First Date Conversations:
Tips for the Tongue-tied
By Frank Kermit
First dates. Yikes! The pressure! The Horror! What the heck are we going to talk about!?! As exciting as first dates can be for some people, it can cause inner crisis for others. Some of us chatty types have no problem finding new ways to learn about someone we are interested in, while others get tongue-tied and come across as creepy interrogators.
So let's look at some guidelines for conversations for a first date.
There are certain things that you do not talk about on a first date.
No talking about your ex's in any negative way is the first guideline. The more you trash your ex, the more you actually comment about your own lack of judgment of character. After all, you did chose to date your ex. You do not control who you like, but you do control who you date. (Taking responsibility stinks doesn't it?) When the topic of ex's comes up, talk about what you learned about yourself while dating your ex. It is a lot more calibrated and shows your charisma. If your ex cheated on you, maybe you learned that you could be too trusting, or that your expectations were unreasonable, or maybe you have learned to take your time getting to know people better. See how much more enticing this sounds than calling your ex a bunch of two-timing names?
No talking about sexual histories. There is nothing wrong with sharing sexual histories later in the relationships. In fact, the more serious you get, the more you need to share. As far as first dates go you are still trying to figure out things about the other person such as: is the other person capable of handling how many partners you have been with?
Furthermore, are you sure you can trust this new potential partner with any of your personal information that you would not have shared in your social circle, or posted about on social media? First dates are not the time for deepest and darkest secrets. Sharing too much information when you have not fully tested the person you are sharing it with, can come across at best as needy behavior and at worst as a red flag behavior. The only time you need to share those most intimate secrets, is when you know that the person you are with might chose not to be with you if your secret is found out. For example: let's say you have a STI (sexually transmitted infection) and you reach a point where you and your partner are about to have sex on the first date. If you have any sort of STI that you know of, it is at the very least, the moral thing to let the other person know so they have a choice in the matter if they want to put themselves at risk.
Depending on what you have, and the laws that govern that territory, it may even be the law to share that information. If you knowingly infect someone with a disease that could potentially kill them (directly or through complications), you could very well be charged with murder. If you are asked, tell the truth. If you have reasons not to tell the truth, then do not have sex.
In terms of topics on a first date, some good advice is to never continue the same topic throughout the entire date. No matter how interesting you think your job is; if that is all you talk about on your date then you are B-O-R-I-N-G (and likely getting used to being alone).
A great first date will have a least 3 locations. The place where you meet up, the place you switch venue too, and the last place is the place where you would be able to have sex (if it goes there). A good guideline is that if you talk about a certain topic (i.e. favorite places you have traveled) that you limit that conversation to the location that it came up in.
You do not talk about the places you traveled the entire date. When you move location, you change the conversation topic no matter how interesting that topic was at the previous location.
Conversations on a first date are never about entertaining the other person. They are about scoping out what kind of person you are dealing with, and what kind of relationship you can have with that person. Is the person you are dating one-night-stand material? Marriage potential? Could the person you are seeing tonight be the absolute perfect soul mate for your best friend who is sitting at home alone tonight? Conversations on a first date must include sharing stories that relate value, boundaries, expectations and your emotional needs.
Here are some fun conversations games you can try using: The Love-Hate game. With this game one person picks a category and the other person has to name one thing within the category they love, and one thing in the category they hate. Then they switch roles.
For example, one person says "seasons" and the other person responds with "I love autumn, I hate winter." Then they switch and the second person says "sport", and the first person says, "I love tennis, I hate football"...and so on. In a short amount of time, you can find out a lot about a person, and it can lead to a number of conversation spin offs. It can also give you topics to stay away from.
Another game is the Five Million Dollar Question. With this conversation game you are checking to see what values and life plans a potential partner may already have in place, or if they never really think about their future.
You ask the person what they would do with their first million, what they would do with their second million, what they would do with their third million...and so on. Do they mention things like a trust fund for their current children, or future children? Do they talk about shopping and traveling the world and with which million? Do they talk about helping the less fortunate or a favorite charity? Do they mention family and friends they would like to help and how? Do they list a number of items they would buy for fun (or revenge)? What is the order in which they would they spend their money? The game does not cover if the money is from winning the lottery, an inheritance, or based on some means of earning it. It is about seeing what a persons priorities are.
When conversations on a first date stop being about trying to impress or entertain your date, and becomes motivated by your curiosity to learn as much as you can about the other person, it is a lot easier to find topics to talk about.
FRANK KERMIT MA
EXPERT RELATIONSHIP COACH
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