerts on the first three dates because they won't give you the chance to talk and get to know each other better, which is what the first few dates are for.
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And not putting any thought or creativity into second and third dates.
“Sometimes a second date can be used to a get to know the person again, and could be a little shorter, like the first,” Orbuch says. “But if you know you like the person, this is where creativity should come in.”
She says that if you're interested, you want to set the second and third dates apart from all the other second and third dates the person has had. Maybe that means going to a cool restaurant, a book signing, a fun cooking class, etc. Orbuch recommends remembering something your date has previously talked about, and making it happen.
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Being quick to judge someone you’re unsure about, and not giving someone at least two to three dates.
Think about it. How do you feel after a long day at work? Sussman says you should always take that into account during the first few dates.
“I’ve heard so many stories about someone showing up to a first date off their ~A-game~ because they had a long day at work or they got very little sleep the night before,” Sussman says. “Then someone gives them a second date and it’s so much better. I know two married couples who have told me this story.”
However, if you’ve given someone two to three dates, and you just really don’t see it going anywhere, then you should just be honest and say that you're sorry, but you don't feel a deep enough connection, she says.
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Spending way more time talking than you do listening.
Remember, to genuinely pay attention to what your date has to say, Orbuch instructs. “Most people love to be asked about themselves,” she says. “People make the mistake of thinking that they need to talk the entire time in order to sell themselves. When really, dates will appreciate you more if you show interest in who they are and what they enjoy.”
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Playing the waiting game and not being honest about how you feel.
You should always tell someone if you had a good time; people appreciate honesty and confidence, Orbuch says.
She also says that gender should never determine who should text or follow up first, and that if you have a good time you should be upfront and just say it. If you're too nervous to mention it at the end of a date, then wait until you get home, or the next morning, to send a nice text saying you enjoyed your time and ask to meet again. You don't want to miss out on amazing opportunities because you're trying to play it cool.
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Expecting to meet someone you hit it off with right away.
“It's a HUGE mistake to expect to meet someone you're in love with as soon as you start dating,” Firstein says. “It takes time to sift through a lot of people and experiences before you learn how to date and find a relationship that works for you.”
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YOU GOT THIS!
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