Bad dates happen. And more often than not, they're caused by someone saying something they shouldn't have. Even a perfectly nice person can make a mistake and say something completely inappropriate that ruins a date.
It's really very common, in fact. Especially if you haven't dated in a while.
With this in mind, we've developed the following list to help guide you.
Don't talk about past relationships. Your date doesn't want to hear about your ex (and the problems with your previous relationships).
Do pay attention to your date - his/her interests and hobbies. Stay in the present.
Don't allow your discussion to turn into an argument. Stay away from controversial or potentially heated topics, like religion or politics.
Do be respectful of differences. If your date mentions a belief that you disagree with, find a way to discuss this openly without criticizing. Or, if you can't do that, change the topic.
Don't over-compliment. Telling a person they're attractive once is flattering. Saying it 8 times in an hour is creepy. Furthermore, don't compliment your date in a way that makes her/him feel self-conscious. "You have lovely eyes," or "that color looks nice on you," are both respectful. "I can't take my eyes off your amazing body," is less so.
Do say something positive or kind to your date. An honest and simple complement will put them more at ease.
Don't put yourself down. A little self-deprecating humor is fine, but whining about your failures at work and your inability to stay on your diet are not OK.
Do have a sense of humor about yourself. You're not perfect, and you don't have to pretend that you are.
Don't brag about yourself. Confidence is sexy. But a person (man or woman) talking endlessly about their achievements comes off as arrogant, not confident.
Do project confidence. Give yourself a pep talk before the date and feel comfortable mentioning something (one thing) about yourself that you're proud of.