If you're single and experienced when it comes to the dating game, you know how difficult it is to find a winner. While you may find yourself critiquing the other party, it may be time to take a new (and healthy) approach—focusing on yourself and how you can best prepare to make a good impression. To help you navigate the world of relationships, Business Insider tapped a panel of dating and relationship experts who came up with most common mistakes that can instantly kill your connection. In order to avoid these turnoffs, we narrowed it down to three easily adjustable things to keep in mind when prepping for your first (or second or third) date.
Slacking on Self-Care
It's very important to feel comfortable in your own skin, but experts warn that self-care is a common concern when it comes to dating prospects. "Bad hygiene habits turn people off because they seem simple to attend to or address," explains Terri Orbuch, PhD, relationship expert and author of Finding Love Again. "And people infer that the bad self-care habits infer something about the person's habits in a relationship. The potential partner can't or doesn't have the time/effort/inclination to take care of him/herself—why then would they have the care/effort/inclination to put forth with someone else?"
Being All About Yourself
This seems obvious since dating involves two people, but self-absorption is a real and common red flag. As explained by Michael McNulty, master trainer and certified Gottman relationship therapist from The Chicago Relationship Center, "People who are always first and foremost centered on their owns needs to the exclusion of others are unable to be in healthy, growth-promoting relationships. The constant focus on themselves leaves their partners questioning the legitimacy their of own needs."
Always Looking for Negatives
It's all about attitude, and fortunately it's something you can control in your own favor. Joseph Burgo, psychotherapist and author of The Narcissist You Know, explains it best in terms of how to start a relationship, saying, "We need to share positive, mutually fulfilling experiences that promote connection and serve as a cushion for later difficulties. If one partner makes exclusive use of a relationship as a dumping ground for bad feelings, the other person has little reason to hold on."
Next up: the five (very human) defense mechanisms that can get in the way of a healthy relationship.