First dates can be difficult business to pull off. One of the things that people are most anxious about on their dates is the material for a first date conversation. There are a million guidelines which have been meticulously jotted down about the things that you should not talk about when you are on a first date, but somehow these situations still manage to end in disaster. Ever wondered why?
As I have mentioned above, there are a lot of rules which tell you about the big no-nos of a first date, but there are very few rules which tell you what you should be doing instead. Also, some rules are meant to be broken. If you are looking for a serious relationship where you plan to spend a substantial amount of time with the person you go out with, you need to talk about some stuff which traditional dating guides ask you to avoid at all costs. Not only do these make good conversation starters so that you don’t have to sit awkwardly with each other after 10 minutes, but they also give you great insight into a person’s character, without totally freaking them out.
Suggested read: 12 things to do on a first date to make it unforgettable
Here are 10 conventional dating rules that are mandatory for you to defy.
1. “Do not seem too interested in what they have to say”
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This is some lame way in which you are supposed to play hard to get, but in most cases, it seems to have the exact opposite reaction. When you act distant and snooty, your date does not become more intrigued by you. All they want to do is get up and leave and never come back. If you are genuinely interested in what they are saying and offer the right reaction to the right things, then they will like you infinitely more. The hard-to-get game works only when one is hopelessly in love with the other, and the other wants to keep them running for some more time before relenting. However, this is not typically the case. You have come out on a date and your future together depends on how engaging the conversation is, quite frankly.
2. “Do not talk about your workplace”
Your workplace is a very important part of your life, and if you are looking for a serious relationship with the person you have come out on a date with, then you should know each other’s premises, if nothing else. Although this may not be counted among the good conversation starters, it is nonetheless a very important and even an interesting topic to hit once you have become comfortable with each other. One piece of advice? Do not keep ranting and complaining about how you hate your job. Tell them about the kind of people who come in and, if there are any funny anecdotes, then those will work too!
3. “Don’t talk about your ex”
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This is probably the number one rule on any guidebook containing rules on what not to say on a first date. However, you don’t have to get too paranoid about this rule. People need to realize that the past is what shapes the present, and it is completely okay to come to terms with it. Just like you have to keep your work-related conversation positive and full of anecdotes, you have to keep your conversation about your ex super chill so that your date does not freak out. It is best if you avoid comparing your ex and your date, but apart from that, it is perfectly normal if you talk about your exes. Even making fun of them is no biggie.
4. “Do not keep talking about yourself”
The whole point of going out on a date with another individual is so that you get to know them as people and see whether they have the potential to become a partner in a serious relationship with you. It is not possible to get to know one another if you don’t talk about yourself, especially if the conversation becomes entirely one sided.
5. “Do not talk about serious things”
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Cracking jokes and being funny always gets you brownie points, but not all the time. Going all out with your stand up comedy skills during your first date is possibly the worst idea ever. Talking about serious things such as current issues and recent debates might set off some sparks and you might get into a heated debate, but hey, what better way to show off the fact that you are pretty smart. That will definitely create a lasting impression, if nothing else will.
Suggested read: The perfect way to end a first date
6. “Ask them questions about their past”
If questions of the past come up naturally during the course of the conversation, then it is perfectly normal to talk about it. However, ideally, this is not how a first date conversation should ensue:
“You look great.”
“Thanks, you too.”
“So…who was your favourite college professor and why?”
You are communicating face-to-face with your date for the first time. It is best if you don’t make it sound like a slam book. Let the conversation flow and keep it light and simple. If they are willing to open up to you about their past or with random facts about them, then there is nothing like it. However, don’t ask them lame questions just to keep the conversation going.
7. “Do not freak them out with plans of the future”
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Whether you want to start your own organic farm or run your own multinational company, or simply want to tour the world, there is nothing wrong with letting your date in on the secret. I don’t mean that you have to propose marriage and share the number of kids you want, but when you talk about the big plans and dreams and ambitions that you have about the future, your date understands that you are a pretty serious, on-track person through the first date conversation itself.
8. “Don’t talk about religion and politics”
Most people advise strongly against talking about topics such as religion and politics on the very first date because they are touchy and divisive issues. However, if religion is a big and important part of your life, then you are most welcome to go ahead and discuss it on your first date. The same goes for politics. You may find out some interesting things about your partner during the course of the discussion. Also, these are great topics to keep the conversation going.
9. “Don’t tell them how nervous you are”
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Okay, so it is your first date with your potential girlfriend or boyfriend and you are supposed to saunter into the restaurant (or wherever it is you are going for the date) brimming with confidence and being all smooth with the conversation? That is an idealistic image that no one expects you to live up to. It is important to understand that your date is probably as nervous as you are, and there is no point pretending because you might end up making a fool of yourself. You can tell them you are nervous, and that will establish the equal status quo between you two, which will immediately make the situation more comfortable. It is also an icebreaker and, might I add, it is kind of cute when your date tells you that they are nervous about coming to see you for the first time. Things will immediately start to look up, and the conversation will flow more easily.
10. “Don’t talk about other people when you are with your date”
Usually, the rule goes that you are out on a date with each other, and that there is no need to bring up other people because it may show the other person that you two are not interesting enough for each other. This rule is an easy guideline to break. If you have a hilarious co-worker or a weird friend and you want to tell your date about their antics, then you should go right ahead and do it. If anything, it is going to convince the other person that you have some pretty cool friends.
Suggested read: 10 topics you should avoid like the plague on your first date
There are a lot of first date conversation rules that people swear by in order to promise a successful, awkwardness-free date. But the rules of dating are changing, the way people communicate with each other is evolving, and most of the said “rules” are nothing more than dumb guidelines that are supposed to give you a minor confidence-boost. The bottom-line of the story is that you have to make your date feel as comfortable as possible and establish a rapport, so that when you part ways, you do so with the promise of a second date—and several more after that.
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