You Shouldn't Be Afraid To Talk About Anything On A First Date

by Suzanne McKenzie
Simon Desrochers

First dates: They can be the best of times, and they can be the worst of times. But whether you spend the evening laughing about shared interests over coffee or crunching ice as you try to figure out if you've been catfished, first dates are a necessary part of a healthy love life.

And when it comes to first date conversations, most people stick to the basics: What do you do? Where did you grow up? What shows/music/whatever are you currently obsessed with?

Now technically, there isn't anything wrong with these safe subjects, but TBH they're kind of boring and definitely won't reveal anything meaningful about the person sitting across the table from you.

And while a cute outfit and a friendly demeanor are first date requirements, sticking to this safe, vanilla small talk shouldn't be.

That's right: We're here to tell you that NO subject should be off limits. In fact, if there's one thing we've learned from years (and years and years) of research, it's that cutting to the chase from the start is the best way to figure out if someone's a good match for you.

Don't believe us? We totally get it: First dates can be scary, and all any of us want is to come across as at least semi-normal.

But never fear, because we're going to let you in on exactly why you shouldn't be afraid to talk about literally anything on a first date.

Good luck out there.

1. Small talk is forgettable.

We're all guilty of exchanging niceties about work, politics, or the weather when we don't know what else to say in an awkward social situation.

But while small talk is perfectly acceptable in most interactions, first dates are about making an impression. Small talk isn't memorable, and if you spend an entire first date talking about how bad allergies are this season, it's likely that you won't be memorable either.

2. You probably already, um, researched the person anyway.

It's 2017. First dates are never 'blind' anymore — for better or for worse, technology has given us the ability to learn a lot about someone before meeting.

So, what's the point of spending your whole date recounting where you grew up and went to college when there's a good chance you probably already learned this stuff from a routine internet search? Keep the intros short, and then move on to things that really matter.

3. You won't waste your time.

There comes a point in every romantic relationship when you have to start talking about some difficult subjects, so why not get it out of the way early on?

And, yes, by 'early on,' we do mean on the first date. Your time is precious: Wouldn't you rather ensure you're aligned with someone on the big stuff like future plans (marriage, children, career) and financial values (credit score, saving habits) before you spend months or even years investing in a relationship that may be built on a shaky foundation?

4. Your date's reaction will tell you a lot about who s/he is.

When you venture into the uncharted territory of deep conversation, you'll learn more about your date than you might expect.

The Discover® and Match Group study — which looked into the relationship between dating and finance — found that employment status is the financial topic that most people feel comfortable sharing on a dating website or app. And the same often goes for first dates — when you bring up heavier subjects upon meeting someone, you'll probably catch your date off guard, and your date's reaction will teach you a lot about what s/he is looking for when it comes to dating.

If the person scoffs and gets shifty when you introduce topics like financial planning and past relationships, it might just be a sign that he or she isn't in the market for something serious.

5. Scaring someone away might be the best thing that ever happened.

Let's say you do take the plunge and attempt to make a real connection with someone right off the bat, only to unnerve your date.

In cases like this, rejection is a total blessing in disguise. Look at it this way: Do you really want to invest your time and energy in someone who isn't mature enough to talk about anything besides the weather on a first date? Though it's never fun to be turned down, what is fun is knowing that you can do a lot better.

No matter where you are in your dating life, the facts suggest that it's important to address certain things sooner rather than later. This could include your credit score. Discover offers a Free Credit Scorecard, and it won't impact your credit score. It's totally free, even if you aren't a Discover customer. Terms apply. Visit Discover to learn more.