06/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

5 Things Not to Do on a Date

As the co-founder of the user-generated blog My Very Worst Date, I spend good parts of my day reading hilarious, cringe-inducing and unbelievable stories of dates gone horribly wrong. Sometimes it's his fault; sometimes it's hers. But often times these dates could have been prevented by using common sense. But judging by the amount of bad dates we hear about, we have to assume that a good portion of the daters out there may need a reminder of the what-not-to-do basics.

Here are the five most common mistakes that people make on first dates:

1. Avoid getting drunk. Sure, a drink or two can often loosen you up on a date or make things a bit livelier. But when a cocktail turns into three -- or five -- things will go south quick. You could harm yourself or even end up in jail. At the very least there will be damages to your ego.

2. Don't lie. Whether it's on your online profile or your first getting-to-know-you phone chat, there's simply no benefit to lying about your height, weight, age, occupation, financial status, etc. so why do people continuously do it? Your date will be disappointed and turned off.

3. Don't be cheap. Sure, we're in a recession and no one would fault you for wanting to save a few bucks, but some offenders take things too far, like the guy who refused to buy his date a hot dog in Central Park. Traditional etiquette would tell you that if you ask a woman out then you should pay for the date. Most rational women will offer to go dutch or take you out after the third date. If you're looking for inexpensive fun try bowling, wine tasting, hitting a museum, taking a picnic to the park or going on a bike ride.

4. Leave past girlfriends or boyfriends out of it. Of course it's important to know if this person has had past relationships, but a first date is no the place to delve into past love or detailed dramas. Aside from actually running into the ex on your date, it doesn't get much worse than this awkward situation. Discussing your dating past will make your date horribly uncomfortable until he or she knows you better.

5. Don't get religious or political. If you have certain deal breakers when it comes to your date's political views or religious stance, then we understand wanting to get to the bottom of things, but criticizing one's beliefs or arguing on a first date is a sure way to end it fast. And by all means, avoid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At least till your second date.

Dating is never easy. Trust me, we've all been there, but if you follow these five steps we have a feeling you won't be contributing to My Very Worst Date anytime soon.

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