Any first date can be nerve wrecking, at least until you get to sit down with your partner and get to experience that guy or girl’s personality. At which point, another caveat can take center stage: what should I be talking about, that’s appropriate and still meaningful? Does it even need to be meaningful? Ok, take a breath of air, and let’s look at a few of the conversational deal breakers for any first date.
1. Who should start the conversation, the boy or the girl? Well, if it came to you thinking this exact thing, and no one’s making the first step, you, whoever you are, should take the initiative. Don’t think too hard, just don’t let some crazy stupid thought come out of your mouth. Anything is better than a prolonged radio silence, so why not talk about the weather, eh, plain, stupid, boring but palatable, until you get it going. Just as a pointer, make sure you feel relaxed and don’t think too much about it. But, if you and your date are both naturally communicative, anything from a polite remark on your date’s outfit (she did put some effort into it, after all) or a good hi, with a reference to why you were late (don’t be late!) should do. Now that you’ve settled down and can actually communicate, let’s see what should be on the menu. (Just a quick remark, don’t get your phone out of your pocket and onto the table, and by no means don’t start checking your Facebook updates right in front of her/him).
2. Personal questions. With personal questions, there’s a fine line between being too intruding or too general, not inviting to get to know your date. Both are dangerous, so you should learn to pace and choose what to say and what to ask as well. Questions about work and family are ok, but don’t get too deep about family ties, problems that your family faces, or everything that is too prodding and too personal should not be inquired. On the other hand, talking about anything but yourself or avoiding answering direct questions about your family will be rude or mischievous. If you’re really poised on keeping every detail about yourself to yourself, at least give a reason why.
3. Politics, religion, pop culture. Either braided with personal questions or separately, discussing politics, religion or popular culture (or not so popular culture, if you find out that he or she has that in common with you) can make a good lighthearted chunk of the date. However, try to prod the territory first. If the girl tells you she’s into gaming, but all she ever tried was Wii Fit, then it might not be such a good idea to talk all night about the different emergent higher level strategies you made use of when playing semi-pro Star Craft! Talk common ground to the level it remains common. And for political and religious beliefs, very touchy subjects for non-liberal individuals, you just want to keep the conversation light. Again, testing the limits of what is common between you needs to be done in very finely grained steps.
4. Inappropriate jokes and hysterical laughter. Here’s a pointer, don’t feel obliged to laugh at his/her every joke, rather admit that you didn’t get it rather than look like an idiot! Also, jokes can also touch on a touchy/feely portion of one’s brain. So, if you’re a good entertainer you should know how to dose the dark or outrageous jokes so as to not go overboard with them unless you’re pretty sure you share that kind of enthusiasm. Although, as a rule, you might think some laughter is caused by your jokes when in fact is more of a nervous laughter at the inappropriateness or rudeness you display. So if you don’t know yourself to be the rather sensitive to these matters type of guy/girl, rather avoid them.
5. I had a real good time, too! Remember, all good things must come to an end. And the corollary? All bad things will eventually end too, rather sooner than later, if you can have it your way. While hoping for the best, prepare for the worst and so, have an exit plan at the ready, a friend to call you and check on you in half an hour, or something of that sort. But, if things go well, also it’s not a good idea to drag.
You’ve had your dinner, your coffee, your second coffee, now it’s time to go. Remember, keep the tone of the conversation polite, don’t forget to tell your date that you had a good night out, and if that’s the case let the setting up of a new date, for the walking out. Don’t insist too much on picking up the tab, split it if that’s what it’s at or let him/her pay if him/she insists. Although he should insist.
Don’t try to get overly physical and be content with a kiss on the cheek if that’s what it’s about, and don’t try to invite yourself over. And boys? Don’t extend the invitation back home to you, but let it show that you wanted it. Or, you know what, if it feels right, do it anyway! Just make sure it’s not the alcohol talking (keep the drinking of alcoholic beverages to your regular limits). Oh, and a personal non-favorite, don’t get sleek and call your date honey, baby, love, sweetheart, make sure you remember their name, boys, ok?