First dates are either filled with expectations, or devoid of any expectations at all. But no matter the scenario, you probably wouldn’t expect for your date, shortly after your very first outing, to text and ask for an oddly specific, oddly modern favour: that you turn on your read receipts.
This is exactly the horror story that befell Eric Dimitratos, a 33-year-old New Yorker who, in a now-viral thread on Twitter, posted evidence of the bewildering request.
“Click on my contact. Press The ‘I.’ Then turn on read receipts,” Dimitratos’s just-first-date writes.
Baffled as anyone would be, Dimitratos writes back, “What!?!”
What!?!” indeed. For many of those with iPhones, the “read receipt” feature can act as tyrannical messaging option.
Turning the feature on means the other person will automatically see exactly what time you opened their message. Even better: they’ll be certain of when you’ve chosen not to reply. (The same is true on apps like Whatsapp, Instagram direct message, and Facebook Messenger, which indicate whether someone has seen your message.)
Many Twitter users gathered under Dimitratos’s tweet to offer some advice, like, for example, “turn around and run far, far away immediately.”
Of course, read receipts have become a major contention in the world of modern dating, in which someone reading your message and not responding automatically means that your connection has fizzled out like a flat glass of gin and tonic.
Never mind the other timelines, where the person might
a) be too busy to reply immediately
b) have a nosy roommate who opened the message
c) have literally any perfectly valid reason for not answering your text.
Anyway, the consensus seems to be that asking someone to turn on their read receipts after a first date isn’t exactly the best dating practice. It’s normal to want to have a conversation with someone, but asking to opt into a situation where you can monitor their texting habits can come off as possessive or demanding, even if it isn’t intended that way.
In fact, there are a bunch of things you probably shouldn’t do on or after a first date, so to avoid your dinner becoming the heated subject of a viral Twitter thread, or an article like this one, here are a couple of things you might consider avoiding the next time you’re on one.
Don’t talk about your ex
Not. The. Time.
Using a first date as a forum to discuss your past loves — whether trashing or exalting them — is a surefire way of proving you aren’t over your last relationship. No one needs to hear about how your ex used to [insert weird thing]. Most people have exes, but it doesn’t mean they need to be randomly invoked.
Don’t show up late, even if you’re trying to be ‘fashionable’
There’s an idea floating around the world that showing up to things late is in some way charming, a subtle quality that shows you aren’t too eager or were busy doing something absolutely urgent. But arriving to a date late can also give the impression that you don’t care, or don’t respect the other person’s time.
If you are going to be late — for whatever reason — let the person know ahead of time, so they aren’t waiting around in confusion or frustration.
Don’t invite your friends
It’s completely OK to feel nervous about meeting someone new. But instead of having a friend accompany you on a date with someone, consider settling for a pre-date pep talk, or schedule some time with friends for afterward.
Don’t be glued to your phone
Nobody likes to feel they’re being ignored (hence the “turn on your read receipts” guy). If you’re on a date, spending too much time on your phone, rather than on the person in front of you, can come off as a disinterest. Your phone will be there after the date, and if the text or call is urgent, let your date know, so they don’t think you’ve checked out.
If you’re on a date, there’s some vague social contract that assumes you’re actually in some way interested in them. Talking over someone is impolite, and makes it seem as though what they have to say doesn’t matter, or worse, that you think you’re more important than they are.
A conversation can’t happen with just one person … so let the other person speak.