I'm a bartender and can spot red flags while you're on your date. Here are 5 things to keep an eye out for.

  • I've been working in the service industry since I was 16 years old.

  • Many first dates happen at bars, and bartenders get a front-row seat to what's happening.

  • If you ever need help with a situation, don't hesitate to ask your bartender for help.

I have bartended and worked in restaurants since I was 16, bar backing, bussing tables, pubs, rum bars, restaurants, and weddings. Now I am 25, I can guarantee that I can spot a red flag during a date from behind the bar.

Many first dates bring people to pubs and bars. It is a laid-back environment where you can have a drink, maybe a casual bite to eat, and get to know one another.

But, in these fine drinking institutions, I am seeing what a sorry state of affairs dating has become — people seem to have forgotten what it means to make a good, honest impression.

I spoke to a dating expert about what I'm seeing as a fly-on-the-wall at the bar. He agrees that these five things are red flags.

Pushing you to drink more — even subtly

Something I see a lot of behind the bar, particularly when people stop by as a second or third spot on a date, is sometimes subtle, but other times super obvious attempts to get someone drunk.

"It is a red flag to pressure anyone on a date to do anything they might not be comfortable doing," said Connell Barrett, author and dating coach.

Whether it is ignoring requests for a single and buying a date a double or waiting until they go to the bathroom to buy them another so they can't say no. No one should ever pressure you to drink more than you want, even more so on a date.

You are dressed for two different dates

We've seen the viral photo of Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber, but I also see it happen at bars. Someone is in sweats while the other is in heels.

If the vibe is off and you seem to have very different ideas about what is date-appropriate, there could be a problem. "Little things can mean a bigger issue; if you are both showing up for a first date, you should want to make a good first impression," Barret said.

Not splitting the bill

The expectation that one person is going to pay for every drink, dinner, or experience is outdated and such a red flag. When I see someone look at the card machine and wait for the other person to pay time it drives me mad. You can be as hot, as interesting as you want, but that does not mean you get a free drink automatically.

"It gives off a sense of entitlement," explained Barrett. "If people aren't on the same page, it feels weird."

Looking at their phone constantly

From behind the bar, it seems people still think it's OK to check their phone and stare at the screen multiple times during a date.

"Give your date one time to check their phone, and don't worry about it," said Barret. We are all busy, and it may be important, but there are boundaries to letting it go. "But if they check it a second time, maybe make a joke about it because we want to make sure when we show up for a date we are being present," Barret added.

Mocking you for the drink you choose

Whatever you want to drink or not drink is your choice, yet I see people regularly mock their date at the bar. Things like calling a cocktail a "girly drink" or mocking a beer for the number of calories it has made me roll my eyes.

"Making these assumptions and saying things like this shows serious insecurity," Barett said.

Many bars across the world have an "Ask For Angela" or Angel Shot system in place where if you ask at the bar for any situation where you are uncomfortable, they can help you leave drama-free. I've both been asked for Angela and have asked at the bar for help in the past and have found bartenders are great at helping you stay safe and supported in an uncomfortable romantic situation.

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