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Cold case investigator Paul Holes, the man who caught the Golden State Killer, is a professional people reader. He can pick out a dipshit from a mile away but what I wanted to know is what about the potential dipshit who is sitting across from you at a restaurant.

After you’ve matched with someone on your dating app of choice and you’re ready to meet for the first time there must be some warning signs that this person is not good for you. There might even be some warning signs that this person is not good, period. I asked a professional to help me craft some dating Do’s and Don’ts for when you’re meeting someone for the first time.

Catch Paul Holes (and Billy Jensen!) at our Death Becomes Us true crime festival Saturday, November 9, 2019! Grab your tickets here. (And click here if you’re interested in a meet & greet!)

Don’t Date Someone Who Minimizes Bad Things In Their Past

Paul Holes: Here’s an extreme example, a serial predator I won’t name who, is currently awaiting trial. He was arrested and after his interview his wife, who he met online, comes in and they’re talking. When they met he was a registered sex offender. He’s been a registered sex offender since the 70’s.

Brightest Young Things: Well I’ve never had a job that long.

PH: It’s one of those things where of course at a certain point in the relationship she realizes he’s a registered sex offender. When asked what he did to become a registered sex offender, he minimizes it. He ends up saying “It was a youthful indiscretion. I was a teenage boy and we were at a party. We were drunk and there was a girl. I thought it was consensual. It was really kind of a trivial thing.” After he broke into that woman’s apartment he sexually assaulted her and strangled her.

Do Google The Strangers You’re About To Meet

Paul Holes: If it’s a guy you don’t know, you have to dig deeper so you understand where he’s coming from.

BYT: I once matched with a dude on a dating app and I Googled his number, which led me to find some random newspaper story about how he was accused of rape. I sent him the screen shot to let him know I busted him.

PH: You did the smart thing. In this day and age you do have some resources (case search: MD, DC, VA) to find certain aspects of people’s background, but you won’t find everything. That’s when you have to pay attention to the person. If they are just glossing over some things about their past you should find out more.

BYT: I feel like the second I see registered sex offender I’m out. I don’t need to know anything else, don’t need that story.

PH: I would encourage people to take that stance.

BYT: And I am not victim blaming at all but that is a huge red flag and there is no reason why you should give them the benefit of the doubt. You don’t know them and you don’t owe them anything.

PH: And that’s probably the biggest red flag.

If they are just glossing over some things about their past, you should find out more.

Don’t Date Someone Who Only Talks About Themselves

PH: Texting is so impersonal. It really comes down to that face-to-face interaction. Now you’re talking to them. You’re watching them. You’re seeing that body language. They are engaging in conversation, but where does that conversation go? If you have somebody who only talks about themselves in glowing terms you probably have a narcissist.

BYT: Ah yes. What should we be looking for here and why is this not good?

PH: Obviously the person is focused on themselves. They aren’t paying attention to what the other person is saying. They won’t ask the other person questions in order to find out more. Most people on a date want to know more about the other person. There should be an equal back and forth sharing of information about each other. If this person is just talking about themselves in a bragging kind of way, you are dealing with someone who is on that narcissistic spectrum and there will be other issues down the road with someone like that because they want the attention on them. At a certain point, when the dating relationship gets to when the other person is no longer focused on them you will see the jealous rage kick in. That is an individual you have to be aware of.

BYT: You just described every date I’ve been on.

Do Make Sure They’re Asking Questions About You

PH: Fundamentally, there is still that aspect when someone is on the chase so that person needs to display an aspect of their personality that is appealing.

BYT: Are you talking about peacocking?

PH: Well, guys are gonna play themselves up to a woman. When it goes to the extreme, that’s when you have the issues. In a relationship, the other person’s interests will be minimized.

Don’t Date A Psychopath

PH: The psychopath is an individual that is lacking empathy and has learned how to portray themselves to look normal to a point.

