Going on a first date is an exciting, nerve-wreaking experience. However, it’s easy to get caught up in your nervousness that you don’t think to watch for red flags. You likely have a few you notice immediately (like a self-absorbed person). But what about the less obvious things that reveal a toxic person?

Going on a date indicates that you hope to develop a healthy relationship. When things don’t work out, it’s disappointing because it feels like a waste of time. If you see the red flags immediately, you’ll save yourself from spending more time with someone incompatible with you.

Sometimes it’s tempting to ignore red flags because you want things to work out. However, determining early on that someone isn’t the one for you creates space and leaves you open to the right person. It’s not a waste of time when each unsuccessful date gets you one step closer to a good one.

You don’t want to ignore these red flags because they indicate deeper underlying issues. If the person is willing to behave this way on a first date, imagine what’s to come. There’s no reason to continue getting to know them when you can already see the problems.

First Date Warning Signs

You can’t always identify every red flag on a first date, but these are a helpful place to start. They’ll help you weed out a self-absorbed person who doesn’t fit well with your mindset and lifestyle. You deserve to date someone great for you, so don’t settle by ignoring these signs.

first date

1. They Talk Badly About Others and Treat People Rudely

When someone talks badly about others the first time they meet you, it’s not a good sign. You don’t want to spend time with someone who comfortably talks about people behind their backs.

They might say things that indicate something is wrong with everyone in their life, giving insight into how they handle relationships. It shows they have a problem with many people, and it can’t always be everyone else’s fault.

You also might notice that they are rude to others, complaining about the service or not wanting to leave a tip. They’ll be condescending toward the wait staff, leaving you feeling embarrassed to be with them. Talking about others and being rude are signs of narcissism, and it’s best to pass on a second date.

2. They Only Talk About Themselves

It’s not a good sign if your date talks about themselves the entire time. If your date doesn’t ask questions or allow you to share anything about yourself, it’s clear they don’t care. You can’t build an emotional connection if you can’t speak or don’t feel heard.

Another sign that they only want to talk about themselves is that they make your stories about themselves. They might let you finish only to flip it back to themselves without much response. These people are so self-absorbed that they don’t even realize they are being rude.

3. They Disrespect Boundaries

If your date disrespects boundaries on your first date, it’ll be even worse later. Watch how they respond when something doesn’t go their way or when they realize you prefer something different. These behaviors show how they respect or violate boundaries.

Some things to watch for regarding boundaries include:

  • ordering you a drink when you said you don’t want one
  • pressuring you to stay longer when you say you have to go
  • touching or kissing you after you say you’re not comfortable
  • becoming defensive, angry, or making you feel guilty when they don’t get what they want
  • disregarding your concern for safety by saying you’re overreacting

4. A Self-Absorbed Person Won’t Put Down Their Phone

There’s nothing wrong with checking your phone occasionally for urgent calls, but doing it constantly is rude. It’s a distraction and shows that they don’t consider your feelings. This behavior also indicates that they aren’t fully present and that behavior is unlikely to change. Your date should be able to give you attention for a few hours.

5. They Move too Fast

A first date is your first chance to get to know each other. If they treat you like you’re the love of their life during the first date, it’s a sign of love bombing. They want to draw you in quickly, hoping you’ll overlook their other red flags.

It’s too soon to discuss the future, even if the date goes well. It might sound sweet, but you shouldn’t be planning trips together or making big decisions. Now, if they mention an upcoming event and formally invite you to go, that’s a good sign. Planning a vacation out of state or asking you to a wedding six months down the road is moving too fast.

It’s also bad if they hint at having sex during or after the first date. Your date doesn’t know your comfort level yet, and a respectful person won’t do it.

6. They Get Weird When You Ask Questions

If you ask your date a reasonable question, they shouldn’t get weird about it. Your date might answer indirectly, and some people will even try to make you feel bad for asking. Sometimes a self-absorbed person does not listen well. As a result, they might respond in a judgmental way like you didn’t have a right to ask.

