Are you excited about your first date with a guy or girl you just met? Maybe you’re already feeling the attraction so you’re a little nervous. Or maybe you haven’t dated in a while so you’re testing the waters – and not sure what to say or how to act. First, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re just getting to know each other. There’s no need to put additional pressure on yourself.
That said, when we get nervous, we tend to say or do things that we normally wouldn’t. Or when we feel a connection to someone new, it may cause us to disclose too much, too soon. Remember, you’re still learning about each other, so it’s important in the beginning to keep the conversation light and away from quick judgments and confessionals. Following are a few conversation tips to keep in mind:
Keep your exes to yourself. I have some friends who went through bad breakups and liked to discuss their exes on dates – what they did wrong, how they left the relationship, and how awful these exes are now. These friends usually weren’t asked out again. If your tendency is to complain about your ex, do yourself a favor: don’t bring him/her up in the first place! There’s nothing more discouraging on a first date than listening to a litany of complaints about an old romantic partner. It’s much better to focus on the present – and your date who is right in front of you. If you’re asked about your break-up, kindly say that you don’t want to discuss it yet. Heavy topics can wait until you get to know each other a little better. Have fun and build your relationship first.
Leave work behind. It’s tempting to talk about office politics, gossip, or your current workload and projects, but you’re on a date. It’s not exactly romantic or flirtatious to bring the office with you, so don’t.
Don’t argue politics. I know it’s a Presidential election year and we’re bombarded with news and updates about it. Politics is a hot-button topic these days, and if you start a diatribe about your views, it might be intimidating or threatening to your date. Remember, this is the time to be fun and flirtatious, so leave politics for later should the relationship progress.
Drop the attitude. This is especially important, because if you’ve been dating a while, you might have adopted one without realizing it. If you’re judging your dates in the first couple of minutes based on what they look like or how they speak, take a step back. Instead of making assumptions, I challenge you to engage more and really get to know your date. Just because you’ve had certain experiences with some women doesn’t make it true for all.
Keep conversation light. I’ll remind you again that you’re not at work or at a bitch session with friends. So lighten up and enjoy the moment. Practice your flirting. Mix things up, like going ice skating instead of grabbing a drink. Being active allows both of you to be a little more loose. Focus on having fun.
Ask questions and be engaged. A date isn’t a job interview, so don’t come armed with a list of your great qualifications. Instead, focus on the other person. There’s no need to interrogate, but feel free to ask questions about what he likes to do on the weekend or where he’s traveled. Engage with each other. If there’s no chemistry, then try to enjoy yourself and practice holding your end of the conversation. That way, you’re ready when the right person does come along.
Kelly Seal is a freelance writer whose contributions have appeared in The Huffington Post, Slate, Examiner, MSN, Yahoo! Living, YourTango, The Frisky, and Divine Caroline among others. A native of Houston, Texas, she moved to L.A. and spent six years as a speed dating host and countless more online dating, learning to navigate the city’s fickle dating culture. She blogs and video blogs on dating and relationships at www.kellyseal.com.