The idea of meeting someone new can make a lot of people want to turn and run away. Sure, it’s really exciting to go on a date with someone you truly like, but sometimes being the center of attention can be daunting.
What do you even talk about? How do you make sure you aren’t talking too much? What about the awkward silence?
First dates are awkward. If only you could skip the first date and go straight to the less awkward, knowing-each-other-hanging-out phase, things would be so much easier, right?
One of the most important things on any first date is, of course, the conversation. Unless you spend the entire date making out, you have to talk to them. And there are certain topics you should avoid, no matter how comfortable you feel in their company.
Here are 11 things you should not talk about on the first date and a handy guide for what you should talk about instead.
1. Your ex
How can we say this in a more subtle way? Your ex-boyfriend should never be a topic for a first date – period! In fact, during any of your first few dates with someone new.
Some people have a strict “no ex-talk” policy for the entirety of their relationships. This might sound a bit extreme to you, but it’s a good rule of thumb if you can’t trust yourself with how much you might say.
You don’t want to sound bitter, or worse, like you aren’t over your ex, do you? Leave him where he belongs – in the past.
Don’t try to pry about his ex-girlfriend either. There’s literally no point in worrying about her and comparing yourself to his past. If you already know who he dated before you, that’s fine, but refrain from stalking her on Facebook. Focus on the here and now.
2. Your (complicated) past
Of course, your past is a big part of who you are today. But there’s also a better time and a place for that heart-to-heart conversation than on a first date.
Leave the talk about your past for another time, further down the line, when you know you can actually trust this person. You don’t want him to run away, do you?
Are you curious to find out how much he makes? Or if his family is well-off? Perhaps you don’t see the topic of money as such a big deal, but not everyone feels the same.
It’s better to avoid the topic of money on a first date – it can be considered insensitive and intrusive.
Not offering to split the bill is also insensitive. If the check arrives and you don’t even reach for your wallet, your date might feel a little awkward. Of course, he should pay for the first date (if you’re planning to see him again). But if the date was a disaster, perhaps you should insist on splitting it, so as to not leave him with the wrong impression.
Either way, don’t talk about money, and when money is involved, show that you want to be treated as an equal. It’s always better this way.
4. How you Googled him
If you were really excited about your date, you probably went on a little Googling and social media spree just to make sure there are no surprises. Did you discover his 20-year-old MySpace profile? Or a Tumblr account full of hmmm…questionable images and stories?
Now you know where he went to primary school and the name of his second cousin? Best to keep that to yourself.
If you tell him that you Googled him, it’s could make him so nervous that he might just cut the date short so he can go and see what you might have found.
5. That you aren’t really single
Ahhh, the first date with someone when you’re in an on-and-off relationship with someone you haven’t quite given up on. You are kind of split up, but he’s still there within arm’s reach.
You are trying to teach him a lesson, or maybe make him jealous. You want to make yourself feel better and move on from him, but you aren’t even emotionally there yet.
Whatever you do, don’t mention to your date that you are not even officially single. Sure, he might not really care and still want to put the effort to win you over, but 9 out of 10 times your date will just feel awkward or used, or both.
6. Family drama
No one’s family is perfect, and chances are your family is full of drama like everyone else’s. Just save your date the details on the first date.
No one chooses their family, but if there’s one thing he should know about you at this stage – it’s that you love your family and you will tell your date all about them later on.
7. All about you
The first date is crucial for deciding whether you want something serious with this person. You are assessing him and he’s assessing you. If you want to make a good impression, then make sure you both get airtime.
That means you can’t talk the entire date and make everything about yourself. See the date as a game of ping pong – you take turns with the conversation, and it goes back and forth. It’s not a game of soccer, where you grab the ball and run with it for ages.
No one likes a negative Nancy. If you want to have a great date, leave your negativity at the door. He doesn’t need to know about your hatred for your boss, or about the middle school friend who stopped talking to you one day, or the guy whose car you scratched after he cheated on you…whoops!
Keep the mood positive and focus on the wine, not the whining!
