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As a dating expert, these are the 5 things I'd never do on a first date

Using your phone? Showing up fashionably late? Dating coach Erika Ettin weighs in on these dating faux pas.

We've all been there. We get dressed up in our best attire and spend hours getting ready to impress someone who we think may be the one. But after we kiss our date goodbye, we happily wait for them to text back the next day, only to realize that we've been ghosted.

Well, Erika Ettin, dating expert and founder of A Little Nudge, has heard this all before. Although she says it's best to act like yourself on the first date, it's also good to adhere to a few rules to avoid turning your date off completely — and ultimately, help you on your way to finding true love.

That said, here are the five things Ettin says you shouldn't do on a first date.

Don't take out your phone

Yes, we all have busy lives and feel the need to check our phones every time a notification pops up. But that doesn't mean that we should be rude on a first date and keep our phones within view.

In fact, Ettin says that it's always best to leave your phone in your pocket if you're meeting someone new. That way, they'll know that they have your undivided attention.

"I want people to be as present as possible on the date, and in order to do that, you have to put the phone away. I might even turn it on 'Do Not Disturb,'" she tells

However, Ettin understands that sometimes people might be waiting for an important phone call, especially if they have kids. If that's the case, then tell your date what's going on so they know what to expect. "Just tell your date, 'Hey, I'm expecting a call. Would you mind if I have my phone out,'" she advises.

The same rule applies to smartwatches or other devices that may distract you during a first date.

Don't map out your future together

It's easy to get carried away on a first date — especially when sparks are flying. Even though you might feel the need to tell your date all about the life you envision together, Ettin says you should focus on the present moment.

“The whole point of the first date is to get to know who this person is today," she says. "It’s not to plan your life together. It’s not to decide if this person is your person, the one, or whatever you want to call it. It’s just to see if you have a good rapport with that person."

As hard as it may be, try to not get too carried away. "I always say, I don’t care if you leave that first date having learned nothing about the other person other than that you smiled, you laughed, you felt good, you had a good time and you want to see them again," Ettin adds.

If you want to bring up the future, hone in what they want — dream jobs, destinations on their bucket list and so on.
If you want to bring up the future, hone in what they want — dream jobs, destinations on their bucket list and so on.Westend61 / Getty Images

Don't talk about your exes

Sometimes, you're just in need of a quick rebound after heartbreak — but Ettin says that even if that's the case, conversations about your ex are still off-limits.

"Unfortunately, a lot of people love to share their sob stories. You know, misery loves company. The way I have clients get out of that situation is if someone says to you, 'Tell me about your divorce,' I might tell them to say, "I'm really enjoying getting to know you. I don't really want to bring up anyone else on the date or I'm happy to share that information once I get to know you a little bit better,'" she says.

Remember: Showing up on a date implies that you're ready to be dating again, so you should leave the past in the past and focus on what's right in front of you.

Don't share your dating horror stories

Although it may seem fun to commiserate with your date about your past experiences, it's inappropriate to do so. There's a time and a place for everything, which is why Ettin recommends saving the drama for your friends.

"It once again shows how misery loves company," she says. "Because once you get into it, you're just one-upping each other. You're talking about other people and it has a really negative tone."

If you want to go down memory lane, then Ettin says it should be "more of a reflection on you than the other person" because the first date is all about testing the waters as opposed to getting into the nitty-gritty details about someone else.

Don't flake on your date

Canceling on someone is not good dating etiquette, especially if you don’t tell them what’s going on. That’s why Ettin suggests you always “show up on time."

“And if you’re running late, then notify the person before the time of the date and not after you’re late,” she adds. “Just have common courtesy.”

Waiting man with Valentine gift
Roughly 60% of singles said that they wouldn't go on another date with someone who showed up late the first time around, according to a study.Westend61 / Getty Images stock

However, if the shoe is on the other foot and you’re unsure if the person will even show up to the date, then it’s best to confirm with them ahead of time.

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of flaky people out there these days,” Ettin says. “And so, if you make the date a few days in advance, and then don’t confirm before you’re set to meet up with them, then some people might think that means you’re not going to show up."

Her advice: Reach out the day before or, at the very least, the morning of for confirmation.