Pet peeves are rarely universal: what is totally fine to one person might be abhorrent to another. The trouble is, on first dates, you never know what exactly might bother the other person, so it’s important to play it safe. (In other words, do your best to hide all your maybe-gross habits until at least the third date.)

And none of these things, on their own, are huge deals. But on first dates, before the other person necessarily knows all your awesome qualities, bad habits can sometimes get undue weight.

From polling friends (and adding a few of my own), here are 10 habits it’s probably best to avoid while on a first date.


Licking Your Fingers

I don’t care if you’re eating chicken wings in a barn, loudly licking your fingers (and then reaching that same hand back into a communal bowl!) is Life is not a Carl’s Junior commercial!


Cellphone Dependency

Not being able to put your cellphone down for more than 5 minutes at a time is a huge turn-off, especially when you’re supposed to be getting to know someone.



If it’s a genuine, uncontrollable bodily function, then just say “excuse me.” But if it’s at all forced or prolonged, save it for a few months in?


Picking Your Teeth

If you wouldn’t do it in front of the President, don’t do it in front of your date.


Cracking Your Fingers/Neck/etc.

You’re either not the type of person who is driven insane by the sound of knuckle cracking, or you are. Assume that your date is.


Asking a Question, and Not Listening to the Answer

“So, where’d you go to college?”, followed by burying their face in the menu, checking their cell, or wildly looking around the room for the waitress.


Tipping Poorly

If you’re paying for some or all of the bill, you can bet the other person will notice how much tip you leave.Coming off as cheap or ungenerous is not attractive.


Cleaning Your Nails

Once I was at an (admittedly casual) restaurant with a guy, and he took a toothpick and started cleaning his nails. I died a thousand deaths, and am now writing this post as a ghost to warn future daters against doing the same.


Grabbing Food Without Asking

Look, you can probably have a fry. Just ask first.


Saying It and Spraying It

Maybe spit is hard to control, but, like….try.

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