If self-deprecation is part of your personality, you need to keep that in check on the first date. You want to put your best foot forward, not your worst. Everyone’s got something they don’t like about themselves, there’s no need to point it out to someone new you’re trying to impress.
The sexiest thing you can have is confidence. So, arm yourself with it, and be your best self, at least on the first date.
People tend to be split on this subject but hear us out. Sex is a great topic, you might just want to keep it until after the dessert…or the third date. There is no strict rule as to when you can talk about sex, but as a self-respecting woman, you should keep a certain level of mystery about you.
Let the guy peel layer after layer and really get to know you. Leave him guessing as to what you like and don’t like. What’s the rush for? Remember that men love the chase – all of them, so don’t make it too easy for him.
11. Too much too soon
It’s okay to talk about the future but make sure you leave the “significant other” out of the picture. If you say too much too soon, you could easily scare him off.
The first date should be fun and relaxed, not your opportunity for talking about marriage, children, and moving countries. Give him an opportunity to get to know you and don’t reveal all your cards straight away.
If you come on too strong, he will feel like you’ve mapped your whole life already and he’s just an accessory, not someone who gets a say.
If you avoid the above topics on a first date, you are giving yourself the best chance to build a stronger connection with him.
Other things to avoid on the first date include:
- Complaining about the food. No matter how little you like the food, don’t make a scene as you will surely make your date feel uncomfortable.
- Flirting with the waiter. Even if it’s someone you know, just don’t. For the whole night, the only person that exists should be the one sitting opposite you.
- Being on your phone. Just leave it in your bag for the entirety of the date.
- Criticizing the place where he took you. It will make your date feel like a total failure.
- Lying, or coming up with excuses as to why you can’t see him again. If the date wasn’t good enough and you’re not feeling the spark, just politely explain that you’d rather be friends. Don’t torture the poor guy by giving him false hope.
Now that you know the full list of topics to avoid on a first date, and you’ve got a handy guide of what not to do, you should be ready for a great first date.
What should you talk about on a first date?
There are many things you can talk about that are safe enough, and also provide great opportunities to get to know him on a deeper level. Here are some of them:
- Talk about food
If your date is in a restaurant, you are bound to start with at least some discussion about food, starting with choosing from the menu.
This is when you find out a lot about one another – vegan, vegetarian, allergies, preferences, love of cooking, types of food you prefer. It’s a huge topic, and it will definitely help you discover some things (and tastes) you have in common.
- Talk about where you’re from
This will tell you a lot about each other: your background, cultural nuances, your childhood. You might bond over the fact you are both the youngest child or that you were both home-schooled.
- Discuss favorite books, movies, and TV shows
You could probably spend the entire date talking about your favorite books, movies, and TV shows without growing tired of it. Tell him about your favorite book or the one you can’t stop rereading. It will keep the conversation flowing.
Ask him who his favorite Game of Thrones character is and why. Or, come up with alternative plot endings to your favorite shows. That’s always fun!
Go a step further and agree to watch a TV show together – one you both really want to see.
- Talk about your hobbies
It’s better to know early on whether your date is a massive soccer fan. Dating him means accepting his hobbies and interests. The same goes for him! Share what you like to do most and how you spend your free time.
It will also help you gauge how much free time he has for dating you.
- Discuss work
Most people don’t like to talk shop on a first date, but you can do the bare minimum by finding out what he does for a living and what his job is really like.
You need to know whether you are on a date with someone who’s always in between jobs, or a workaholic who literally sleeps in his office.
- Chat about your ambitions
It’s important to know what your date is ambitious about and what his life’s aspirations are. Be open about where you see yourself in a few months, or even years (without talking about your dream wedding dress of course).
First dates are special, especially if they go well. If you’ve been with someone for a while, you probably recall your first date with lots of fondness. You probably didn’t follow any rules about what to talk about and what topics to avoid, but every date is different.
In order to give yourself the best chance of success make sure you don’t reveal too much too soon, ask him a lot of questions, and remember that body language says as much if not more than words. Oh! And have fun!