What’s Your Dating Deal Breaker?

There’s one of those lists going around that starts with a number and ends in a truth, something to the effect of “21 realities of dating in your Twenties.” And though I winced my way through it (either out of snobbism or because it was hitting too close to home, reader’s choice) there was one that stood out: the only difference between someone being creepy or romantic is if you find them attractive.

This is often true. An absolute serial killer could text me something about wearing my skin as a face mask, but if he had the hair of Tom Cruise circa Risky Business and the face of Seth Cohen, I’d be like, “Aww!”

However, every woman has at least a few pre-set standards that even the most beautiful of potential suitors can’t overcome once broken, because whether it’s fair or not, Deal Breakers are set in stone.

Leandra, back in her single days, would throw up red flags when first dates tried to eat from her plate. (“Throw up” as in “raise”…she wouldn’t actually barf. I don’t think, at least.) Overcompensation was also a big no, like the time Leandra’s date pointed out her Hermes bracelet and then flashed open his sport coat to display his own larger-than-life “H.”

Charlotte and her friends have a thing against vests and bad sunglasses, plus ill-fit jeans with awful shoes.

I can’t handle a number of things, like poor manners, bad breath, lack of restaurant etiquette, overly aggressive eye contact, name-dropping, financial bragging, and voices. Oh god. I hate when guys do “voices.” It’s like they did it once to impersonate someone, and a friend of theirs laughed, so now this voice is their “thing.” I find nothing creepier than a man who is talking in his regular tone and then BAM! I’m blindsided with a faux-English accent a la Austin Powers — the spy who will definitely not be shagging me. Whoa, dude. Stick with what your mother gave you.

Perhaps having Deal Breakers is too picky. Maybe it’s setting us up for failure, or at least extending the amount of time we’ll spend looking for The One.

But I’m not looking for The One yet — just someone who doesn’t stare at me for too long, who doesn’t drink from their tumblers with a straw and knows that snapping at waitresses is rude. What about someone who at the very least doesn’t watch Everybody Loves Raymond. I hate Raymond! Is that too much to ask? 

It might be. But more importantly, what are your dating deal breakers? I know you have some good ones.

  • Natalie Prusich

    Indecisiveness. Can’t choose a place to eat, time of day to meet, what to order…

    • Lucy

      100% agree with this.. indecisiveness tells me that they are either lazy and disinterested, that they lack confidence. Man Up!

  • Christina Esposito

    Agree whole-heartedly on the vest thing. I think everyone should, really.
    Bad manners also are a deal breaker for me; if you can’t respect people around you, there’s no way he’s going to be inclined to respect me.
    Another deal breaker is someone arguing/talking about something they don’t know anything about, like politics, religion, science, whatever. Using big words won’t score you points if I can see right through your bullshit.

    • annelie

      Urgh mansplaining is surely a NO for everyone.

  • Carly Burks

    Mrs. Leandra, you are a queen! Your blog is my go-to for robust and fulfilling content. It’s refreshing to hear another person’s point of view when it comes to certain topics. Also, you always seem to add a bit of humor in every piece you write. Have a wonderful day/night! <3


    • c.a.

      This was actually written by Amelia Diamond.

  • rhiarhia

    Spitting. Some guys are just so nonchalant about it… walking down the street and just SPIT! Why do you think that’s okay dude?!

    • Amelia Diamond

      this spitting thing has really taken over!

  • Peeing on the street when there’s no place to pee.
    Dude! hold yourself, Are u a baby!

  • Kit

    Um, ‘This one time, when I was with my ex-girlfriend…”

  • Kelly Johnson

    Smoking. As much as I love to stick my tougue in an ashtray…

  • Manning

    short sleeved henley…

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahaha i love this one because it’s so specific

  • Aubrey Green

    double standards. ie: they hate when people are late, but they’re always late – there are bound to be some major double standards in your relationship if you keep dating them.

  • Not holding the door/walking in first into a restaurant/bar…. To me it’s the dating equivalent of overly impatient men in airplanes that watch women struggle to grab their oversized carry-on from the overhead bins instead of offering a hand… How about a little chivalry???

