The grueling first date.
You've shuffled through the awkwardness of meeting, asking, planning, and getting up the nerves to actually go on the date. You've both shaved, picked out clothes, showered until you skin was raw. Before you know it, you're at the restaurant and you've ordered your food.
So now, you get to the conversation, which is where most of us get tongue-tied and go awry. What do you talk about? What do you not talk about? After all, a first date is like a job interview-you're trying to figure out if you're right for the permanent position.
There are a few rules you can follow, though, that will get you through this mine field of "to speak or not to speak," resulting in a good first date that leaves you plenty to discuss on the elusive second date. And knowing what topics are ok and what topics aren't is always a good place to start.
Always work by the rule of three: no politics, no religion, no exes. These are topics that tend to get people defensive, and that always results in a more heated discussion than anyone should have on the first date.
"Exes? Don't open that can of worms until you know it can be brought up without the worry of comparison."
The left wing/right wing controversy can always be settled later, once you know each other. Unless you know that your religion is the same, it could kill the mood faster than an air raid if you suddenly shout out that you're Buddhist and have issues with Christian religions. And exes, well, that should be obvious. Don't open that can of worms until you know it can be brought up without the worry of comparison. Because we all fear being a rebound or not living up to the "one who came before."
What other mines should you dodge?
- Sexuality, in my opinion. Unless it is common for you to sleep with someone on the first date, leave sexual experiences and the amount of partners you have had out of it. Sex is something that many people believe is an incredibly important experience, and you can't get how someone views that part of their life in the first date. So leave it for a bit.
- Next is your family. Sure, your mom may be overly depressed and driving you crazy with her obsessive tendencies, and that grandfather of yours might be pushing for marriage and great-grandchildren. But try to stay away from your family issues on the first date. It's one thing to mention that, yes, you have a sister, or your brother works in the same field as your date. But don't get too in depth.
- Beware bringing up your friends in too much detail, as well as your habits of partying, your music likes, your literary favorites. Anything that can be decidedly opinionated, such as someone's view on the newest book by Klahed Hosseini, needs to be left out of this date.
So, what do you talk about? If you have a list of things that you shouldn't discuss, what should be appropriate conversation?
- Careers, hobbies, goals in life
- Keep the conversation light
- Mention something that makes you memorable
- The first date is all about the basics
There are plenty of topics you can bring up, as a first date is you getting to know someone at a most basic level, usually, and vice versa. So careers, hobbies, goals in life, and the normal statistics are fair game. Think of all the things you know about your friends and relatives without asking, and that is what you can cover.
The first date is all about the basics, with a few anecdotal stories of high school or childhood thrown in to give you some character, something to be remembered by.
You want to get to know someone and let them know you, not find out everything about them in one sitting. And you can always keep the conversation light, such as discussing a local event or a movie you saw last week.
- No politics, no religion, no exes
- No sex talk
- No heavy family issues
- No crazy partying stories!
Obviously, this is just a start on how first dates can be like one of the worst war zones you can go into. And some things on this list would be fine to discuss with some first date choices. Politics could be discussed if you met through volunteering for a local campaign office, and religion if you met at a church function. Or, you might have known your date for some time before heading in a romantic direction.
All of these are factors to consider when choosing your topic of conversation. But hopefully, this will give that extra boost that some of us need when you get to that awkward silence on a date and feel you're not sure what you can bring up. Because we've all been there, and I know I wish I had some idea of what I should have talked about.