A woman stares in exasperation at her date, who holds his head in his hands

6 bad dating habits you need to give up

by Fran Creffield - January 4, 2013

Do you keep having dates that lead no-where or make you so stressed and anxious you get little enjoyment out of them? If so it may be that you have fallen into some bad dating habits.

Just like any other part of life we can develop bad habits when it comes to how we date and develop relationships. Often we don’t even realise that we have fallen into bad habits until we take the time to sit down and honestly look at how we conduct ourselves on dates. Here are 6 of the most common bad dating habits people fall into – if you recognise any in yourself take steps to change them and you may find that your dating becomes much more successful.

1. Being too hard on yourself

This is number one because it is the thing that blocks most people from relaxing and enjoying the dating experience – they become so self-conscious that it becomes impossible for their date to see the real them behind the tension and anxiety. In the days leading up to the date a negative monologue grows louder and louder in their heads pointing out all their flaws and imperfections and damaging any self confidence they had to begin with.

We all have the capacity for negative self talk but for some people it has become so harsh and critical that it stops them from ever being able to relax and enjoy themselves – they are convinced that as soon as their date sees the ‘real’ them, they will run. This habit must be broken. Next time you are getting ready for a date try imagining being your own best friend, offering support and encouragement rather than criticism – it is a very hard habit to break but essential if you really want to have a loving relationship – if you don’t think much of yourself how can you expect anyone else to?

2. Having unrealistic expectations of your date

Imagination is powerful and from the moment the first icebreaker is received from a match people begin to construct a mental picture of them. We all do it but some people can get into the habit of living more in the fantasy than in reality – they daydream about the first meeting; the first kiss – even the wedding. They reread every email scouring it for information to support their fantasy and then when they meet the person in real life they are usually disappointed because most mortals won’t be able to measure up to their fantasy image.

Break this habit by spending as little time as possible on virtual communication and more in developing the relationship in person – keep it real.

3. Trying to be something you are not

This is usually underpinned by low self-esteem and fear that you are not enough as you are. Grandiose stories, exaggeration of the truth, little white lies that you are sure will never be discovered or even great big lies that you know will be discovered but you can’t help yourself because you really like this person and you are desperate for them to like you – all of this is stopping the person you are dating from seeing the real you and no healthy relationship can survive on a foundation of dishonesty.

Be yourself – if that isn’t good enough for your date maybe they aren’t the one for you.

4. Using dates as a type of therapy

This is a really bad habit that usually arises when you have a lot of emotional pain that is not getting a listening ear elsewhere. Finding yourself in a relaxed setting with someone who seems caring, gentle and kind and interested in you can prompt the floodgates to open for some people. To break this habit you need a support system – someone like a friend or family member who you know will be there for you. Professional counselling can also be a good source of support if you feel you have underlying issues that need to be addressed and no-one in your life you can confide in.

5. Complaining

There is little more attractive than a positive, enthusiastic attitude towards life and even though things go wrong sometimes if you are optimistic and upbeat they don’t usually ruin your day, or your date. Some people, however, have developed the habit of complaining – about the service – the food – the noise of the traffic – they complain, grumble and seem aggrieved by almost everything and they may not even know they are doing it. Listen to yourself more closely and if you find yourself complaining a lot make a conscious effort to focus on the positive and the things you are grateful for – it will make you a happier person and a better date.

6. Bad manners

Make a habit of having good manners in all aspects of dating – reply to correspondence; thank someone for a date even if you don’t want to see them again and be civil and courteous to all people. Bad manners are often a force of habit but one which can easily be broken with a little awareness.