    • M

      Actually, according to etiquette, men are supposed to walk first into a restaurant. Look it up

      • Are they also supposed to walk in first 10 feet in front and let the door close behind them before you could actually get in? I was talking from recent experience 😉

  • Dancingcheektocheek

    Every man who drank a manly amount is aware not drinking from tumblers with a straw forebodes tooth decay. Who wants to do that (e.g. tooth decay ‘lady’)?

    • annelie

      Nope you have completely lost me there

  • LilyP

    gosh I guess I’ve been in a relationship for so long that nothing really bothers me anymore….once you get past the dating stage all of these things you mentioned somehow become ok.

    • Sara

      Absolutely TRUE! These things mentioned in the post are actually so trivial, and somehow immature.

      • Amelia Diamond

        These things only apply to someone new! Relationships wouldn’t last if people didn’t learn to ignore (and dare I say love) all the annoying things.

        • Chicspace/Marguerite

          But then when you start hating those things again….you know the clock is ticking.

          • LilyP

            lol. true, true. i guess i’m too forgiving a person, even a criminal record didn’t stop me xD

  • Hanne

    saying things in the baby voice. but also bad manners, like amelia, and i dislike thick white stitching in dark jeans, and too long jeans that are cuffed at the ankle to make them not be dragged through the street dirt

  • “Debraaaaa!!”

  • Laura Mitchell

    Hates cats.

  • I was just asked this the other day! Here was my response: intolerance, wearing a backpack at inappropriate times, a boring palate, telling me how much money your parents make, and overuse of the 😉 face in texting (vommmmm).

    • Amelia Diamond

      “wearing a backpack at inappropriate times” ahhahah

  • A dating deal breaker for me is when all they do is talk about themselves, and don’t ask questions about me. Also, chewing with the mouth open.

    • M

      “when all they do is talk about themselves, and don’t ask questions about me”

      YES!! THIS!!!

    • Ellen

      YES!! absolutely agree!
      And if he talks about other women in derogatory terms. Even if it’s someone you don’t like, it’s horrible hearing your date refer to an other woman as a “slut”.

  • Not having your shit together. I cannot stand when they don’t know where they are, they don’t know where they’re going and everything is maybe, if, someday blabla. Just pick something and go with it.


    • annelie

      Yeah-especially as I often suspect that this is code for ‘I’m waiting to see if something better comes up’ or ‘I don’t really respect your time as much as I respect mine’ in which case DUMP DUMP DUMP

  • BethanyBeach

    Bad grammar. One time a guy texted me, “ur all i ned.” Needless to say, that was our last conversation.

  • Cass

    i realized the other day that I’ve never dated anyone that wears a baseball hat. Not even sometimes. One guy even worked for an MLB team – no hat ever. I think maybe i subconsciously see a baseball hat and think cargo shorts, terrible sandals, too baggy everything… no thank you. God i really need to leave the midwest.

  • Ruth

    Is currently in the midst of a messy, prolonged divorce. Red Flag.

  • Janet

    Noticeably yellow teeth: signs of bad health and hygiene, or they’re smokers / drug users. And its not cute. No thanks.

    • charles

      genetics are responsible for tooth colour more than anything else, so basically this is just rude and judgemental.

  • Oh, if the guy can’t spell. Immediate turn-off.

  • Amanda

    Not leaving a good tip. Using bad grammar and spelling errors when texting.

  • FLIP FLOPS!!! Any guy that wears flip flops I’m just like no. May be shallow but come on no one wants to look at your gross feet

  • ashton


  • Tavi

    Laughing during parts of a movie that are clearly not meant to make you laugh. It’s not funny. Stop doing that loud bro laugh/snort.

  • belulopezchamba

    Barfing. Oh god no.
    Also, here in Argentina, a strong deal breaker is “Sport shoes + Jeans”. Yeah, we are picky like that.

  • Liz J

    Using too many emojis and smileys… it gives me the creeps

  • Brooke W

    I came up with this one after my last relationship: he was the nicest guy, liked to please everyone but could just be the slightest bit of cruel or condescending, which now I see made him an asshole. So my deal breakers are: meanness (even for a joke), smoking, exclamation points or smiley faces, licking his fingers or using his hands + silverware to eat non-finger food, and my dog has to like him.

    • BEP

      Too! many! exclamation! points! seriously! gets! on! my! wick!!!! !

    • OMG yes. I had a guy lick his knife at brunch. That was the end.

