No. 3: Unpacking your baggage

Everybody has some baggage in his or her past: bad relationships, family turmoil, maybe even some run-ins with the law.

But these are not things you want to plop down on the table the very first time you are on a date with someone. Yes, you want to get to know each other. And yes, you want to be honest about who you are. But too much too soon is going to freak your date out.

Navigating these waters can be tricky if your date keeps asking you questions about your past. But you don't have to lie to avoid making your conversation a virtual garbage dump. You merely need to create an air of mystery by letting your date know that if she wants to find out your deep, dark secrets, she'll will have to go on a few more dates with you.

This will intrigue her instead of sending her running for the door.

And speaking of running for the door ...

woman disgusted on bad date

No. 2: Having bad hygiene/manners

Nothing turns a potential mate off more than someone who is smelly, unkempt or uncouth.

Showing up for your date fresh out of a session at the gym with no shower is likely to get you the boot before the date even gets off the ground. Forgetting to iron your clothes or comb your hair is not very impressive, either; it sends your date the signal that you really don't care enough about her to bother.

And while you don't have to be a protégé of Miss Manners to make a good impression on your date, you don't exactly want to take your cues from Larry the Cable Guy either.

Chewing with your mouth open at dinner or passing gas during a movie are sure ways to guarantee that there is no second date in your future.

And here is one more ...

people talking over coffee in coffeehouse

No. 1: Bringing a sidekick

You may think that it is common sense that when you are going on a date, it is just going to be the two of you.

But you would be surprised at how many people decide to bring their best friend, their brother or their child along on the date with them. Usually there is some last-minute excuse as to why "two's company" has suddenly turned into "three's a crowd."

The friend just showed up and had nowhere to go; the babysitter fell through; we are Siamese twins. OK, the last one is a valid excuse.

But no matter how nervous you are about being alone with this person, bringing a sidekick is only going to make matters worse. If you're worried about your safety, simply meet in a public place.

And just remember, even Batman doesn't bring Robin everywhere he goes.