Does Something Seem Off on the First Date? Identifying Red Flags

A woman smiles at her dinner companion but looks for red flags while dating him

Nine red flags to watch for on the first date

Key takeaways:

  • Small issues at the beginning can translate to bigger issues down the road

  • Watch for red flags on the first date

  • Get to know yourself through therapy and reflection before dating

  • Watch out for people who participate in drama or repeatedly blame others for their problems

  • Avoid liars

  • Beware of people with significantly different sex drives or who are unkind during sex

  • Love bombing and rushing in may seem like love but they signify unhealthy patterns

When dating, we often come across people that appear to meet our needs and desires. They may be financially comfortable, look attractive, and share interests with us. Before committing to a relationship or even a second date, though, we have to consider what's under the surface.

You can learn a lot about a prospective partner on the first date but in addition to getting to know each other, you need to look for “red flags” (signs of problematic or possibly even abusive behavior). Red flags often seem like small issues at first but over time, they can become significant.

Many people overlook red flags while dating because they are used to certain types of behavior. They may only know unkind or abusive patterns from their childhood or previous relationships. They may see themselves as a hero/healer and fantasize that they can change a partner's problematic behaviors. Or they may simply not notice the extent of their partner's issues until they are intimately intertangled.

You become more effective at spotting red flags and choosing better intimate partners when you know yourself better – an accomplishment that many accomplish through therapy. This guide provides relationship coaching by going over nine red flags to watch out for on first dates.

1. Drama, drama, drama

People who are irresponsible and immature tend to have a lot of drama and crises in their lives. They struggle to maintain friendships, keep jobs, or make plans for the future. They spend a lot of their time and energy dealing with dilemmas in their everyday life and ultimately, this will translate to a lack of time and support for you.