First dates can be a lot like dentist appointments: They seem like a good idea when you are making them, but when the time actually comes, you find yourself thinking of a dozen and one ways to get out of them.
This is mostly because first dates can just be so incredibly awkward.
Chances are you barely know the person you are having a first date with, and that means you are both trying to impress each other. But there is a fine line between being on your best behavior and trying to pretend that you're someone you are not.
Many times, the harder you work at dazzling your date, the greater the likelihood that you will completely blow your chances of ever seeing them again.
Here's a look at five first date mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
No. 5: Trying too hard
Trying too hard is one of the worst things you can do on a first date.
It either makes you come across as insecure and awkward, or cocky and obnoxious. And none of these are qualities that are going to have people lining up around the block to go out with you.
It may sound cliched, but just being yourself is the best way to impress. That is, of course, your "better" self. Leave the side of you that picks your nose and sings off-key to Justin Timberlake songs at home.
At the same time, try not to brag, exaggerate, lie or pretend to be someone you're not. Telling your date you're a marine biologist when you're unemployed and living with your parents will only end up in disaster.
Just ask George Costanza. And while you're at it, ask yourself this next question...
No. 4: Assuming too much
Every first date has a point, a goal.
Either you are looking for just a casual good time, or you are hoping the first date will evolve into a second and a third and maybe even a lifetime. One of the quickest ways to blow a first date is to assume that your date is on the same page that you are.
Making sexual overtures to someone who is hoping for a long-term courtship is likely to go over about as well as a 300-pound pole vaulter. In fact, as a general rule, sex should not be a first-date topic, even if it is your ultimate goal.
Talking about sex with a virtual stranger tends to reek of desperation. Of course, that's better than reeking of B.O., but neither are likely to win you any points.
And neither is our next big mistake ...
No. 3: Unpacking your baggage
Everybody has some baggage in his or her past: bad relationships, family turmoil, maybe even some run-ins with the law.
But these are not things you want to plop down on the table the very first time you are on a date with someone. Yes, you want to get to know each other. And yes, you want to be honest about who you are. But too much too soon is going to freak your date out.
Navigating these waters can be tricky if your date keeps asking you questions about your past. But you don't have to lie to avoid making your conversation a virtual garbage dump. You merely need to create an air of mystery by letting your date know that if she wants to find out your deep, dark secrets, she'll will have to go on a few more dates with you.
This will intrigue her instead of sending her running for the door.
And speaking of running for the door ...
No. 2: Having bad hygiene/manners
Nothing turns a potential mate off more than someone who is smelly, unkempt or uncouth.
Showing up for your date fresh out of a session at the gym with no shower is likely to get you the boot before the date even gets off the ground. Forgetting to iron your clothes or comb your hair is not very impressive, either; it sends your date the signal that you really don't care enough about her to bother.
And while you don't have to be a protege of Miss Manners to make a good impression on your date, you don't exactly want to take your cues from Larry the Cable Guy either.
Chewing with your mouth open at dinner or passing gas during a movie are sure ways to guarantee that there is no second date in your future.
And here is one more ...
No. 1: Bringing a sidekick
You may think that it is common sense that when you are going on a date, it is just going to be the two of you.
But you would be surprised at how many people decide to bring their best friend, their brother or their child along on the date with them. Usually there is some last-minute excuse as to why "two's company" has suddenly turned into "three's a crowd."
The friend just showed up and had nowhere to go; the babysitter fell through; we are Siamese twins. OK, the last one is a valid excuse.
But no matter how nervous you are about being alone with this person, bringing a sidekick is only going to make matters worse. If you're worried about your safety, simply meet in a public place.
And just remember, even Batman doesn't bring Robin everywhere he goes.