Rude comments. Constantly texting. A sympathetic that didn’t go well aside from the bartender after you’ve said goodbye. There are plenty of red flags that make it super clear you’ll never see the other person again. But what about when someone ghosts you after making out, saying, “Let’s do it again soon,” or following you on Instagram? You didn’t see that coming… or did you?
Turns out, it may have been obvious a second date just wasn’t in the cards from the moment the first glass of wine was poured. Of course, there are exceptions, and plenty of second dates and lifelong connections have happened even when one of these instances occurred. But the point is, clueing into these little responses can help you move on and find someone you do click with sooner than later. Relationship experts are quick to point out none of these behaviors are your fault—they’re simply a sign that you both aren’t on the same wavelength, and that’s okay! Here are 17 first date warnings to look out for:
1. The date consists of barhopping
You think you’re having an awesome time—in fact, you’ve hit five different watering holes and closed down the bar in the wee hours. So why haven’t you gotten a “let’s do it again” text? The answer: The date may have been too much fun. “Usually when people go on a first date and have a wild night, they might think that it was fun, but not long-term,” explains Susan Trombetti, a relationship expert and founder of Exclusive Matchmaking.
2. They (or you) end the night early
While an early morning excuse may indeed be legit, when a person is really into you, they’ll prioritize spending as much time as possible with you during an evening, shares Lori Salkin, senior matchmaker and dating coach of matchmaking site SawYouAtSinai. If they suggest wrapping it up after one drink or refuse dessert or a cappuccino, it’s likely a sign they haven’t felt sparks.
3. They’re cagey about connecting on social media
You ask for their Instagram handle and they deflect the question, and the Twitter follow is unreciprocated. “If someone is into you, they’ll be excited to find a way to connect and make sure you can chat again,” says Trombetti.
4. They’re vague on when you’ll hang out again
Think the second date is a done deal because you’ve talked about “maybe” seeing a museum exhibit or checking out a restaurant? Not so fast. “If a date doesn’t come up with a specific plan, or at least mention that they’ll check in to see what your weekend is looking like, chances are it’s more of an abstract idea,” says Trombetti. The second date may happen, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t.
5. They invite the bartender into your convo
You may think you’re just bantering, but if your date seems eager to ask the bartender’s opinion on a topic or starts chatting about the specifics of the menu, it may be a sign your date just isn’t feeling it. “In general, when someone is really into someone else, they have a subconscious urge to protect that bond—they don’t want anyone else potentially taking away the attention of the date,” notes Lisa Ronis, a matchmaker and founder of Lisa Ronis Matchmaking. “But if your date seems to initiate conversations with other people, and it doesn’t matter if those people are men or women, it may be that they just see you as more friend material.” And the flip side is true as well: If you find yourself debating the merits of different whiskeys with your bartender instead of your date, it’s a sign to yourself that it’s just not the best connection.
6. They don’t ask you personal questions
You talked for hours, but if you never touched on how many siblings you had or where your family is based, it’s a good sign that the date never moved past the superficial. “When someone likes you, they want to know everything about you,” says Trombetti.
7. You talk work stuff
Of course, it’s natural that you’re going to chat about the place where you spend the majority of your time. But talking details about projects and coworkers may be bad news. “I tell people all the time to keep the conversation off work and on topics like hobbies, dream vacation spots… anything that shows personality. When you talk too much business, it’s easy to mentally shuffle that person into a work friend box rather than a romantic intrigue box,” shares Trombetti. In other words, if you want to keep chemistry hot, resist the urge to utter deliverables or conference call.
8. They keep their stuff “boxed in” by their arms
Here’s an easy way to suss out your date’s moods in seconds: Where is their phone located? If it’s close to you, that’s a good sign. But if it’s surrounded by their arms, forming a “box,” or is located on the opposite side of where you’re sitting, it’s a subconscious sign they don’t trust you, says Ronis.
9. You commiserate about bad dates
You may think you’re connecting, but, in general, negativity—even if it feels cathartic and bonding in the moment—can cloud the connection. Keep the convo light, positive and stick to a simple “it didn’t work out” when talking about the past.
10. They don’t walk you to your car or wait for your Uber
“If you find yourself standing in front of the restaurant after the meal and the guy looks at you, says bye and just turns and walks off, he is probably not interested in going out again,” says Salkin. “If he is interested in you, he will put the effort in to impress you and show off his manners”
11. Body contact is minimal during your goodbye
Plenty of people don’t go in for a kiss at the end of a first date for plenty of reasons, but a goodbye hug should be embrace-like, with multiple body contact points. A short hug where your bodies barely touch is a sign that chemistry was lacking, notes Trombetti.
12. They split the check
Here’s one that’s tricky and changing all the time: Some people accept the offer to split the check because they think it would be rude not to, but most dating experts skew traditional and believe that agreeing to go dutch is a sign that there may not be a second date. Here’s a subtle way to tell that taking up your offer is a financial decision, and nothing more: He’ll split the check, but suggest another stop, where he’ll pick up the tab.
13. They don’t accept an offer to try your drink or meal (or you don’t want to share)
Offering each other a taste of something is an intimate move that says they want to be close to you. While someone may just be a germaphobe or a picky eater, if they balk at the idea of trying your risotto or you find yourself demurring when they offer you a taste of their Moscow Mule, it’s a good sign that subconsciously, neither of you are interested in getting closer.
14. They (or you!) drop the word “busy” a lot
Sure, you’ve both got a ton going on, but experts agree that “busy” can be a gentle way of saying that you’re not going to see each other again. “When someone isn’t interested, they’ll talk about how busy they are as a way to lay the groundwork to excuse themselves for not contacting someone again,” says Trombetti. And it’s partly subconscious — if you truly want to see someone again, you’ll rearrange your schedule to make it work, so if that option isn’t on your radar, it’s a sign it’s not working.
15. They ask pointed questions about your profile photo
Wow, you’re a lot blonder than your profile photo! Was that picture taken this summer? You may think those queries show attention to detail, but experts say that these are subtle hints that you may not have given as accurate a portrayal of yourself on a dating site than you thought you did. On the flip side, if you have to squint to see the connection between the person across from you and their profile picture, it’s likely a sign that they’re not happy with who they are right now, and it’s not going to work long-term.
16. You check your phone as soon as they hit the restroom
Sometimes, you can get so swept up in a first date that you want them to ask for a second simply because you don’t want to feel like you were rejected. So do a gut check when they hit the rest room. Is your urge to catch up on Instagram? Probably a sign you’re just not into it. “If you’re really into it, you don’t want to break that moment by checking in with your ‘real’ life,” says Trombetti.
17. At the end of the night, you just feel eh
Of course, it’s not just all about how your date acted. If you feel eh, or feel more like you’re saying yes to a second date more to avoid hurt feelings than engage in back and forth banter, it’s important to acknowledge that.
Date Night Live airs Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c on Lifetime.