You’re supposed to get to know one another on a first date, so they should be willing to reveal something. If they won’t, it could be that your date only wants to manipulate you. It’s also a red flag if they have no opinion on anything you say or do. Your date should have input, or it indicates low self-confidence.

7. They Call Their Ex Crazy

Talking about an ex on a first date is never a good idea. However, if it comes up and your date calls an ex crazy, it’s not a good sign. Other negative comments about their ex are a red flag, too. It shows that they don’t take responsibility for their actions.


What to Do if Your First Date Isn’t Going Well

If you go on a first date with someone and it doesn’t go well, you’ll want out as quickly as possible. Abruptly leaving the date might be rude unless the other person did something drastic.

However, your comfort is more important than being polite, so finding the least rude way to end the date is essential. If you want to see it through to the end of the date and feel safe doing so, you can try some tactics for improving it. Even if you choose to stay, remember all the red flags of a self-absorbed person before setting up a second date.

1. Do You Feel Safe on This First Date?

It’s essential to start by considering whether you’re unsafe when you realize you’re on an unsuccessful date. If you feel unsafe, don’t ignore the feeling because you can never be too careful. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and call someone, or approach an employee privately to ask them for help. If you are at a restaurant, a woman can order an angel shot. Conversely, a male can order a “Johnny Depp.”

2. Be Honest

Making excuses will worsen the situation and make it more uncomfortable. They’ll likely know you’re lying anyway, so be honest about why you’re leaving. Telling the truth doesn’t mean you must be brutal. Instead, in a clear, gentle way, say that you’re ready to go.

You don’t owe them an explanation, but feel free to tell them your reasons if you’re comfortable. Maybe it’ll help them improve their self-absorbed behavior in the future. You can tell them that you’re not feeling a romantic connection, or you can be specific about your issues.

Once you say you want to leave, you have options for how to handle it from there. Say as much or as little as you want, but don’t get caught up in a lie.

3. Say, “Thank you for meeting me here, but I’m ready to get going.”

Even if the date didn’t go well, thank them for taking the time to go on a date. It’s a direct way of saying that the date didn’t go well and didn’t leave space for much discussion. This phrase is polite but gets to the point.

4. Shift the Topic

If you’re comfortable riding it out until the end, shift the topic of conversation. Finding mutually interesting topics might take effort, but it’s better than the alternative. If nothing else works, ask them about happy moments in your life because they’ll love to talk about them.

5. View a Bad First Date as an Opportunity

When you’re on an unsuccessful date, you can use it as an opportunity to practice dating skills. You know you don’t want to see them again, have some fun because there’s no fear of failure. Ask the weird questions that come to mind, do karaoke, or tell funny stories you wouldn’t otherwise.

Maybe it’ll go over well, and you’ll feel comfortable using it on a better date. Otherwise, you’ll have had fun and made it worth your while.

6. Don’t Order a Second Drink

This suggestion is a good one if you want to leave early. You might feel like having a second drink to ease your nerves, but it signals that you’re having a good time and want to stay. It’s also helpful to pay for your drink because it indicates you don’t want to see them again.

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Final Thoughts on First Date Warning Signs of a Toxic or Self-Absorbed Person Never to Ignore

Dating isn’t always easy, but it’ll pay off if you remember what you deserve. A first date is a perfect time to watch for these red flags of a toxic or self-absorbed person. That way, you don’t waste more of your time. Plus, ending it after the first date prevents you from developing feelings and getting hurt.

While bad dates aren’t an enjoyable experience, you can make the most of them. If you want to leave early, that’s fine too. You deserve the best so do what you think is right in each situation.

Perfect first dates don’t exist, but some are worse than others. Don’t let bad dates stop you from trying again because you never know when you’ll find the one. Just take it easy, have fun, and always remember your self-worth.