  • Charlotte

    Tightass = huge deal breaker

  • girlinmenswear

    Smell – too much as well as too little. And being boring, indifferent, indecisive and unmotivated.

  • Sofia

    Bad manners and bragging are real big turn off’s.

  • BEP

    I once dated a guy…we’d been dating a month or so, he was staying over at my place for the first time…he took his jeans off and low and behold, he was wearing – speedos. I asked him why he was wearing speedos and not regular underwear and he said ‘oh I didn’t have any clean one’s left so I wore these’. I was so shocked I had to ask him to leave. That was the last time I saw him. DEAL BREAKER!

  • Cogitate

    a sure dealbreaker for me is when the guy cant talk sensible stuffs..

  • Millicent

    Theft and aggravated robbery. Also socks with sandals/thong flip flops. No way can I get down on it when those choices are made.

  • KK


    • Sully Ann

      Agreed !

      • annelie


    • Cindy

      Licking his plate after dinner!

  • Sully Ann

    I dislike when you are telling a story and you are interrupted like if what you are saying is not important at all! Even worse if they interrupted you to tell you that something “similar” happened to them and they try to upstage you by their story being funnier or worse ! I’m trying to tell you something and he can’t be bothered to listen?

  • ava

    Interested in only sex. Door!

  • Vicky

    I can’t take when guys are too full on ie. double texting, planning the next 3 dates and asking when they can see you again constantly (sorry, I’m experiencing this at the moment and it’s waaaaay too intense!). It’s a total turn off. Along with when guys make a big deal about buying the drinks / dinner as if you should feel lucky.

  • dagmara cintron

    Stoner voice: taking long pauses in the middle of your sentences, taking way more time than needed to say something, stretching a word out for longer than you should. And the laugh! The stoner laugh, goodness. Please, spare me all the stoner guys.

  • MargaretInArabia

    Ostentation or deficit in dress, manner or conversation; pointy shoes, .

  • ximena

    Heavy breathing and dad noises as portrayed by Peter Griffin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kjl1-UW4sYU

  • Rebecca

    Bad manners are not cool.

    A guy who tries toooo hard, ech, calm down, that’s my deal breaker. Or possessive, bigger ech, no thanks!

    It would be interesting to read a man’s version of this feature!


  • popular among the comments is failing the shoe test! cant stand it when a guy is wearing terrible shoes with his jeans. shoe test trumps all.

    texting is a deal breaker. sure, i text as much as the next girl, but if you’re going to ask me on a date and we are just starting to get to know each other, I demand a phone call. We are adults and you can reach me at my direct line.

  • Lilacvrp

    If I see body hair in my shower, he’s gone

  • Al

    When they desperately want a reason to tease you, so they pick something normal you said and pretend like its funny and you’re like, “Why are you trying to force this part of our conversation to be something that it isn’t? Like, wait until I actually say something humorous.”

  • jl

    I didn’t date a guy in high school for a few reasons. One made up a heftier percentage of that reasoning than it maybe should have: his breath. It appeared he just generally didn’t have great dental hygiene habits. We were really close friends and would have been a great match, but it never happened. Now I am living with a man who needs the more-than-occasional gentle reminder that he should probably brush his teeth (and also maybe shower). Either I lowered my standards or love conquers all.

  • halfgirl

    Dislike of animals, inability to spell, and insistence on always txting instead of calling (especially when paired with spelling inability). I’m old fashioned like that.

  • Anon

    A lack of interest in reading…and you’re latest issue of Sports Illustrated does not count!

  • Emily

    Bad shoes, and when they pull/scrunch up their jeans towards their knees when it gets hot. Just put on some shorts!
    I also hate it when a guy I hardly knows tells me what to do or what I’m thinking/mean. Pisses me off

  • She is Impeccable

    Sports is a deal breaker. If you’re a sports fanatic and act like an uncivilized animal in front of the television when any sports team is on, we’re donzo…although I can smell sports fans from continents away so I doubt we’d even make it to a first date.

  • John

    No idea how I ended up on this article as I’m a man but my biggest deal breaker is drama and mean-spirited girls

  • Yagmur

    Waxed chests. *woms*

    • Cass

      But also super hairy chests :/

      • theredheadsaid

        to each their own, i LOVE hairy chests! as long as the hair stays there and doesn’t make it down to their hands.

