I am super excited for you that you are either off on a first date with someone, or you have decided to start getting out there again so you maybe heading out on a first date sometime soon! It’s not easy as a single mum to find the time, inclination and chance to head out to get to know someone new.
Keeping your eye out for red flags at the same time as being open and curious about getting to know a new human is a wonderful intention for a first date.
WHAT IS A RED FLAG?
A red flag is a metaphor for something you sense, see, or feel that warns you about something. Warning signals can help you steer clear of somebody who is just not the right fit, is somehow destructive or even potentially dangerous.
It’s very important to be aware of red flags to help us steer clear of what we don’t want. Someone in a seemingly brand spanking new package can look completely different to someone who had damaging behaviours or patterns, but they actually have the same destructive tendencies you have experienced before. If so, head for the hills!
These patterns can, and do, present in someone you can have a sustainable and happy relationship with – they help us grow. It’s only when these patterns are a destructive version that we need to avoid them.
FIRST DATE RED FLAGS
The other side of red flags is noticing them in your own behaviour during the first date and beyond. This whole list can be applied to yourself – consider why you might have the behaviours that are listed. Do so with oodles of gentleness and care for yourself, of course!
For example, if you leave your phone on the table during a date perhaps intimacy makes you feel uncomfortable and you want a kind of escape. That’s totally ok, just note it as a tendency and practice going without it occasionally and see what happens.
TALKING ABOUT THEMSELVES
If they turn everything you say around to be about them! This could be related to nerves, however your date might not have a very developed capacity to listen – which should certainly be a red flag if you want a relationship that has understanding, empathy and effective communication.
NOT TALKING ABOUT THEMSELVES AT ALL!
For the duration of the whole date, they don’t volunteer in any information about themselves. It could be that they have something to hide, or perhaps they feel their life is not very interesting and are a bit shy.
This is only really a red flag if they have something to hide. People who think their life is not interesting or who are shy just have some mindset adjustments to make – they could very well be a very decent and beautiful person.
PUTTING THEIR PHONE ON THE TABLE
If your date looks at their phone the whole time, or even if they just leave the phone on the table. Apart from being impolite, what subconscious messages is someone who leaves their phone on the table giving out? Are they saying that their work, and communicating with others is more important than the connection with the person in front of them?
Many people think they must be always reachable and do exactly that. I don’t suggest writing them off completely, however it is important to note this tendency and suggest a different possibility next time you hang out, early in the relationship if this is important to you.
You don’t want your date to be more connected to their boss, or Siri, than with you – especially if they end up being your choice of lasting love partner!
TRYING TO GET YOU ALONE
Get to know someone before you make that decision to be alone with them, and of course the same goes with choosing to be intimate physically with them.
One aspect of being alone with someone is that it can be dangerous to not be in a public place when you are first getting to know them. Another aspect is if you’re alone the date might expect that you will connect sexually.
If your date needs this intimate connection before any friendship is built, it may indicate that other forms of connection are not easy for them to maintain. Perhaps not, it’s just something to be aware of. I have no judgement on people who get intimate when they first meet someone – however as a find love coach, it is not what I recommend. I recommend getting to know people as friends quite well before connecting in this way.
THE FRIEND ZONE, OR NOT
If you meet someone who does not gel with you as a friend, it does not bode well for a sustainable and lasting relationship. Likewise, a friendship without the intimacy is not ideal either.
You can discern these different nuances and choices in relating, and what is right for you, by exploring your inner mental and emotional landscape. This will help you learn about your beliefs and patterns and how to clear them, so you attract someone who truly resonates with how you want to be and live.
THE “CHILDREN” TALK
When you talk about your children, your date is either way too interested, or not interested at all.
If your date wants to know any personal details about your children, for example where you live or what school they go to, make sure you do not share that information, and also note it as a red flag.
Hopefully, anyone with truly creepy energy you wouldn’t end up on a date with anyway because you practice using your intuition, and you used it when you got to know them a little first either online or in person before you agreed on the date. However, you never know as there are some people very good at hiding the dark sides of their nature.
For more about this see: 12 Tried and tested tactics to date safely online.
On the other hand, as a single mum if your date does not have a jot of interest in what you say when you talk about your children, then they may not have much experience with kids. This could mean they don’t understand what it’s like navigating the day-to-day challenges of parenthood. Of course, this can be learnt but they may need some gentle guidance in understanding about your life as a mum, the priorities you have and the choices you need to make.
ONLY TALKING ABOUT CHILDREN
If you are both parents, a red flag for both of you to consider is if you can only talk about your kids.
Naturally, this will happen at first and it’s not a red flag in the traditional sense, but if it’s extremely uncomfortable or challenging to talk about anything but being a parent, it could mean you have lost a sense of self.
This happens to most of us, but it is definitely something to be aware of and work on. You can write a list of subjects that you find interesting to talk about and approach one of those subjects with your date instead.
Get more help in this area here: Finding the “real you” amid the craziness of being a single mother.
BIG LIFESTYLE DIFFERENCES
Your date wants only veggies and you eat a Paleo diet. Or visa versa, they are ordering the steak and you are a dedicated vegan. This sort of situation can indicate you have very different lifestyles.
I chose food as an example, but this flag is good to note generally. Perhaps being very fit is something you feel passionate about, but they can’t stand focussing on fitness. Look out for aspects that would indicate you are very different.
Difference can be a positive thing, but fundamental differences can greatly contribute to relationship breakdown. Decide if their values and lifestyle choices are something that you can happily live with, or something that’s going to drive you crazy.
If your date is late. If they have a valid reason, ok maybe once. But if it happens on the 2nd date too, a serious red flag.
If they don’t honour and respect your time now, when will they?
Having these things to look out for will help you relax, get to know your date and remain open and curious. I have the attitude of giving people the benefit of the doubt, however it’s only natural to have concerns.
So, take note of these flags if they come up, and work out if it’s something serious, or something you can work with.
Go out, have some fun, be careful too and remember, always let your live light shine!