Nothing is guaranteed to bring on a nervous sweat like the anticipation of a first date. The thought of an evening filled with awkward silences and shifty side glances is enough to make even the most confident Romeo quiver.
There’s lots of great advice here on how to start a conversation and keep it going, but in this post I’ll go one step further and highlight some of the conversational hot potatoes you should avoid if you want to make it to date number two…
1. Medical Ailments
A conversation about your persistent athlete’s foot or the gammy toe you had to have removed last year is probably guaranteed to put your date off that delicious plate of cheesy pasta that’s just arrived. Similarly, listing your eighty three food allergies or the fact that you are a guinea pig in a new trial to cure any kind of skin disease isn’t likely to score well on the attraction-o-meter.
There will hopefully be a time in the future when you can share instructions on how to use that EpiPen, but best to steer clear of it on your first meet. No one likes the thought of becoming a future nursemaid.
Bringing up the subject of how much you earn, the balance of your savings account or what you stand to inherit when Aunt Josephine pops her clogs is an absolute first date no-no. As is asking your date outright what their salary is.
Personal finances are, well, personal and talk of them is not only too serious for an over dinner topic, but should be saved for much, much later. And if your date decides to quiz your monetary stature, be wary. Unless of course you don’t mind a relationship that’s money focused or you quite fancy the nickname Sugar Daddy/Mama.
Talking about your sex life, or lack of sex life, will most likely be a complete turn off to your date.
They don’t want to hear about the time you went all ‘Sting’ and had a tantric sex-a-thon or how many one-night stands you’ve notched up. It’s uncomfortable and totally irrelevant to your date. If you’re looking for a casual encounter that is fine, but I’m assuming your dating goal is to find someone to have a relationship with so you should treat them with respect.
There is a definite line between playful, flirtatious chat and full-on sex line-style smut.
4. Your Ex
The mere mention of your ex will immediately set alarm bells ringing for your date. Are you over this person? Are you this uncomplimentary about all your past partners/people you’ve dated? Any negative tirade against your ex will scream bitterness and lead your date to question how you behave in a relationship.
A first date is your chance to shine and project the positive side of your personality. Sure, we’ve all had bad experiences in love and someday maybe you and your date can swap cringe-worthy stories about your ex. Until then, just don’t do it.
5. Your Past
Ah, Cancun 2002, the year you were crowned Champion Shot Drinker and spent two weeks in a state of alcohol-fuelled semi-consciousness. Probably not your most impressive accolade to date.
Everyone’s got a past, and it’s usually a bit crazy, experimental, and semi-embarrassing. That’s part of life. It doesn’t mean regaling stories of hedonistic partying and wild behavior are acceptable first date topics. After all, you don’t want your date to be left with the lasting image of you completely naked, lying in some gutter throwing up.
6. The Future
This is a tricky one because invariably at some point during the date this topic will come up.
It’s okay to talk about the future in a lighthearted way such as your career aspirations, travel plans, fitness goals etc… but describing your dream wedding right down to the fact that your pet poodle Fluffy will be ring bearer, or revealing the names you want to call your children might be a bit OTT.
Some of you will have been married before and may have children; both facts which you have probably already disclosed in your online profile. That’s fine. But for a first date just avoid any conversations regarding napkin rings, the most romantic honeymoon destinations, or the best schools in the area.
So, go for it!
Relax as much as possible and enjoy your first date.
The advice above is not all about keeping the real you a secret, but rather helping you make a great first impression on a stranger. Divulging your quirks and the things that make you tick come later, and getting to know someone inside and out is the best part of any new relationship.
Photo credit – Wikimedia Commons