11 Questions I Ask Myself After Every First Date I Go On

A lot can happen on a first date, and sometimes, it’s hard to process exactly how you feel after the check is paid and you’re home in your own bed (or someone else’s). To make it a bit easier to figure out whether or not I really want to see someone again, I make sure I always ask myself these questions to help myself unscramble my thoughts and feelings:

  1. How did the chemistry feel? Honestly, I can tell within the first few seconds of a date whether or not I have chemistry with someone. I’ve had too many experiences trying to make a relationship work when the spark wasn’t there from the start, so now I know that it just isn’t going to happen. Chemistry needs to be organic and visible early. This is usually a very easy question to answer!
  2. Were there any red flags? After too many years overlooking red flags and having them blow up in my face, I’m more quick to be honest with myself now. I have some deal breakers that really can’t be overlooked. For example, I’m a sober alcoholic, so if someone is a heavy drinker or uses drugs, there’s no way it’s going to work out. I recently was on a date and we stopped at his apartment. He had a bowl packed with weed on his nightstand. I knew then that it wasn’t a match!
  3. How was the conversation? How we converse with one another says a lot about how the communication is going to be. If I learn that we don’t have much to talk about or the other person is talking way too much, I’m probably not interested.
  4. Are we looking for the same level of commitment? I have no desire to wait to see if something turns into a relationship without asking first. I say right off the bat that I’m interested in pursuing dating that will turn into a long term relationship if I think we’re a match. If the other person is just looking for a casual fling, I won’t see them again. If they’re also looking for a LTR, I’m willing to go out with them again if all else goes well.
  5. Did I have fun? This is a huge question that I think can really be overlooked if I’m not careful. Sure, all of the nitty gritty details are important, but it’s also crucial to ask if I had a good time. First dates are supposed to be relaxing and fun. If I found myself frustrated, annoyed, or otherwise having a negative experience, it’s not likely that things will improve.
  6. How much did I laugh? I also consider if my date was laughing with me. Humor is really important; I use it as a tool to get through life, and I’m just a generally giggly person. It’s critical for me to have a partner who can also not take things so seriously all the time.
  7. Were they respectful? I’m really big on consent. As a trauma survivor, I sometimes freeze or panic when someone touches me without asking. I’m getting better about speaking up about what I need, but how someone treats me on a first date is very indicative of how they’re going to treat me when we get more physically intimate. I like someone who respects me and treats me with the kindness I deserve.
  8. Does this person have a life I feel I can fit into? I’ve had some clear-cut “no’s” when it comes to this question. I went on a date once with a guy who told me he was moving to Southeast Asia in a week. I was totally pissed that he was wasting my time! A less dramatic example is someone who goes to shows and concerts multiple times a week. If they’re looking for a partner to join them, I’m not going to be a fit because I go to bed super early and don’t like to mess with my sleep schedule. I like to take a practical look at how we’d fit into each other’s lives.
  9. Does it seem our values align? For many years, I thought I could make a relationship work with anyone. I would meet someone and decide we’d just give it a try. This is no longer how I approach dating. Instead, I’m cognizant of their values. I look out for them talking about having a healthy support system, a balanced life, and a solid self-care routine. We don’t have to have the same interests, but we do have to have similar values, as those are the driving forces of our lives.
  10. How do I feel about our textual chemistry? Some people don’t care so much about texting — I am not one of those people. I like a good deal of communication in between seeing one another. When someone takes a really long time to text back or the quality of their texts isn’t great, I flag this in my mind. Poor textual chemistry isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it’s something to watch out for.
  11. Do I want to see this person again? This is actually the single most important question that I ask myself. Sometimes, I can’t get a clean read on how I feel, I want to give a pass to some red flags, or I’m just really attracted to the person. This question keeps me grounded in the present rather than floating away to thinking about the future. A simple yes or no allows me to take things date by date.
Ginelle Testa's an avid wordsmith. She's a queer gal whose passions include recovery/sobriety, social justice, body positivity, and intersectional feminism. In the rare moments she isn't writing, you can find her holding her own in a recreational street hockey league, thrifting eclectic attire, and imperfectly practicing Buddhism. Follow her on Insta!