1. Talking about their ex

Unless it's in the context of "oh shit run my ex is coming at you with a claw hammer, you need to duck out of the way immediately", there's not really many excuses for talking about previous partners on a first date. This isn't a therapy session, it's an opportunity to have fun, show one another your best selves and see whether there's a connection worth pursuing. When someone uses that time to regress, to make comparisons, to talk shit about some old flame...it doesn't suggest that they're ready to be on that date at all.

RED FLAG LEVEL: MULTIPLE RED FLAGS PERFECTLY LINED UP

red flag - talking about their ex

tangxn / Shutterstock

 

2. Tipping badly or treating service workers like shit

You can tell so much about a person by how they treat waiters and waitresses. Being rude to someone on minimum wage who's just doing their best in a fairly stressful environment is always very shitty, and shows a lack of patience and grace that personally doesn't make me want to jump into bed. Similarly, refusing to tip because of things that were out of the waiters control (food coming late, being burnt or cold, or not tasting how it should) is eye-rollingly corny. Not a good sign at all.

RED FLAG LEVEL: A LADY JUMPING WITH A GIANT RED FLAG TWICE HER SIZE

red flag - tipping badly

Tom Wang / Shutterstock



3. Ignoring your boundaries

This might mean pushing to come back to your place after you've said no, moving closer to you when you've moved away, touching you in ways that you haven't agreed to. But it could also mean ordering you another drink when you've said you've had enough, or teasing you about something inappropriate and seeming to enjoy your discomfort. And yes, sure, in movies and TV shows these things might be framed as bold and romantic, but in reality they're disrespectful and uncool. Date someone who can hear a no once and respect it.

RED FLAG LEVEL: A DISINTERESTED BOWTIE DUDE HOLDING A RIDICULOUSLY SIZED RED FLAG IN AN EMPTY OFFICE BUILDING

red flag - ignoring your boundaries

Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock




4. Not asking questions about you

When you're on a date with someone who talks only about themselves and shows little to no interest in who you are and what you do: run. I mean, not immediately. You can finish your lasagne. But don't rush to arrange a second date unless you enjoy playing interviewer to someone who probably doesn't even remember what you do for a living.

RED FLAG LEVEL: AN OMINOUS, LONE RED FLAG, FLAPPING ON A BEACH

red flag - not asking questions about you

boonyarak voranimmanont / Shutterstock



5. Trying to "neg" you

For the uninitiated, a neg is a put-down designed to make the woman on the receiving end more likely to want to seek the attention and validation of the person doing the negging. It's the adult version of pulling your hair and pushing you down in the playground. It's also manipulative and abusive and has no place in a healthy adult relationship. Gentle teasing is one thing, but insulting your looks or suggesting you can't pull off something you're wearing is a glaring red flag that you shouldn't ignore. Self-esteem is precious and hard to come by, and anybody who attempts to work against yours has no place in your life or on a date with you. Shrug it off, make your excuses, and go hang out with people who treat you with value and respect.

RED FLAG LEVEL: SOMEONE DOING THE POSE FROM 'A SERIOUS MAN,' BUT ALSO WITH A BIG RED FLAG

red flag - trying to neg you

Khakimullin Aleksandr / Shutterstock



6. Putting down other women- even in an attempt to compliment you

"You're not like other girls" means "I don't like most girls but somehow you've managed to please me- go you!". It's gross. Comments about how other women are dressed, what they look like or what he perceives them to be all indicate that he's a misogynist shopping for a woman who fits his narrow ideals. Date men who like women! Date men who have dropped the word "slut" from their vocabulary and aren't concerned about what adult women do with their time or their bodies! Date men with helicopters! Date men who are esteemed actor Jeff Goldblum! Just don't date men who don't really like women.

RED FLAG LEVEL: A WOMAN HOLDING UP A CRAZY HUGE RED FLAG FLAPPING MAJESTICALLY WHILE HANDS GRASP BENEATH HER

red flag - putting down other women

Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock




7. Drinking way too much

First dates can be scary, so I understand the urge to take the edge off with a drink. But getting wasted doesn't make a very reassuring first impression. It doesn't scream self control and respect for other people's time. Having to put your slurring, swaying date into a cab after he's thrown up in a bin outside a restaurant is not at all the groove. Yep. Really happened. 0/10 would not recommend.

RED FLAG LEVEL: A SORTA PREPPY NERD WAVING A RED FLAG WHILE AT HIS LAPTOP, FOR SOME REASON

red flag - drinking too much

Ljupco Smokovski / Shutterstock




8. Your sense of humor doesn't quite align with theirs

This isn't as ominous a red flag as some of the others in the list, but it's something to watch out for. Being able to laugh with somebody is the kind of enduring spark that relationships thrive on for years. Your date might tick all kinds of other boxes but not even raise a single chuckle out of you, and if laughing with the person you love is important then you should take this under consideration. It's not shallow to want somebody to make you laugh so hard that you pee a little bit. That's called real romance, baby.

RED FLAG LEVEL: A DEFIANT BUSINESSMAN HOLDING A RED FLAG AT THE END OF A BROKEN HIGHWAY

red flag - your sense of humor doesn't line up

Khakimullin Aleksandr / Shutterstock