Dating can provide some of our most joyous moments in life, and simultaneously some of our most awkward.
The whole romance game is filled with twists and turns that are bound to throw up some painstaking experiences, even for the most clued-up of daters.
Here are 8 dating blunders that even confident women make…
1) Drinking too much to steady your nerves
We know that second cocktail probably isn’t the best idea, but we order it anyway.
For many of us, alcohol is a culturally ingrained part of social events.
From a young age, we’re taught that it’s a shortcut to fun and relaxation.
So much so that we can become reliant on it in order to curb our nerves. We use it as a social crutch to mask insecurity.
We hope it will free us from our inhibitions so we don’t feel so scared and vulnerable by simply being ourselves.
I’m not preaching. Personally, I do drink.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize what a potentially destructive force it can be. Or how we use it in some fairly unhealthy ways to hide from our feelings.
On a date, drinking too much is usually a very bad idea.
We can end up doing things or saying things we don’t mean and later regret.
Staying fully conscious of our actions on a date is always for the best.
2) Talking too much about yourself
Hands up, I’m totally guilty of loving the sound of my own voice too much.
I’m a self-confessed chatterbox. And that has meant on plenty of dates I’ve dominated the conversation.
It can be particularly tricky when you are with someone who has a different communication style and is naturally quieter.
When you are confident, you feel comfortable about making conversation. Which in itself is a good thing.
As long as it doesn’t spill over into hogging the conversation. Because we just come across as self-absorbed.
Research from Harvard scientists found that, particularly when we meet someone new, we often talk about ourselves a lot.
But the same researchers also noted that this type of behavior — aka keeping the focus on yourself — decreases our likability.
3) Not asking your date enough questions
Even if you remain tightlipped and let your date do most of the talking, that also has its drawbacks.
Because a dialogue needs to involve two people.
If we say very little we run the risk of seeming disengaged or uninterested.
One of the things that have been found to instantly make us more likable is asking lots of questions.
But we fail to do this if we either ramble away (as above) or are too nervous and forget to ask.
Asking questions is simply about being curious. It shows that we care and take a genuine interest in our date.
Which is sort of the whole point of dating.
Asking questions is how we get to know each other better, but we can fail to do so in the heat of the moment.
4) Oversharing too much information too soon
I like to think of myself as a bit of an open book.
Whilst honesty and sincerity are important, so are dignity and restraint.
I know I’ve probably overstepped the line between the two on more than one occasion.
There’s an appropriate timeline for things.
We have to wait until we’ve established a strong and trusting connection before we start revealing our deepest darkest secrets.
If you are a naturally truthful, friendly, and confident woman, perhaps you too have fallen for this blunder.
Sharing is good, but oversharing can be a bit too intense or just downright inappropriate.
5) Coming on too strong
Them: “Well that was nice, let’s do it again sometime”
You: “Absolutely, how about tomorrow?”
Them: “Well, er, I’m not sure, I may have plans”
You: “Ok, how about the day after?”
Obviously, I am joking. But I do so to highlight an important point.
Because whilst I’m the last person to ever advocate game playing or playing hard to get, there are some unwritten rules when it comes to dating.
And one of the main ones is that clingy and desperate behavior isn’t sexy.
In order to pique desire, we want to feel like something is ever so slightly unattainable.
Because the truth is the more rare and in-demand something is, the more we want it.
If you’re too keen, it feels like you’re on sale.
And whilst we all love grabbing ourselves a bargain, probably less so in the love department.
Even when you are confident, there can be a fine line between being self-assured and coming on too strong.
Don’t lay all your cards on the table, keep a few close to your chest.
6) Trying too hard to impress and not being yourself
Ok, contradiction alert.
Because I just said don’t overshare and don’t reveal how you’re feeling too soon.
But now I’m about to suggest you don’t fake things and be yourself.
I can totally see how that seems like an unfair inconsistency.
But it is slightly different.
Because even though you might want to hold some things back, it’s still really important to show up as your real self.
The tricky part is that dating can feel a bit like a job interview.
We want to make a good impression and show our best side.
That’s understandable, but lying on your CV is a step too far. And many of us sort of do that when we’re on a date.
We try to inflate our ego in the hopes that it will show the other person how epic we are.
But in reality, you run the risk of looking like a show-off. Bragging and boasting are always a big turn-off.
You might also try too hard in other ways.
For many of my dating years, I think I would often try to act a little bit cooler than I really was.
This “cool girl” image that I plastered on pretended she was far more laid back than she really was.
I was so scared of looking uptight or demanding, that often I wasn’t being clear about what I wanted.
7) Not being honest about what you’re looking for
I’ve literally lost track of friends who have ended up dating someone who isn’t looking for the same things as them.
But they grasp onto the false hope that the other person might change their minds later down the line.
We pretend to be fine with casual when we’re looking for long-term. Or we fail to mention that we’re pretty much allergic to relationships.
The reason? Because we don’t want to scare someone off.
But when we keep this sort of important information to ourselves, it always comes back to bite us in the ass eventually.
We’re only delaying the inevitable when we’re not upfront with other people about how we feel and what we want.
And that means we’re more likely to hurt ourselves, or them, in the process.
Finding the strength to be honest isn’t always easy, but it’s about having enough respect and self-worth to stay true to yourself.
8) Not establishing clear boundaries from the start
A couple of years ago I was dating someone who all of a sudden just disappeared for a few days.
We were supposed to meet up, but I never heard from him.
Several days later he texts me with some pathetic excuse that was less than credible.
Whilst I certainly didn’t give him the third degree, I did let him know that he had hurt my feelings.
I wished him well for the future and made it clear we’d be going our separate ways.
Don’t get me wrong, I was super disappointed. Part of me wanted to accept his lame ass excuses because I didn’t like the truth.
The reality that he just wasn’t so bothered was much harder to swallow.
But I knew I had no choice. Because plenty of bitter disappointments in my romantic history have taught me one very harsh lesson:
Things continue how they start off.
That means how someone treats you in the early stages is most likely how they will go on to treat you in any relationship that may follow.
Establishing boundaries takes so much courage. We can be tempted to accept less than we deserve because we feel like we want it so much.
But the fact remains, people can only treat you how you allow yourself to be treated.
That means creating clear boundaries. Because we ignore red flags at our own peril ladies.