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10 Unattractive Dating Traits You Need to Avoid

By Andrea McGinty August 07, 2023 Dating

During my 25+ years helping singles, divorcees and widows with dating, I’ve identified several traits that your date will definitely find unattractive. Are you aware of these potential habits you may be presenting? For most people, the answer is no. Maybe this quick guide will help and give you a good, long think.

Of course, no one is perfect, nor should you strive to be. You should be you. But maybe you can do away with a couple bad habits that are a turn-off to others. We are always looking for self-improvement, and if you are wondering why first dates are not turning into second dates, please read on.

Acting as If You Know Everything

No one likes Mr./Ms. Google. There is no chance you know everything, and that is where curiosity is a lovely trait.

The other day I was in conversation with a client on a Zoom call. She mentioned something I’d never heard before – and I asked her, point blank, what it was. French food being my favorite cuisine, she totally stumped me on this one.

Why pretend to be a know-it-all? Vulnerability and genuine curiosity are assets. Plus, like me, you may learn something new and interesting!

Keeping a Bad Posture

I notice this constantly. So does your date. It shows a lack of self-care and confidence. I am personally aware of this one as I was taller than all boys and girls in my 8th grade class and always slumped to appear shorter. Thank goodness my mom had the foresight to take me to a good chiropractor at a young age and correct my posture.

Nowadays, our technology driven lifestyle is the usual culprit of a slumped posture, so make sure you keep your shoulders back, stand tall, and watch that neck. Exude confidence with your body language.

Always Interrupting

We all know someone like this, who always wants to state their point. Could it be you? Instead of active listening and being in the present, are you thinking about what you want to say next? Let the other person finish, take a breath, then say what was on your mind.

Talking Only About Yourself on a First Date

As a dating counselor, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me this after a date. Aren’t you interested in knowing something about the person you’re meeting? You don’t want to share everything about yourself and not learn anything about the person in front of you, do you?

If you’re on the other end of the rope, I have a simple solution. Since they rarely give you a chance to speak, wait until the end of their sentence and say, “Wow, I feel like I know so much about you now. What would you like to know about me? Fire away with the questions. This usually stops them in their tracks and quite often a one-sided conversation suddenly becomes much more of an even dialogue.

Not Maintaining Eye Contact

A huge part of dating is body language. I’m not talking about a stare down, just looking at the person while they talk. Not fidgeting and looking around the room, not reaching for your phone, not looking down at your food the entire time. Eye contact is the first means of connection.

Showing Arrogance

I don’t know a single client who reports back to me, saying, “Wow, was he/she arrogant and it was a turn on.” You know what arrogance is? It’s someone who behaves in a proud, unpleasant way toward other people because they believe they are more important than others. In reality, arrogance is an insecurity.

Being Rude

Perhaps rudeness is related to arrogance. Being 15 minutes late. Being demanding of the wait staff. Making negative comments about online dating. (Hey, you’re both on it, right?). Being dismissive about the other’s career, likes, hobbies, music.

That Phone

When you go on a date, put your phone away. Or, at the very least, turn off the ringer/vibration and place it face down on the table. If an important call is coming in, tell your date upfront, and that’s the only reason you have your phone out.

Perhaps it’s making sure your son got picked up from soccer practice. Or you are a doctor waiting for news on a patient that cannot wait an hour. But let them know upfront why your phone is on. It’s just politeness and showing them that their time is valuable.

Lack of Empathy

This means inability to understand others. Impatience. Excessive criticism. Poor listening skills. Self-centeredness. Joking about someone’s emotions or circumstances. To me, this is a huge red flag that needs a therapist.

Speaking Loudly

Maybe no one has ever taught you to use your “inside voice.” I’ve actually seen this when I’ve been out to lunch/dinner and the adjacent tables are parties to the conversation at that one table. It’s embarrassing to your date and inappropriate. If your friends have told you that you are a loud talker, I’d think hard about this and practice downing the decibels.

Ok, maybe you’ve read through this list and see yourself in one, two, maybe three of them. Just be aware.

Oh, as a dating coach, let me mention one more thing that drives me crazy and is ineffectual. Stop texting/messaging a potential date 3-5 times in a row before they’ve even answered one. They will think you are crazy or desperate! Be patient, wait for their response, then send a message back no longer than 2-3 sentences and ask them a question.

Lastly, here’s a stat that may take you aback! An ongoing Stanford study on dating tells us this: From the time you reach out with a message online, to the time of your first date, no more than 5 days should pass or statistically there’s a 75% chance the date will never occur. Pretty enlightening, huh? Why? Online dating moves fast; you need to as well.

Never give up. It only takes one. We all need a little encouragement and someone to show us the way and make online dating more efficient and effective. And fun. Yes, I said fun. Remember, when you started golf, you had help. Pickleball – you took a class or two. No pro tennis player did it on her own.

Happy dating!


Let’s Have a Conversation:

Which turn-off do you need to work on? How will you do it? Have friends ever pointed any of these out to you?

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The Author

Andrea McGinty is the founder of It’s Just Lunch dating service. She sold it and founded so she could help singles navigating online dating. In the 2020s, she knows the best way to meet people is through online dating using a professional coach and specializes in singles in their 50s-70s!

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