17 August 2022
Whether you met online or introduced by friends, a face-to-face first date can be daunting. It also doesn’t matter if you are newly single or been this way all your life or for a significant period of time. Expect to be frazzled. One of the most difficult parts is conversation.
Don’t feel that you need to jump into a Jeopardy round of questions and answers, try to make it light and establish a rapport. Some good topics are about the place you are meeting; if you have dined there before or the area of the city. From that start the conversation should progress to other restaurants that serve the same type of food or specialties. How hard it is to find good Thai (or fill in the country or style blank), how you enjoy dining on the patio, or generalities. Ask questions and expect that he or she will ask you things too. This small talk is integral to continuing talking without babbling.
Find out what their current world is about. Don’t ask about a “typical” day or week but about the current one. How’s you week going? If the response is “better now,” then reply with “what made it so stressful?” If the explanation becomes too involved or grim, find a way to change the topic.
Talk about something that is happening in your world that you enjoy. Your date should be as interested in what you do as you are in what he or she likes.
Active listening is focusing on what is being said and understanding and then making follow up comments or questions.
If you were introduced by mutual friends, ask how they know each other and for how long. What activities are they doing together? If it is something you would be interested in, ask about opportunities. If you connected through an app, mention something in their profile. Casually ask why they were attracted to your post. Try to determine what they are looking for in dates right now.
At some point, you will each talk about your job. Ask about how they got into that particular line of work. “If money were not a factor, what would you choose to do?”
Of course, there are also some things you want to avoid discussing on a first date:
- Drama – Unless you both are willing to share, deep and personal issues can put a damper on things and put pressure on both of you.
- Exes – This includes someone who passed away. While it can be appropriate to discuss past relationships, keep it as neutral as possible. Ranting or crying is certainly to be avoided.
- Desperation – While you should be clear about what you expect out of dating, don’t express anguish at not having a long-term or permanent relationship.
Before concluding, there are just a few basics. Plan to have your own transportation to and from the date. That gives you a way to leave if things do not go as planned, either from boredom, just not the right fit, or you are uneasy about anything. If you drink alcohol, make it a maximum of two drinks. Don’t feel forced into anything more and you owe no one an explanation of why.
The bottom line is to be yourself. If you pretend to be something you are not, the relationship will probably falter over time.