I’ll Always Say “No Thanks” To These First Date Offers—And You Should Too

We’ve all had those horrific first date encounters that involve plenty of awkward silences, incredibly bad manners, or an unwanted kiss at the end of the night. Fortunately for all of us, the first step to avoiding a bad date comes way before you actually meet the guy. All it takes is giving these dates a simple, “No, thanks.” Here are just a few invitations I’ll always decline—and you should too.

  1. Dinner and a movie Sounds like the ultimate night out but on a first date, it’s way more commitment than I’m willing to give. Between the awkward small talk and frustratingly slow service, dinner can be enough of a minefield to maneuver. Add sitting through a two-hour movie afterward and the chances of ducking out early because you’re suddenly just “not feeling well” are slim. It’s too much to handle on a first date. No, thank you.
  2. Netflix and chill I want to talk to a guy, not stare at a screen when we first meet—and I definitely don’t want to hook up. I reserve the mindless TV consumption for after we’ve run out of things to say or once we both feel comfortable spreading out on the couch in sweats devouring takeout. As for sex, that comes way later. I’d rather establish some sort of real connection on a first date—one that doesn’t involve a terrible Adam Sandler movie or a walk of shame.
  3. Just “hanging out” First of all, what does this even mean? I want a guy who’ll be straight up with me from the very beginning, a guy who’ll put his effort into planning our time together before he asks me out. My time is valuable and I want to know exactly what I’m spending it on.
  4. Anything and everything involving his family Even if I’ve known the guy since elementary school, am tight with his siblings and have had numerous conversations with his mother, I’ll never ever say yes to a first date at a family outing. Ever. Not only is it incredibly inappropriate, the pressure is unnecessary. I wouldn’t feel comfortable making weird jokes or giving my opinions knowing that his family was also listening to (and probably judging) every word. Nope. That’s a hard pass for me.
  5. Sunday brunch Everyone knows that Saturdays are the weekend’s prime real estate, especially when it comes to dating. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sunday—it’s my day to get groceries, meal prep for the week, and lose myself in a good book—but when a guy offers to buy me avocado toast and bottomless mimosas on a Sunday morning, what he’s really saying is that he’s willing to toss me the leftover scraps of his weekend. He’s already had his Saturday fun and I was definitely not a part of it.
  6. Shopping at the mall There are few things more vulnerable than revealing your shopping habits to a potential partner. Seriously. I’m incredibly indecisive, I love digging through the racks, and I can take 50 items into the dressing room and still leave the store empty-handed. That’s enough to test anyone’s patience. On a first date, I’d much rather both of us be relaxed.
  7. Going out with his friends When a guy asks me to join him and his crew on their night out, I’m immediately turned off. He’s either so insecure that he needs his friends’ backup to make it through the night or he’s just not serious about getting to know me. Most likely it’s the latter, so there’s no real reason for me to stick around. The last thing I need before I meet a guy for the first time is the added pressure of making a good impression on his friends. First date jitters are bad enough.
  8. Running errands I’ll happily tag along with a guy when he’s picking up a prescription, depositing a check, or grabbing groceries on a Sunday. With our increasingly busy schedules, these bursts of time together most definitely count as dates (and isn’t that what relationships are, anyway?). On a first date, however, I would much prefer to have the focus be solely on us, not what kombucha drink he’s getting at Whole Foods. Save that for the actual relationship stage.
  9. Steak at a five-star restaurant Personally, I love it when guys treat me, especially on the first date. It sets the tone for the rest of our time together, no matter how long or short it may be. Still, at my age, I’m probably not going to go out with the Mr. Bigs of the world. The guys I’m seeing are more likely to be in grad school or starting their careers. In short, they’re pretty broke. So when the check comes and I see that triple digit, you bet it’s going to make me feel uncomfortable.
  10. A trip to the beach We all know that moment. You’ve laid out the towels, propped up the umbrella, and opened up the cooler of drinks and snacks—it’s time to strip down to your bathing suit. Awkward enough in most situations, this necessary unveiling is almost too much for me to handle on a first date. Add the prospect of him smearing sunscreen down my back and I’d rather take a rain-check.