Continually putting yourself out there can be tough—but if you can at least learn how to quickly spot whether someone is absolutely not a good fit for you, you can make better use of your time to find the right person. Or to put it more bluntly: Some of your dates may be “slow burners,” requiring a little time and energy to really get to know. But unfortunately, you may also meet one or two who display clear red flags, marking them out as to be avoided entirely. Here are 5 of the most common.

1. They don’t respect your boundaries

How does your date respond when they don’t get what they want, or when you express a preference for something they disagree with? The way someone reacts to you laying out your boundaries tells you a lot about them. Are they respectful, or do they seem willing to disregard something you’ve demarcated as not what you want?

Let’s make this a little more understandable by seeing how this pushiness might manifest on a first date:

  • they order you another drink when you’ve just said you don’t want one
  • they persistently ask you to stay longer after you’ve made it clear you need to get home for an early start tomorrow
  • they get defensive or angry or otherwise guilt-trip you when you reject their advances, such as by trying to kiss you.

2. They’re rude to people you encounter on your date

We’ve all been there: Your date is sweetness and light as the two of you flirt and engage in some excellent first date banter—but the moment their food’s brought over, they snap about its temperature, demean the waiter, and send them away with an imperious wave. Red flag detected. You’re seeing firsthand in real time how this person treats others when they think they “don’t matter”. And make no mistake, if you continue seeing them, soon enough it’ll be you on the other end of it.

3. They can’t stop looking at their phone

If your date is frequently distracted by their phone or even takes a (non-urgent) call during your date, they probably have little regard for the feelings of anyone they’re romantically involved with. Down the line, that points to someone who would be emotionally unavailable in your times of need. Proceed with caution.

4. They rush the process of getting to know one another

Is your date being a touch intense when the subject of the future comes up? If on a first date they’re already alluding to (or even just laying out) the plans they envisage the two of you making together, well—maybe it feels exciting. But more likely it feels overbearing and overwhelming. Moreover, are you sure they’re not trying to give you a false sense of security? After all, how much can you trust what they’re saying when this is the first time the two of you have met?

5. They have only one person on their mind: themselves

Is your date talking with you… or at you? The implications underpinning this difference can’t be overestimated. Why? Because someone talking at you is using you because they love the sound of their own voice. They don’t reciprocate questions, they don’t allow you space to share your own thoughts—and frankly it feels like you might as well not be there at all. You can’t build an emotional connection with someone if you feel unseen and unheard—and you’ll only end up hurting yourself if you try. You can do so much better. Move on. Next!

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in New York, New Jersey, California, and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.