BYT: That’s like a Ted Bundy type? How does a psychopath feel about the person they are on a date with? Is it just an extension of mimicking that normalcy?

PH: Psychopaths have the same biological drives that normal individuals have. That person is going to get into a dating relationship with someone ultimately to get what they want. What you see with a psychopath, especially in the beginning, is they are very charming. They’re engaging and they’re able to basically read the person they’re talking to and figure out what that person wants to get that connection. They are very intuitive about that. It’s very very hard to separate the psychopath at the very beginning of the relationship from someone who is genuinely interested in you.

BYT: So there is nothing in the initial meeting that you can be on the lookout for from a psychopath.

PH: I think if you have an intelligent psychopath you’re going to have problems. Psychopaths are chronic liars. If you have somebody who is making certain statements that you go, “Oh that’s not right,” and the person doesn’t even bat an eye because they don’t care if you think they’re telling the truth or not they may switch gears and keep going. This chronic lying in a non empathetic individual could show up sooner rather than later depending on how much talking is happening.

What you see with a psychopath, especially in the beginning, is they are very charming.

Do Be Critical In Your Thinking When Meeting Someone

PH: There are times when people embellish about their past and that’s normal.

BYT: Right, I used to tell people I graduated college when I didn’t. I am not a psychopath.

PH: If you catch a normal person in a lie they will be somewhat nervous.

BYT: And psychopaths tell utterly useless lies. They serve no purpose.

PH: They can’t help themselves.

BYT: Are all psychopaths pathological liars?

PH: That’s how they make their gains in life. They are good salesmen. They rise to high levels in their company because they don’t care about their coworkers. No matter what it takes, they will do what they need to do in order to succeed. It doesn’t matter if it hurts their coworkers.

Don’t Date The Person With Nerves of Steel

PH: The average person on the first date will be nervous. The psychopath isn’t. That guy isn’t feeling the normal first date emotions. Either he’s so practiced at it or he is just emotionally void. You can still see the awkwardness in a confident guy but you won’t see that in a psychopath.

Not A Do Or Don’t, But Be Careful With OCD

PH: I think one of the primary personality issues that you have to really pay attention to is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

BYT: First of all I want to say that none of these things are dealbreakers. Well psychopathy is. I definitely don’t view OCD as a dealbreaker.

PH: Well it’s a very broad spectrum. I have OCD. I kind of like to get into a routine and I don’t like that routine to be disrupted. And my mom is anorexic and that’s a form of OCD.

BYT: All of this is born from control. It’s this desire to control your environment because for some reason at some point things felt out of control so you tried to control your environment.

PH: When you come down to that OCD component this is something that feeds a stalker.

BYT: Would you say most stalkers have OCD?

PH: There is an obsessive aspect about it because the stalker has fixated on an individual and there are so many different reasons why they fixate on the person they’re stalking. It becomes an obsession for that stalker. They may text that person 100 times a day. This person just has to have that feedback from the other person. When that other person isn’t giving that feedback now there’s that hurt and that rage that occurs. They kick into this…it’s now no longer too many phone calls or texts. It’s now getting into where they are trying to terrorize the other person. That is a component and it’s a cycle they do not break out of. That’s a very dangerous individual.

BYT: What leads somebody to that place. Obviously a lot of people have OCD and this doesn’t happen.

PH: Who knows. Most psychopaths aren’t serial killers.

BYT: And we’re not saying you should avoid someone with OCD but it’s something to consider.

PH: Be weary of the person who expresses jealousy very early on in the relationship. That person wants the focus all on them.

BYT: What’s sad though, and this is very unfortunate, a lot of women view jealousy as a compliment. I’ve done that.

PH: This guy will become very controlling and will isolate you from anything you want to do.

BYT: I’ve been guilty of feeling that this guy really likes me.

PH: Everybody gets jealous but it’s how you express it. It’s their insecurity. If they cross the line they will restrict you as a person and that’s not okay.