- I have worked in the service industry since I was 16 years old.
- Many first dates happen in bars, and salespeople get a front-row seat to what’s going on.
- If you ever need help in a situation, don’t hesitate to ask your bartender for help.
I’ve been bartending and working in restaurants since I was 16, with bars, bus tables, pubs, rum bars, restaurants and weddings. Now 25, I can guarantee I can spot a red flag on a date from behind the bar.
Many first dates bring people to bars and pubs. It’s a relaxed environment where you can have a drink, maybe a casual bite to eat and get to know each other.
But in these fine drinking establishments, I’m seeing what a sorry state dating has become – people seem to have forgotten what it means to make a good, honest impression.
I spoke to a dating expert about what I’m seeing as a fly on the wall in the grass. He agrees that these five things are red flags.
Encouraging you to drink more – even subtly
Something I see a lot behind the bar, especially when people stop by as a second or third place on a date, are sometimes subtle but other times extremely obvious attempts to get someone drunk.
“It’s a red flag to pressure anyone on a date to do something they may not be comfortable doing,” said Connell Barrett, author and dating coach.
Whether it’s ignoring a single’s requests and buying a double date or waiting until they go to the bathroom to buy them another so they don’t say no. No one should pressure you to drink more than you want, especially on a date.
You are dressed for two different dates
We’ve seen the viral photo of Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber, but I see it happening in bars too. One is sweaty while the other is in heels.
If the vibe is off and you seem to have very different ideas about what is appropriate for the date, there may be a problem. “Little things can mean a bigger issue; if you’re both going on a first date, you should want to make a good first impression,” Barret said.
No splitting the bill
The expectation that a person will pay for every drink, dinner or experience is outdated and such a red flag. When I see someone looking at the card machine and waiting for the other person to pay the time, it drives me crazy. You can be as hot, interesting as you want, but that doesn’t mean you automatically get a free drink.
“It gives a sense of entitlement,” Barrett explained. “If people aren’t on the same page, it feels weird.”
Constantly looking at their phone
From behind the bar, it seems people still think it’s okay to check their phone and look at the screen multiple times during a meeting.
“Give your date one time to check their phone and don’t worry about it,” Barret said. We’re all busy and it can be important, but there are limits to letting go. “But if they check it a second time, they’re probably playing a joke on it, because we want to make sure that when we show up for a meeting, we’re going to be there,” Barrett added.
Teasing you about your drink of choice
Whatever you want to drink or not drink is your choice, however I see people regularly making fun of their date at the bar. Things like calling a cocktail a “girl drink” or mocking a beer for its calorie count made me roll my eyes.
“Making these assumptions and saying things like that shows serious insecurity,” Barrett said.
Many bars around the world have an “Ask For Angela” or Angel Shot system, where if you ask the bar about any situation you’re uncomfortable with, they can help you leave drama-free. I’ve both asked Angela and I’ve asked for help at the bar in the past, and I’ve found bartenders to be great at helping you stay safe and supported in an uncomfortable romantic situation.