When I think back to my many failed first dates, I just cringe at the ridiculous things that fell out of my mouth. We all have slideshows of embarrassing moments that just pop into our minds randomly, and several slides that feature are prominently from first dates. I wish I knew back then what not to talk about on a first date, but then, I wouldn't be able to share my hard-earned knowledge. Like, for instance, don't let a perfectly nice date turn into a debate about creationism, Guantanamo Bay detainees, or why men think they have a right to anal. (I'm not taking a pro- or anti-anal stance here, just pointing out that it’s not first date dinner conversation material.) You'll be shocked — shocked — to learn none of those dates turned into long-term love for me. Sigh.
Over time, my first date game has gotten better, because I've learned what topics to steer clear of. The key to a great first date, I've learned, is to keep it light, breezy, and fun — even when you delve into deeper topics that are important ones to gauge your compatibility. Instead of running straight in until you’re neck deep, just dip your toe in, take their temperature, and then proceed. If you want that second date, here are the conversations you should avoid having.
1. Your Exes And Past Lovers
Why do we do this? We all know it’s a terrible idea, but still, it just seems to slip out. But seriously, unless they ask specific questions about your exes, keep that information to yourself. It’s not interesting, and it gives your date the impression that you are still not over an ex. So shh, even if it is kind of true.
2. Your Sexual History And Preferences
Too soon! Unless, of course, you’re actually hooking up on the first date. If that’s the case, then go ahead and speak your truth about what you enjoy in bed.
3. Your Financial Situation
Whether you’re broke or ballin', nobody wants to hear about your finances on the first date. Save that conversation for down the road when your financial situation actually has some bearing on the relationship.
4. Marriage And Your Future Children
If your date asks you about marriage and children, it’s totally fine and appropriate to say what you see sometime in the future. Keep it light and quick, and don’t start going into detail. You want to be generally on the same page with someone, and this is definitely a conversation you need to have before things start getting serious. But delve too deep into it on date one, and there probably won’t be a second one.
5. Negativity In General
If your date persona is basically the living embodiment of the “womp womp” sound effect, then you’re probably not getting a lot of second dates. We all have down days and struggles, but leave them at home when you’re on a first date.
6. Your Work Drama
Just no. For one thing, unless your date works with you, they have no idea whom you are talking about and, therefore, have no interest in office gossip. Plus, complaining about your work drama violates rule number five: negativity.
7. Your Family Drama
Hey, I get it, I have family drama. That stuff weighs on you. But it’s not first date appropriate. Dates are awkward enough without you bringing up how your parents like your sister more than they like you.
8. Fishing For Compliments
What do you think of me? Do you think I’m cute? Are you glad you’re here with me? Yikes. This thirsty behavior is a huge turn-off because, not only does it come off as insecure, but it’s super navel gaze-y. Not a good look on a first date.
9. Political Deep Dives
Conventional wisdom says that politics are totally taboo on a first date, but it’s 2017, and we need to update that idea a bit. That’s because in these fraught political times, where we have literal nazis swimming around in the dating pool, I think it’s fair to touch on the topic of politics enough to see where your date falls on the political spectrum and make sure it’s in line with your convictions.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Breaking down the intricacies of the Republican tax policy isn’t stimulating first date fodder, but you also don’t want to wait until date five to learn they don’t believe women deserve equal rights.
10. Religious Deep Dives
Unless you met on ChristianMingle or JDate, you can probably skip all the religious talk. It’s fine to get a vague sense about their spirituality if that is something near and dear to your heart, but keep it light and non-judgmental.
11. Me, Me, Me
Ever been on a date and realize that your date’s eyes have glazed over? Ask yourself, "Have you been talking about yourself nonstop for 10 minutes?" That’s a first-date fail. It’s fine to share a bit about yourself or answer their questions about you, but make sure you are reciprocating. A good first-date conversation works both ways, with each of you showing interest in getting to know one another.
OK, so now that you know what topics to avoid, what can you talk about? My advice: Keep it light and fun. Ask them a lot of questions about their lives, the things they enjoy, and what they're passionate about. And when in doubt, give these ideas a shot. Good luck!
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