Red Flags You Shouldn't Ignore On A First Date - Exclusive

Venturing out into the dating world these days is not for the faint of heart. Dating can be stressful, and often, the most intimidating date of all is the first one. Anyone who's been a part of the scene for a while knows that there are plenty of red flags you can spot on a first date. However, there are also tons of signs that your date isn't the person for you that are easy to miss when you first meet them. 

If you're looking for the best way to take your first dates to the next level and get a better idea of whether someone is a good match early on, the solution might be right in front of you — quite literally. There are certain things that are easy to tell from someone's body language, like whether they're making eye contact while you're engaged in conversation or whether or not they reach out and touch you. 

But, you may be surprised to learn that there's actually way more that you can glean from another person's body language that may even help you know whether or not a second date is in store. Luckily, we've got everything you need to read body language on a first date. Body language expert Darren Stanton spoke to The List and revealed everything you should look out for when you're on a first date.

Phone secrecy

You can learn a lot from how a person interacts with their phone while they're out on a date. As body language expert Darren Stanton explains, "In this day and age, we all have electronic devices, like phones and smartwatches. If you're on a date and the other person has their phone facing down on the table, this could be a potential red flag." 

If someone wants to keep you from seeing what's on their phone, there's probably a good reason for it, and most of us don't want to get romantically involved with someone who keeps secrets so easily. "If they do need to take a call and continue to face it down, it could mean they are sensitive about you seeing a potential text or WhatsApp message," Stanton continues. "While they could have accidentally positioned their phone in that way, keep checking throughout the date to see if they become more open with their screen." 

Take note of how your date interacts with their phone. While avoiding too much contact is polite and can even be a good sign, deliberately keeping it hidden from you is often a symptom of something bigger.

Lack of connection

We often think of the "spark" we have with our date as an indication of whether we're a good match or if they're attracted to us. Yet, there's actually a more concrete way to determine this, and it's all about body language. "A great way to see if someone is really into you or not is by imagining your table as a tennis court with an imaginary line down the center," Darron Stanton shares. 

"If you're on a date for coffee or dinner, at some point in the meeting, casually place a piece of cutlery, coffee cup, or glass on the other side of the table. Later in the conversation, check to see if the object is still on the other person's side." He elaborated, "If yes, it means that you have built a rapport and trust with them. However, if they have surreptitiously moved it back over to your side of the line, they have unconsciously made a decision to not connect with you." 

Who knew that answering a major dating question could be as easy as moving a coffee cup? Stanton added, "The idea is that the cup or glass is an extension of you, so rejecting or accepting the item onto their personal side of the table is directly linked to how they feel about you as a person. It's important to establish whether there's a connection on a first date, rather than ignoring the signs and wasting time." 


We're all looking for something different in a partner, but most of us can agree that we want to steer clear of anybody who's dishonest, especially blatantly so. Unfortunately, it usually takes a while of knowing someone to catch them in a pattern of lies. In reality, though, there's a simple way to determine this right off the bat. Darren Stanton says, "The act of lying is all linked to emotion. People can often appear stressed when they are scared about being caught out in a lie." 

So, how exactly can we keep an eye out for this during a date? Believe it or not, it's actually all in the eyes or, more accurately, the blinking. "If this is the case on a date, the person will unconsciously blink two or three times the normal rate, while their face will also go red. Another key one is that they will probably try to overcompensate eye contact to reassure you that everything is on the level," Stanton asserted. 

Physical touch

Physical touch is another important element of a first date. Darren Stanton recommends that we, "Take notice of any physical contact between you. If you're engaging in a joke or laughing, gently touch their arm or hand for a second. It sounds bold, but in psychology, we call this escalation. If they are comfortable with a simple touch, it means they are having a great time. This method is a good way to see if they're into you. Also, if they pull back or flinch, then it means that spark isn't there."

Making a subtle physical connection with your date to gauge their reaction is a great way to figure out how they're feeling, but it's also important to keep track of whether they make physical contact with you too. As Stanton notes, "Do they touch your arm while they're speaking to you or lightly brush your fingers while reaching for their drink? Or maybe they keep bumping into you or pick [imaginary] lint off your clothing or straighten your collar — all of those actions help fulfill their need to be closer to you."

Moreover, "If you don't notice any of these signals on a first date, then you're with the wrong person." Nothing is going to make first dates totally stress-free or make every interaction easily understandable, of course. But even so, knowing a bit more about body language can help you decide whether you want a second date.