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[updated: 9/11/19]

STOP SHOWING OFF and date! That’s the simple version of what I would say if I could to the 1st date FAIL which caps off our series TOP10 Signs you’re on a Bad First Date.

Truth is, I’ve had such a sadistically fun time with these sad stories, but alas it comes down to the #1 Sign You’re on a Bad First Date (and remember, these are real life experiences from daters just like you):

In the midst of trying to show off how well their vehicle handles wet roads, your date winds up running off the road and into the woods hitting two trees, one which busts your side window. Then as you’re recovering, still covered in glass, they ask you to get out and push.


What was this dude hoping to achieve by “showing how well his vehicle handles wet roads” on a first date anyway? How did that seem like a good way to “jump start” a relationship?

Date Checklist:
[  ] Take Shower
[  ] Arrive on time
[  ] Show off car handling skills

Obviously, Mr. Carandriver was hoping to impress this little lady. Which causes me to wonder: what if he had succeeded? What if he had kept that “smooth handling” vehicle on the road? How differently would the story have ended? 

Future offspring: “Mommy, how did you meet Daddy?”

Mom: “Well sweetie, your Dad endangered my life on our very first date. And right away I knew he was the kind of guy a girl could feel safe with. The kind of man who could be counted on to bring home the bacon. AND FAST! The kind of man who would know how to lead a family. DANGEROUSLY! And most important, the kind of man who knows how to buy a vehicle that can handle wet roads. That’s how I knew he was ‘the one.’”

You probably wouldn’t try the “slippery when wet” test on your first date, but what have you done to impress someone on a dating debut? (And this isn’t just a temptation for the men! Come on ladies! Even if you wouldn’t be as foolish as us guys, what drives what might you wear on a date?)

I remember racking my brain trying to come up with creative ideas to impress a girl. Heck, I did some pretty ridiculous things just to ask some girls out.

My ideas never endangered anyone. You might have even appreciated some of my past stunts. However, there’s something I had in common with our test-driving-first-dater. We were both focused on impressing our date and I’m afraid all the attention to that objective revealed a critical confusion about what makes relationships work.

You can’t blame us, because screenwriters show us over and over again how “true love” begins with some insane stunt that somehow winds up working in the end! The girl catches the guy’s eye or the guy win’s the girls respect. And the rest is [Hollywood] history. But…

Any performer knows that first impressions aren’t enough. If you’re going to keep your audience you have to keep ratcheting up the “WOW’ factor.

The stuntman needs to become more death-defying, the magician more mystifying, and the comedian more. Ahhhhhh. Side-splittifying?

Everyone loves a great performance, but is that how you want to run your dating life? “How can I impress them this time?” Is that the pressure you want to live under? Do you think a first date should be a performance? What about the 2nd? How about the 22nd? What about your engagement and marriage?

At what point will you choose to (or have to) stop performing and just be… you? The “you” who drives an average vehicle that doesn’t actually handle wet roads any better than the next vehicle. Or even if you do have some special high performance vehicle, the “you” who doesn’t have to show it off? 

Eventually the show has to end and reality set in. I know it doesn’t feel that way when you’re in love. But millions – BILLIONS – have walked the aisle before you and eventually had to face up to the inevitable triumph of fact over fiction.

So please let me encourage you, on your next date just be who you are, whether that seems very impressive or not. I’m not saying wear baggy sweats and a t-shirt, talk with your mouth full and close out the date by belching the National Anthem. However…

Let the goal for your next first date be to connect instead of impress; to serve instead of astound; to share who you truly are instead of projecting who you wish you were.

The right person is going to grow to appreciate who you are, as you grow to appreciate who they are. Speaking of “the right person,” our next Date Night Advice series is entitled Beyond Sex & Salvation and will encourage you to make a critical shift in your thinking about how to find “the one.”

Until then, whether the roads are wet or dry, drive safely. Arrive safely. And STOP showing off and date!

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s DNA? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE you fall in love!

It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.

Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!