First dates can be wonderful, awkward, exciting, nerve wracking and a host of other emotions. To prepare, people plan the perfect outfit, location, conversation topics, etc. so they feel like they know what to do. What people rarely consider though, is what not to do or say.
Here are seven things you should never say on a first date:
#1 Leave Your Parents Out of It
Though you love your parents, mentioning them on a first date can make you come across as immature, not family-oriented. Your date wants to learn about you and there are so many things you can talk about without mentioning the inspiring life advice your mom gave you or the things you used to do with your dad.
The one exception is if your date asks about your family. If that happens, feel free to share a funny story about your parents to keep your conversation going strong.
#2 Politics are a Huge Turnoff
As passionate as you might be about your political views and as interesting of a conversation topic that you think they are, you should never mention them on a first date. It’s one of the quickest ways to upset the other person and ruin your date.
Luckily though, if you’re still dying to know what your date’s political affiliation is, there is one way.
The online dating site OkCupid analyzed data from tens of thousands of messages and discovered some surprising questions that are remarkably accurate at revealing what you want to know about your dates but may not want to ask.
- Instead of asking your date what they think of the election, ask them if they prefer their lives to be simple or complex. People who prefer complexity are 2:1 more likely to be liberal while people who prefer their lives to be simple are 2:1 more likely to be conservative.
#3 Don’t Play the Numbers Game
It’s natural to be curious about your date’s love life and to wonder things like:
- How many dates have they gone on recently?
- How long have they been single?
- How many matches are they messaging on their dating app right now?
But, as much as you’re dying to know, you probably don’t want to hear their answers. If they’ve been going on a lot of dates recently, you’re going to feel insecure or jealous. Or, if they’ve been single for a long time, you may wonder: what’s wrong with them before you know the reason why they’re single. These are total mood killers.
Forget about your date’s love life. On the first date all that matters is figuring out if you enjoy spending time with them.
#4 Forget About Your Ex
Just like you should never ask about your date’s love life, you should also never bring up your own, especially your exes.
When you mention your ex, it prompts your date to think two things:
- You haven’t gotten over your ex or,
- You have a lot of baggage from that relationship that would make being in a relationship with you difficult.
Focus on getting to know your date. Past relationships can be discussed once you’ve developed a deeper relationship with someone.
#5 Do the Billboard Check
Sometimes deciding what you should and shouldn’t say on a first date can be a challenge.
Luckily, I have a quick test you can use. If you’re ever wondering if something you want to say is appropriate for a first date ask yourself this:
Would you feel comfortable posting it on a billboard with your picture next to it?
If the answer is no, then it’s not something you want to reveal about yourself when you’re first getting to know your date.
#6 Avoid Negativity
Never bring your bad mood to a first date. Emotions are contagious and when you talk about your horrible day at work or how you’ve had an exhausting week, your date will pick up on your negativity and begin to feel upset as well. This also applies to any negative current events.
Remember, you’re on a date to explore a new relationship; you should be excited to discover all of the awesome things about the person and what you share in common with them.
#7 Hide Your Insecurities
When we’re nervous, we sometimes add a lot of qualifiers to our statements like “kinda,” “maybe,” “sorta,” “I guess so.” If you’re one of the people who does this, you need to practice removing those phrases from your conversations.
Not only does saying them make you sound uncertain, but a joint study between Stanford and the University of California, Santa Barbara found that using those words on a first date reduces the strength of connection that you and your partner feel. The uncertainty in those statements translates into both of you feeling unsure if you’ve made a genuine connection and it can ruin your chances of a second date.
About Vanessa Van Edwards
Lead Investigator, Science of People
I’ve always wanted to know how people work, and that’s what Science of People is about. What drives our behavior? Why do people act the way they do? And most importantly, can you predict and change behavior to be more successful? I think the answer is yes. More about Vanessa.
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