Gone are the days where you go to a dance, see someone you like the look of, ask them for a cheeky foxtrot and the next thing you know you’re celebrating your golden wedding anniversary.

In this day and age, dating is a total minefield. I should know, I seem to be the king of bad dates. I’ve had them all, to the point where friends can’t wait to hear what is wrong with them rather than me saying they were decent.

I’m quite cyclical with dating. I have a go at it until I can’t take any more disasters and retreat to my lair until I’ve forgotten how rubbish it was. I’m just sticking my head out from the cave door at the moment and have joined Match, so I thought I’d strike while the iron’s hot and give you my top 5 Don’ts when going on that nerve wracking first date.

  1. Don’t forget that behind that profile is a real person

So many people act with serious bad manners. This weekend I had an arrangement to meet someone in Leeds for lunch and a mooch around. I’d kept the day free and communications were fine until Tuesday, then radio silence. Nothing. Nada. No matter what happened, that is unacceptable behaviour. It isn’t hard to send a quick message saying you can’t make it. You’re eliminated.

  1. Don’t overshare

I’d sat down in the restaurant and was just about to open my menu when suddenly he starts telling me about all his medical issues. I’m not one to judge and I’m glad he felt that comfortable but let me order my starter before we delve into that. This isn’t a free therapy session, this is a date.

  1. Don’t forget to ask

You can spot the serial daters a mile off. They sit down in the coffee shop (I’ve adopted coffee shop protocol after the date above) and they literally blast you with every fact they think you need to know. God forbid this would be a two way conversation. Take it easy, talk about any old rubbish. If the other person is interested, they will get the facts they need from you. They will be far happier that you’ve shown an interest in them. I had to sit through a 14 minute speech on recycling bins before I could a word in, I’m speaking from experience.

  1. Don’t leave people hanging

You leave the date and you know that you don’t want to see them again but you get the text saying they’d like to meet up again. Don’t just ignore it. That’s mean. The decent thing is to say something like “I had a great time too but if I’m honest, I didn’t feel that spark”. It’s as simple as that. I’ve had that message and I was glad of the honesty. Online dating is a numbers game and anyone who goes into it with a sensitive skin needs to toughen up. The chances of success are stacked against you and its far better to get closure than be left wondering.

  1. Don’t mention your ex

This is the cardinal sin of dating. No-one wants to sit and listen to ex stories, whether they are good or bad. At best it sounds like you’re not over them, at worst it makes you sound like some kind of Taylor Swift with anger management issues. Neither is going to get you a second date. If all you can talk about is an ex, then I would question whether you should be dating in the first place. If you must get it out, tell your friends, your family, the woman in Asda but please don’t tell me on a date.

So there we go, no doubt I will have a sequel to this post soon after a few more disastrous dates. I haven’t even touched the surface of my horror stories (who can forget the guy who called me a wanker?) but you will have to stay tuned for those.