First date deal breakers: the 10 turn offs that could cost you a second date

Don’t turn up drunk. Do have a shower. Don’t bad-mouth your ex. Most NZ singles are aware of these common dating commandments: the first date advice that ensures a smooth evening. But do you know all the rules? Our latest survey asked 500 Kiwis for their top first date deal-breakers – and the answers were quite surprising!¹

After careful analysis of the survey results, we’ve determined the top five first date faux pas – along with five things you didn’t know were stopping you from scoring a second date! It’s first date advice you can use – as it’s from the minds of those Kiwis actually doing the dating.

Five of the biggest first-date deal-breakers

  1. Suggesting a ‘fancy’ first date idea
    Forget the latest glam restaurant. 88% of Kiwis think that the ideal first date is a casual one. That means you’re best off finding a top spot for a get-know-you coffee instead of going all out. Stuck for ideas? If you’re in the capital, try our Wellington date ideas
  2. Lying about being a smoker
    First date tip: lies are bad and untruths soon rumbled. Still, some lies are more taboo than others and, for New Zealanders, the worst is lying about smoking. 70% see it as an instant turn-off, making it worse than lying about age (53%), weight (44%) or height (17%).
  3. Wearing your favourite ‘funny’ t-shirt
    Your uni bros might giggle at your ‘Game Over’ t-shirt (the one with the stick figures getting married) but, if you want a second date, you’ll leave it at home. So-called ‘funny’ t-shirts are considered the worst thing to wear on a date, putting off 57% of NZ singles.
  4. Getting too frisky too early
    For around half of single Kiwi women, first dates mean that sex is off the menu. Indeed, 51% of women think that sex is a taboo subject for a date (vs 19% of men). It’s the same story with proposing post-date sex – a no-no for 48% of women and just 10% of men.
  5. Turning up in jandals
    We Kiwis love jandals. The love runs so deep that they’ve even made it onto a stamp. And yet, we don’t love them as part of a first date outfit. 23% of singles would be put off if their date arrived in jandals (more than would be turned off by white shoes with black socks!).

Five unexpected first date deal-breakers

  1. Taking pictures of your meal
    Bad news for fans of the Hefe filter: taking the time to Instagram your brunch or Snapchat your craft beer is considered so obnoxious that Kiwis see it as a worse no-no than more well-known deal-breakers like being dressed inappropriately for the date venue.
  2. Getting out your selfie stick during dinner
    In fact, being too attached to your phone in general is seen as a deal breaker by 40% of NZ singles. Mid-date selfies are seen as another particuarly egregious way to use your phone – in fact, hated by one-in-five men, they’re considered even worse than being late.
  3. Listening politely to your date’s stories
    Most experts agree that listening intently is attractive.2 But, during a first date, that rule seems to go out the window. More than 70% of NZ singles would prefer a date with someone who talks too much instead of a quiet soul who simply listens.
  4. Wearing too much jewellery
    Kiwis like casual first dates. As mentioned above, 88% like more relaxed date venues, and this casual craze extends to the first date outfit – so much so that wearing ornate jewellery is considered even more of a fashion faux pas than turning up in active-wear!
  5. Adding your date on Facebook
    Had a great evening? Want to find your date on Facebook to re-live it? Wait before sending that friend request! A premature social media request would put nearly 20% of New Zealand singles off of asking for a second date.

Bad kissing: the faux-pas that’s not as bad as you think

If you want to know if they love you so, it’s in their kiss – right? Wrong. Less than 3% of New Zealanders think that the quality of a kiss matters on the first date. In fact, as deal-breakers go, bad kissing is one of the most minor: the only thing more inoffensive is not tipping! It seems that if it’s love, if it really is – you’ll have to look elsewhere than their kiss.

How to get out of a bad date

So, how much do these deal-breakers really matter anyway? If you’re dating a Kiwi, the answerer is quite a lot: New Zealanders are not the sort to awkwardly sit through a bad date. 70% of Kiwis surveyed would in fact be prepared to end a date early over a deal-breaker – and 21% have done so already!

And the most common way to escape a date gone bad? It’s not a fake illness – only 3% believe in that. It’s not the ‘emergency’ phone call (6%) or the ‘early morning meeting’ (23%) – instead, the vast majority of NZ singles – 67% – would simply opt for the truth.

EliteSingles psychologist, Salama Marine, has these words of wisdom for anyone needing to leave a date early: ‘’you shouldn’t have to stay on an awkward date for hours with a stranger if you don’t want to. But it is important to choose your words carefully; you need to show your date that you do respect them and consider them an equal, despite not feeling romantically attracted to them. There’s no need to be unnecessarily hurtful or mean; you simply need to explain that you cannot picture yourself romantically with them and that you feel your personalities aren’t matched.’’

Ready to find someone you do match with? Try EliteSingles today! Start by registering here.

EliteSingles editorial, May 2016

If you have any first date advice we might have missed, let us know below or write to us at [email protected]


1 EliteSingles ‘Dating Dealbreakers’ survey 2016. Sample size: 500 New Zealand men and women.

2 Erin Gloria Ryan, writing for Jezebel, 2014. Men Like Women Best When They Listen. Found at

About the author: Sophie Watson

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