Nobody said heading off to your first date with someone would be easy, especially when this is one of your first first dates and you barely know what you’re doing. You might be excited, but no doubt the excitement will be tinged with some nervousness. First dates shine a spotlight on us like few other situations. You’ll be putting on a performance, and your failure to perform could paint a terrible picture of you and haunt you forever. If you need a few pointers, we’ve got you covered here at Elixuer. Here are some ways to talk to a first date, as well as ways you shouldn’t talk to a first date.
Inquire About Present Day Life
When you’re struggling to decide what to ask your new date, it’s perfectly okay to just ask, “So, how are you today?” Don’t overthink it. Since this is a date, the person you’re with may be willing to divulge more than, let’s say, a cashier would if asked the same question—and this basic question may end up leading to a long conversation full of insights. Maybe “how are you?” is a boring opening on a dating app, but when you’re gearing up for a long in-person meetup, nobody can fault you for asking about someone’s day or week.
Make Contextual Observations
In moments when things feel a little awkward—and there’s very well likely going to be lulls in the conversation during your first meeting with this near-stranger—it doesn’t hurt to look around at your surroundings for inspiration. Go ahead and talk about the weather. You might find out your date is infinitely fascinated with the weather. Comment on the food you’re eating and ask about their food. Make a note of some detail in the landscape and use your observation as a launching pad for a question. For example, “I love that necklace you’re wearing. Where did you get it?”
Find Out What Makes Them Tick
“Do you have any hobbies?” “What musicians are you into these days?” “What’s the best book you’ve ever read?” and “Are there any countries you’d love to visit?” are acceptable questions on a first date. They’re positive, not too intrusive, inoffensive, and they can potentially open the door to further questions—and the more comfortable you feel with your date, the easier it’ll be to ask deeper and less generic questions. Just be careful not to shoot off these questions like you’re conducting a job interview. Ask one question, let the discussion flow naturally and organically until the thread of your conversation seems to be at an end, then think of another question to ask.
Ask Follow-Up Questions
Referring back to natural and organic conversation… How exactly do you achieve such a thing? The short answer is you listen and bounce off portions of what your date is saying to you. Additionally, you ensure your part of the conversation is engaging and multi-dimensional, so your date has some openings to respond and ask their own follow-up questions. The date will get extremely awkward extremely fast if neither of you are supplying enough information to feed off. What you should aim for is a steady back and forth where the action rarely stops.
What Should You Not Talk About on a First Date?
It can be as equally helpful to know what you shouldn’t talk about on a first date. Some subjects are sure to turn your date off and have them flagging the waitstaff for the cheque. Here are some key talking points you should avoid on your first romantic outing with a new special someone.
Discussing the Exes
Being too hung up on an ex-partner and eager to rant or sob about them is a red flag. It signals to your date that maybe you’re not ready to be pursuing a new relationship, and perhaps you still have feelings for your ex.
Everyone’s got problems. That’s a given—and nobody hates you for having a past or challenges to overcome. But first dates are meant to be fun, lighthearted, and low-pressure. Unveiling the bulk of your tragic backstory from the get-go may suggest to your date that you’re not looking for love so much as a free therapist, or it may be a clue you need to work on your boundaries.
TMI—Too Much Information
Again, you’re human and you’ve got lots of human stuff going on, and some of it is gross. Everyone knows that. However, maybe you shouldn’t lead with any of that. Your date doesn’t need to know exactly what you’re going to do in the restroom or how you violated the toilet last week when you overindulged in Mexican food. They just met you. They’re not ready to know you like that.
Everything About You
Don’t forget to ask your date some questions about themselves. It’s totally normal to ramble a bit when you’re nervous or, likewise, forget to ask other people questions—but do try to reel yourself in every so often and squeeze in some questions of your own. If you only talk about yourself, you’re bound to come off as selfish and disinterested.
Luke Miles | Staff Writer