Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

Last night I went on date number 3 with a guy I really like. When the server brought our drinks, he tripped and spilled them all over my date! Now, nobody wants spilled Pepsi all over their pants, but my date got really angry and yelled at the server and then insisted that we leave! I can’t seem to erase the scene from my head. Is this a red flag or do I let it go?


Caution Tape


Dear Caution,

Memory Lane

On my second date with my now-husband, a speeding car narrowly missed hitting us. I mean mere centimeters (legs turned to jelly and heart pumping a million miles an hour close) and we would have been in an accident. Speechless for a moment, (shocker, I know) my (future) husband immediately turned to me and apologized for the close call. He only wanted to make sure that I had not been hurt by his need to hit the brakes and we commiserated over the scare. This told me that I wouldn’t have to worry about how he would react under stress or duress. His ability to maintain his composure – to remain clear-headed and calm was certainly an indicator of future behavior.



This does not mean that we must look for ‘Stepford’ spouses that always behave perfectly in every situation. We are human beings with emotions and we sometimes lose our Zen. Like when you’ve been traveling for 10 hours and the airline loses your luggage and Synthia with a S (who spells it that way?!) in “luggage recovery” has no idea where it might be! Sorry. Deep breath. However, for the most part, we hope to marry partners who will be in control of their emotions.


Highway to Happiness

When we date, we often put our best foot forward. We are careful to display good manners and proper middos. So it can be difficult to spot ‘red flags’ or conduct that should concern us. There are behaviors however, that every dater should be aware of that I would consider definite red flags.


The Suggestor

The Suggestor is the date who is always offering “helpful” advice. “I like your idea for our next date, but I think it would be better to…” Or “I don’t think you should order that, I think you would like this dish instead.” If your date is offering you unsolicited suggestions on a constant basis on how you should behave, dress, or conduct yourself, you should consider this a red flag.


The Hothead

The Hothead is the date that gets riled easily and is quick to display a temper. The hothead gets angry because “nobody else knows how to drive!” and loses control when accidents happen (ie. a spilled drink). If your date ever becomes enraged or seems to become irritated on a number of your dates, you can view this as a red flag.


The Dismisser

The Dismisser doesn’t value what you have to say and doesn’t give credence to your thoughts and opinions. The Dismisser will laugh and say, “You’re wrong!” “How could you think that?!” and “You have no idea what you are talking about!” If your date seems to always dismiss your views, consider it a red flag.


The Isolator

The Isolator is hard to spot while dating. The Isolator will not want to hear about your friends or family. They will encourage you to only spend time with them and not those you are close to. Isolating you from people you care about is a red flag that cannot be ignored.

Please remember that we are all human and thus fallible. We make mistakes and lose our cool. However, if your date is consistently suggesting that you change, gets angry at the drop of a hat, dismisses your opinion, or tries to isolate you – please consult with your parents, a trusted friend, or a dating coach. If your gut is telling you something a is red flag, listen!


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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at to schedule a phone session.