Dating can be unpredictable. It's not unlike selling a car: You wonder whether the person you're going out with is kicking the tires with serious interest or whether they're just taking a test drive for the fun of it, with no intention of pursuing a relationship with you. But you're not just the seller -- you're the buyer. So you want to determine as soon as possible whether your date is worth any more of your time. If you spot any of these five signs, there probably isn't a love connection.
The Sound of Silence
Communication is the key to healthy personal relationships but, as with many things in life, there has to be a balance. A date who's a blabbermouth can spoil an evening. It's no fun when the person talks so much that you can't get a word in edgewise. Make a serious note when that guy or girl talks specifically about himself or herself all the time -- positively or negatively. And if he or she keeps bringing up a past relationship -- Blah, blah, blah! -- then you'll really want to think hard about going out with the person again.
The polar opposite -- when your date doesn't talk enough -- is also uncomfortable. An articulated pause is one thing but extended periods of silence are downright awkward. Distractions like texting, talking on the phone or taking long bathroom breaks are dead giveaways that the two of you aren't clicking.
But it's not just the quantity but the quality of the conversation that's important. See what we mean on the next page.
What's your problem?
Unless you're a glutton for punishment, you probably don't want to pursue a relationship with someone who offers up excessive criticism during your date. Perhaps he looks at you from head to toe then smirks, or she sarcastically questions your mannerisms, mode of transportation, where you live or why your parents gave you your particular name. If he's rude to the wait staff and constantly complains about the food, he may have underlying issues you don't want to be bothered with. You'll also want to make a mental note if your date derides other people's features, clothing, cars or lifestyles. Do you really want to hang out with a person who enjoys putting others down?
The temperature on your date is also an important consideration.
Some Like it Hot
It's important to monitor the temperature on your date - and we're not talking about the room temperature. If your date gives you the cold shoulder (as in not wanting to hold hands) it's probably a hint. The same applies if your potential sweetie rejects a modest peck on the cheek. The other extreme can also signal trouble. Let's say your date keeps talking about sex or can't seem to keep his or her hands off you, although you hardly know each other. This overwhelming affection may have more to do with your date's high libido than your irresistibility. If you're into one-night stands then you're probably on track to get lucky. Otherwise, rushing into intimacy can doom the chances of a long-term relationship.
Does it seem like your date went by awfully fast? It could mean you had a great time or…
Look at the Time!
If your date ends early with an unusual excuse like, "I have to feed my hamster," don't scratch your head trying to figure it out. Consider it a learning experience and write it off as a date that didn't work out. Also be suspicious if your date gets an urgent call from the office, the babysitter or a friend in distress, requiring him or her to exit stage left. A classic way to dip out of a disaster date is to feign sickness. If your date turns down your offer to take him or her to the emergency room or to make sure he or she gets home safely, don't sweat it. Wish him or her well but don't expect to hear from that person again.
Information travels fast these days -- sometimes too fast. Use the information on the next page to your advantage…
Word Gets Around
Don't be surprised to hear about your date on social networking Web sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Although some people are private and wouldn't think of posting about their personal lives on the Internet, others have no qualms about divulging potentially embarrassing information online. Remember that dead silence we mentioned earlier? Not to be paranoid, but the texting your date was doing may have been real-time updates to his or her Facebook page telling everyone you're the date from hell. That's not just a sign -- it's a beacon declaring the relationship has ended before its begun. But even a flattering post could jeopardize your privacy. You have to consider whether you want to date a person who doesn't respect your comfort zone.
Relationships can be tricky. Click over to the next page to learn more about the dating scene.
HowStuffWorks looks a study which showed 'aspirational online dating' didn't pan out for most people.
- Barrie, Leslie. "Top 10 Signs You're On a Bad Date." Savvy Miss. (Sept. 22, 2010.)http://www.savvymiss.com/love-advice/dating-advice-dating-tips-single-life/in-his-head-archive/article/you-know-the-dates-gone-south-when-4558.html
- Carver, Joseph, Ph.D., "Warning Signs That You're Dating A Loser." Feb. 3, 2009. (Sept. 22, 2010).http://mental-health-matters.com/relationships/171-warning-signs-that-youre-dating-a-loser
- Croft, Shawn. "Top 10 Sings You're Bombing On A Date." Askmen.com. (Sept. 22, 2010.)http://www.askmen.com/top_10/dating/34_dating_list.html