First date red flags: 4 signs to watch out for - Christian Connection dating advice

First date red flags: 4 signs to watch out for

First dates are wonderful opportunities to meet potential partners. They can also be filled with pitfalls. We may be nervous, excited or so keen for things to work out that we overlook clear warning signs. So, what first date red flags do we need to look out for?

I’ve identified four first date red flags to pay attention to but before I share them, it’s important to say that knowing the warning signs is only half the battle. The other half is being willing to heed them, rather than overlook them or drive right past them.

I can think of many occasions when I spotted a red flag but ignored it or excused it with an apparently rational explanation. Why? Because I really wanted the date or relationship to work out, above all else and at any cost. I was dating with a deep craving for love, affection and connection. I had left my powers of discernment at home. I was racing towards a relationship at breakneck speed, ignoring all the STOP signs.

Clearly, this didn’t turn out well.

So, before you go dating, ask yourself how deep is your craving for love? Are your powers of discernment intact or have they been deafened by your desperation? Are you able to make a healthy choice or, if your date chooses you, will you simply go along with it, irrespective of the tap on the shoulder, the feeling in your gut, or the whisper from God, advising caution?

Now, on to the red flags:

Your date disrespects you

First date red flags: 4 signs to watch out for - Christian Connection dating adviceDisrespect can show up in so many ways. From cancelling at the last minute, to showing up late, to being distracted on the date (checking their phone or scanning the room), to being rude to restaurant staff or about a former partner, be alert to signs that your date doesn’t value you or others. Respect is vital to healthy relationships and if it isn’t present on a first date when we’re trying to put our best foot forwards, it probably won’t be there three months down the line.

If you do feel disrespected but aren’t sure whether it’s an amber flag or a red flag, you can always give the other person a chance. You can state your boundaries. You can ask them to be more respectful or call them out for their language and see how they respond. This way you’ll discover whether it was a misunderstanding or if your date really does lack respect.

Your date love bombs you

If your date instantly showers you with compliments and lavishes you with attention and affection, be wary. It can be flattering to be on the receiving end of a love bomber’s effusive emotions, especially if we haven’t dated someone for a long time and are longing for a connection, but too much too soon can signal an unhealthy partner and can be the start of a hurtful pattern. Love bombers often give everything at the start, only to withdraw or attempt to manipulate their partner further down the line. As above, set your boundaries. Ask your date to slow things down and see how they respond.

Your date pushes or oversteps your boundaries

Following on from above, pay attention to people who fail to respect your boundaries. Boundaries or limits are key to healthy relationships. If you tell your date that you’ve had enough to drink or that you want to head home by eight o’clock or that you’d rather not hold hands, notice how they respond. Ideally, your date won’t push your boundaries or try to change your mind. One caveat: we are human beings, not robots, and your date may well want to spend more time with you or have another drink together. The key is whether they are able to take ‘No’ for an answer or whether they keep on pushing.

Your date over-shares

First date red flags: 4 signs to watch out for - Christian Connection dating adviceWhen we share our deepest thoughts and feelings with a stranger, for example, about past heartache, trauma or depression, we form an intense bond. On a first date, this can feel good. It can feel like chemistry. We feel close to the other person. But this intensity isn’t real because we don’t know each other. And the chemistry can be unhealthy because it’s often based on two wounded people trying to find healing.

Notice if your date over-shares or invites you to have deeper conversations than you want to. Once again, set your boundary. Suggest that you save the intense conversations for further down the line. Hopefully, they’ll agree. If not, take this as a red flag.

Remember, we are paying attention to potential red flags in others’ behaviour, but dating is a two-way street, and we teach people how to treat us. When we spot a red flag, we have the choice to ignore it and dive straight in, walk away to protect ourselves or, if we’re not sure whether the flag is red or amber, to seek clarification through healthy communication and by setting boundaries.

If we’re not sure what’s going on, we can ask for some time out from the date, or we can leave. We can then explore what our intuitive voice is telling us, check things out with a trusted person, and take our doubts and concerns to God.

What are your first date red flags?

Have you found reading ‘First date red flags: 4 signs to watch out for’ helpful? Don’t forget to check out ‘First date green flags: 5 signs your first date deserves a second date‘ too!

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