Lifestyle The art of conversation on a first date

The art of conversation on a first date

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It’s 2019, and humans still have the dilemma of the first date. While the landscape of dating and romance has changed considerably thanks to technology, these first dates will always exist.

You may have “met” someone online or on an app, but you never truly meet them until that first in-person, face-to-face meet-up, where there is no screen or profile to hide behind.

First dates, first impressions, first conversations—these firsts are crucial to the success of a relationship. While many a connection has been saved despite the brutal failure of a sad first date, there is a good reason to save yourself the tragedy of dealing with awkward silences and even more awkward conversation.

First dates should be fun! There is so much societal pressure surrounding the first date. It’s like a sacred ritual we humans insist on performing, so we might as well get maximum enjoyment from it, whether or not a relationship blossoms from it.

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But let’s face it—first dates can be scary, an overwhelming combination of nerves, expectations and realities.

Relationship experts have revealed the do’s and don’ts of conversation on a first date. The do’s are meant to encourage free, flowing conversation while the don’ts keep awkwardness and cringe-worthy topics at bay.

If you’re at a loss for topics…

DON’T ask about the weather

Let’s face it—unless your date is a meteorologist or climate scientist, resorting to talking about the weather is awkward, boring and so passé.

DO ask what they think of the restaurant or bar you are at

Asking your date their opinion on the place you’ve chosen to meet, on the other hand, makes for easy conversation when you don’t really know what to talk about. It also makes people focus on the present situation. Talking about the bar or restaurant’s vibe or atmosphere may lead to other topics, like food, music or socialising.

If you want to know more about their personal life…

DON’T ask about their relationship with their parents

On the first date, it’s best to stay away from overly personal topics. Family relationships can be tricky, as we all know, and making someone discuss their strained relationship with their parents, for example, is a huge no-no.

DO ask where they grew up

Getting your date to talk about their hometown is a different story. It’s normally a lighter, happier topic. The person may choose to talk about their families when asked this question, but if the family situation is weird, it’s easy to talk about their hometown instead, or about friends or childhood memories.

If you want to know more about their personality…

DON’T ask what their favourite colour or movie is, etc.

The “what’s your favourite colour”? question (and other questions of similar ilk) are clichés you just want to avoid. They are boring questions that often lead to boring, single-word answers. You want to encourage conversation, not put a stop to it. Plus, you’re a desirable adult with an interesting life, not a little kid trying to make friends at school. You want your conversation to reflect that.

DO ask what hobbies or activities they’re currently into

Opening up the topic of what you both are currently into gives way more lightness and easy conversation. People generally feel more comfortable talking about things they enjoy doing, so the conversation should go smoothly. Plus, it’s the perfect way to find out what they’re about and whether you both share common interests.

If you want to comment on their appearance…

DON’T do so unless what you have to say is positive

If your date doesn’t look their profile picture (presuming that you met them online or through an app) or if you don’t really like something about the way they look, don’t say anything about it. Even if you don’t find them attractive and don’t plan to date them any further, there’s no reason to be a jerk about it. Refrain from commenting on your date’s appearance unless what you have to say is good.

DO give appropriate compliments

Appreciating your date’s looks is a good thing to do—it will certainly advance your chances with your date, especially if the feeling is mutual. By all means compliment your date’s hair, eyes, outfit, or looks in general, but keep the comments appropriate and don’t go overboard. You don’t want to ruin a good date with a premature or out-of-place sexual comment.

If you stray into awkward territory…

DON’T let it drag

If the conversation does stray into weird topics that clearly make you or your date feel uncomfortable, don’t persist or be “too polite” to change the subject. Letting an awkward conversation drag on is not an option if you don’t want the unpleasantness to take over the date.

DO change the topic

If the first date has veered into awkward territory, save it! If you asked a question you shouldn’t have, apologise (but don’t over apologise) and then quickly change the topic to easier, lighter subjects. Making your date laugh or smile is a good way to forget the awkwardness ever happened.

First date conversation is truly an art to be mastered—navigating off-limits topics, filling awkward silences (or preventing them in the first place!), eliciting laughs and smiles from your date, and ensuring a successful night may be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Good luck! /TISG

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