  • Tb

    I love this! Once I got “let’s go on a date but you’ll have to pick me up from mine as I’ve lost my licence” worst date ever

    • theredheadsaid

      I met a guy out at a bar and he did the reverse, “can you give me a ride home? I don’t have a car.” He didn’t seem like the bicycle type, so then I start wondering why he doesn’t have a car (no money, no license, on the lam, etc.)

  • badea.alexandra

    Ass touching in public spaces or bragging about ex girlfriends.

  • Gemmé

    Guys that constantly compare you to their laundry list of exes-learned that one the hard way but it was a good lesson in how immature men act, which is a huge red flag!

  • RachelKati

    I’m not in my 20s anymore but its the same as it has always been and always will be: SMOKING! It’s just repellent. *pun intended

  • RachelKati

    Oh and making me pay on the first date when he knew I was unemployed. Rude.

    • theredheadsaid

      i would have said, “excuse me I have to go to the ladies’ room” and then ducked out the back and left him with the check.

  • totally agreeing with the ill-fitting jeans and bad shoes! A man in old Wranglers and a pair of Asics at a bar is the absolute worst! … http://www.LEZU.COM

  • Adrianne

    Smoking and Selfies

  • Laura Robinson

    I’m a married lady, but I came across something that would be a total deal breaker for me… CPL. I actually saw a guy with a gun on his hip with his date in a restaurant. That date would end at my doorstep… as in, no, I can already tell you this isn’t going to work out, let’s not waste our time.

  • Olivia

    Any guy who’s unaware of the definition of the word ”humility” aka who brags about anything and everything. Also, guys that are unable to go back and question their values or their actions are instant red flags.

  • my ex’s morning breath

  • Leona

    I know I’m a little late to join in here but…being over-comfortable on a first date (especially) you’ve got your arm around me and we haven’t even reached the coffee shop yet? I don’t think so.

  • Bragging, being rude and bad shoes.

  • I recently went on a date, firstly he was late cause he was sleeping. He couldn’t decide what movie to watch, continued to act like a 15 year old, chewed his food and then showed it to me and made annoying voices calling my name. He’s 25, you think he would have grown up by now. Never again.

  • Sarah

    An absolute deal breaker is when I ask a guy what Kind of Music he likes and he just replies “whatever is on the Radio or in the Charts” or “I don’t listen to Music much”. Whenever a guy does this, I can’t help, but feel disappointed, because for me Music makes the world go round 🙂

  • Katherine

    Ed Hardy shirts.

  • Smith

    As a man I have to admit I see myself in a few of these deal-breakers! It’s a little off-putting, but when you consider the deeper reasoning you are probably onto something. For example, what would it say about me which could never be unsaid if I wore Crocs on a date? Human dignity is at issue here. Men probably have deal-breakers too, maybe not so explicit. Also, if we are doing the asking (which is still the norm, strangely, isn’t it?), and we have met in real life, the deal-breaker card will have been played before any date is arranged – the date will never happen in the first place.

  • Colleen

    White pointed shoes of any animal skin variety.

  • went on a date with a doctor…. i brought skittles to share…. and all i remember was him smacking them so loud the bartender across the way could hear. Clearly he never went to Cotillion…

    Table manners are important & grace… yes even for a man

  • Brooklyn Blonde

    “Sooooooo…what about me did you find attractive?” Ummmmm nothing deuces

  • I went on a first date this past summer and it was so strange! First off, he was late his band practice ran late…. and then once we finally met up, I could have sworn he was high. I don’t have a problem with weed, but when I’m trying to get to know someone for the first time, it’s tough not knowing whether they’re laughing at your jokes because they think you’re funny, or if it’s just because they’re high. No attention span either… We listened to an outdoor concert and he ran into a girl he knew who was married to a good friend of his and invited her to sit down in-between us! After the concert we went to a BYOB Indian food place and grabbed dinner. Then he asks me if I’d like to go by his friends place after because he has to pick something up there. For whatever reason, I agreed and I end up meeting two of his good friends who both live in the same building, and then he decides to start smoking with them and that’s when I decided to leave. Not sure why I didn’t leave sooner, though.

    • So all of the above are my Deal Breakers. There was no second date.