Features and Explainers

Five signs your date’s a flake

Written by Sophie Wenderoth

So, you’re probably working, maybe studying too and you’re trying to maintain some sort of social life, dating included. It’s hard. You’ve tried Tinder and Bumble, given the person who picked you up at a bar a chance, but you still haven’t found anyone you truly connect with. Or maybe you did and they left you on read. You know what it is to be heartbroken, to be hurt, we’ve all had our share of those moments.

At family functions, your Aunty Jill reminds you that she wishes she could be 21 again, but with the knowledge she has now. Jill skimps on the detail, she doesn’t pass it on to you. She assures you that you will one day understand. But what if you could gain a better understanding today?

We can’t give you a guarantee that you will never be hurt again, but what we can give you is a guide on how to identify people who are likely to be time wasters and heartbreakers.

Here’s five signs your date is someone you may want to avoid.


  1. The conversation isn’t equal

If your date is spending a lot of time talking about themselves, they are probably a narcissist – aka self-obsessed and incapable of caring for anyone other than themselves. If they want to hear a lot about you, this is also a red flag. This may seem strange, but this is a red flag because a psychopath may try and extract information out of a target to mirror the target’s beliefs and interests. They may then describe you as their “soul mate” given all of the common interests you have. However, this is all artificial because you had already talked about enough of your life for them to simply mirror it.


  1. They talk about their exes

This is especially bad if it is a first date. Yes there can be a mention, but there is a very clear line. If you don’t know someone very well, you’re not likely to want to share intricate details of your life with them. If you’ve just started dating someone and they start telling you about their awful, crazy ex-partner, this is probably projection (aka they are the awful, crazy one) and you don’t need to waste anymore of your time on them.

A couple holding hands, December 27, 2013. Five signs your date is a dud. Photo: Flickr

  1. They don’t respect boundaries

Take this literally and apply it to anything. If they make inappropriate comments which they try to pass off as a joke, if you’re still just messaging through Tinder or over text and you take a few hours to respond so you get the “???” or they just find a reason to message you again until they get a response (this is harassment). On the flip-side, if you are feeling insecure and you feel that someone is ignoring you on purpose, this is a red-flag too, trust your instincts, you probably are being ignored. Move on and find someone who values you and treats you with respect.


  1. They appear to be very charming

There’s being nice and then there’s being charming. If you feel that someone is easily flirting with you, is showering you with compliments and is just telling you a whole lot of things you want to hear, this is a red-flag. The charm is a façade, which will eventually be replaced (in-part or wholly) by put-downs and other abusive behaviour. Potentially even physical abuse.


  1. The relationship moves quickly

So, they are claiming that because you have so much in common, you must be soul mates! You feel like you’re finally the star of a romance movie, but it’s your real life. So, now all you have to do is live happily ever after, right? Sorry but no. Relationships which move quickly, are also a red-flag. Think about it, it takes time to get to know someone. I mean, we’ve known our parents our whole lives and we’re still learning new things about them. If your relationship milestones are only a few months apart, things are probably moving too quickly. Afterall, how can you love someone you don’t know very well?


This is in no-way a complete list. Red-flags depend on the person and the situation, but these are intended to be used as a guide for detecting potential heartbreakers and abusive people so you can avoid them. This will give you optimum time to focus on people who truly care about you and respect you.


For more information see OurWatch, the White Ribbon Foundation and Taming Toxic People by David Gillespie.


If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.


About the author

Sophie Wenderoth