We asked 13 men to tell us their ultimate first date turn-off

‘A date once refused to let me order cheese after my meal, telling me I didn’t need it because I’d already had three courses'

‘A date once refused to let me order cheese after my meal, telling me I didn’t need it because I’d already had three courses'

First dates are a lot like job interviews - they're all about first impressions. Everything you say and do will reflect on who you are to your prospective partner, and if you want a second date there are a few moves you should probably avoid.

What do members of the opposite sex find most off-putting on a first date? We asked 13 men to tell us.

1. Being late or cancelling too much… ‘I understand cancelling once - maybe you had an emergency, maybe you were ill – but changing or cancelling our plans multiple times just makes you seem uninterested. When we finally get around to meeting, I will most likely be annoyed and/or embarrassed: two things that will instantly put me off.’

2. Judging me on my order... ‘A date once refused to let me order cheese after my meal, telling me I didn’t need it because I’d already had three courses. I’m in really good shape but I was so embarrassed. I just got a coffee in the end but I didn’t want to meet up with her again. I would never judge a date on what she orders so I expect the same in return.'

3. Being on your phone/ having your phone on the table… ‘Being on your phone during a date is just rude. I hate having to repeat myself continuously because my date is distracted by a Facebook notification or an incoming WhatsApp message. Just check it afterwards.’

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4. Oversharing about your love life… ‘One date spent half of our meal explaining how she was “unlucky in love” and that she didn’t know where she was going wrong. I didn’t have the heart to tell her but that is where she was going wrong. Bringing up an ex is a bad move too – sometimes it’s inevitable but keep the details to a minimum – I don’t want or need to hear about your Greek cruise together in 2010.'

5. Coming across too harsh or awkward… ‘I was dating a girl who had a very cutting sense of humour, but to the point where it just made everything a bit awkward. After everything I said she would raise her eyebrows and shoot me a sarcastic put down. I know it was all in good fun and that she was a really nice girl but it made me dread seeing her.’

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6. Taking really long bathroom breaks… ‘Someone once took five bathroom breaks on a dinner date with me. I thought she had a bladder problem or just didn't like me - it turns out she was doing her make up. Why would someone need to do their make up that often? It’s almost more off-putting than having a bladder infection or not liking me. Also "subtly" going to the toilet right before the bill comes along is not a cool move, and a very obvious one.’

7. Being too controlling… ‘One date kept correcting my grammar and told me several times that I was holding my cutlery wrong. That kind of thing is annoying six months into a relationship so on a first date it’s just a no-go.’

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8. Taking a selfie together… ‘A girl once asked me on our first (and last) date to take a selfie with her so she could send it to her mum to let her know how the date was going. I obliged but it freaked me out.’

9. Taking my food without asking... 'I can’t explain why I don’t like people taking food off my plate, and if it’s my girlfriend I will make an exception, but on a first date just ask or wait for me to offer, don’t go grabbing my food without saying anything.'

10. Complaining or sending your food back… ‘A date once sent her food back for the stupidest reason and it was mortifying. As someone who funded university life as a waiter, I found her whole attitude towards the staff there offensive and it made it clear that she wasn’t girlfriend material for me.’

11. Wearing too much perfume… ‘Smelling nice is great but too much perfume can be overpowering. I don’t want to feel like I’m dating a scented candle and if I’m getting a head rush from just standing near you, it’s not a good sign.’

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12. Playing dumb… ‘This is a dating turn off at any stage, but at least when you’re in a relationship your partner will know that you’re actually a lot brighter than you’re letting on. On a first date all you have is a first impression so I won't think that it's cute, I will actually think that you’re stupid.’

13. Not having enough money to be on the date… ‘I went on a date with a really scatty girl. When we split the bill, her card got declined and she had to admit to me that she didn’t have enough money to go on the date in the first place and then asked me to pay. I didn’t mind paying at all but it was just made into such a big drama and she was so all over the place that I didn’t want to see her again. I just couldn’t deal with the hassle.’

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.