She chuckles politely at your quip, and looks down at her drink. A small silence starts to develop, and a creeping panic begins to develop.
What do I say next?
What do I say whilst I’m thinking of something to say?
I’m thinking right now, and all the time that I am thinking, nothing is being said.
She must think I’m boring — that I have nothing more of value to add to the conversation.
And that silence just keeps on growing…
Keeping the Conversation Alive
There is nothing quite as uniquely horrifying as that moment when you can’t think of anything to say on a date. Or at least, that is the case for some — others seem perfectly capable of carrying on a conversation indefinitely.
In reality, even if you freeze at the very prospect of talking to a potential match, you can learn to converse comfortably and never be in a position where you have nothing to say. Just follow these simple guidelines.
First of all, don’t be afraid of a little silence. It’s no big deal! If you can project comfort and confidence in silence, you’ll give off a far better impression than if you’re a nervous wreck.
After all, what’s the worst that can happen? The silence won’t go on forever — worst case scenario you’ll probably share a knowing chuckle, and you’ll find something to say.
And remember — silence is a positive part of conversation. Try talking to someone without pause for an extended period of time and see how it goes. You must have breaks in conversation to allow people to get their words across, to allow thoughts to develop, and so on. So quit being afraid of it!
Don’t Use Template Conversation Starters
Nothing is worse than a contrived conversation starter. As much as you shouldn’t use template messages when contacting potential matches, you shouldn’t use template conversation starters when talking to them in person.
The problem is that they make a conversation completely disjointed. If you were just talking about your match’s parents and your next question was completely unrelated and forced, it’s would seem a little strange. A conversation should flow – there should be a logical connection from one topic to the next.
So with the above said, what can you use as conversation starters?
This can easily be the first thing you talk about on a date. If your match proposed the location, you can ask them why they like it. If you chose the location, you can ask them what they think of it.
A conversation will probably flow out of this alone. But you can come back to the subject on multiple occasions, and from multiple angles. For instance, I was on a first date last Friday, and about halfway through I asked if the venue that she had picked hosted live gigs. She replied that it did, and we got into a lengthy conversation about live music.
So look around you – there’s plenty to talk about.
Get to Know Your Match
This is another obvious go-to tactic when it comes to starting a conversation. If you have followed my first date advice and prepared yourself appropriately by reading their profile and any messages you have exchanged, you should have a whole bunch of things to ask your match about.
This particular area of conversation is a real winner, for two reasons:
- Everybody likes to talk about themselves.
- Asking people about themselves is a great way of revealing their character.
You’re on the date to find out about the person, so do just that!Ask them about their career, goals, family, friends, and their hobbies. There’s a huge amount to talk about.
This is another area in which you can find out a lot about a person. I remember getting into quite a debate about privatized healthcare with one date a couple of months ago. The conversation told me a lot about her way of thinking.
Furthermore, current events are also something you can bring up out of the blue if a silence is starting to develop. It wouldn’t be at all strange to suddenly say, “Did you hear about the fire at the local brewery the other day?”, because it is something that might naturally be at the front of your mind.
Conversation is a Two Way Street
Never forget that it takes two people to make a conversation. Your match has as much of a “responsibility” to keep a conversation going as you do. So relax and enjoy his or her company, and focus on what you’re there to do — have fun and find out more about your date. You won’t go far wrong.
Creative Commons image courtesy of malias