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The Art of Dating Conversation: Dos and Don’ts

by nick

You know where you’re going and what you’re going to wear on your first date, but there’s something on your mind – ‘what should I talk about?’

Knowing what to talk about is key to a successful first date. However, there are times when our minds go blank, the conversation dries up and we find yourselves scrambling for something to say.

If you often run into awkward silences, it’s always good to have a few pointers stored in the back of your mind. Below, we provide good conversation topics to talk about, and bad conversation topics you should probably try and avoid, along with some helpful tips and guidelines on dating conversation.

Do Talk About

Your date – Most people like to talk about themselves. Find out what she does besides work. What she really likes, her passions and things that she’s enthusiastic about. Ask and use open-ended questions so she can’t give you one word answers. If you get vague answers out of open-ended questions, ask follow-up questions to tease out more information. Actually listen to her. In fact, listen more than you talk.

Your surroundings – It’s easy to become too focused on the conversation alone. Take a look around. There is always something interesting in your surroundings to start a conversation about. For example if you’re in a restaurant, it might be the fishes in the aquarium, an interesting piece of art on the wall, the smell of food cooking and so on.

Travel – People love to travel love to travel and see exciting places around the world. Ask her where she’s been, what she enjoyed, what did she do there, would she go back. If she hasn’t really travelled anywhere before, ask her where she dreams of going.

Current events – Keep an eye on the papers, watch the news; there’s almost always something interesting there to bring up in conversation. Keep it light hearted and not too political or religious. Intriguing and funny topics always work well. Bringing up controversial topics such as war and depression might not be a great idea.

It might be useful to quickly glance over a newspaper before your date and pick a few topics to discuss. Also, social bookmarking sites such as Twitter and Digg provide trending stories that everyone seems to be talking about right now. Browse the internet and discover new stories to discuss.

Family & friends – Ask her about her friends; how she met them; where they go together; and what they get up to.

Find out a little bit about her family. Parents names and occupations; number of brothers and sisters and their occupations, where they all live; and where she grew up. If she asks you – share with her your relationship with your family and amusing stories when growing up. Be careful not to go over the top and give the impression of being a ‘mommy’s boy’ – Men that are too close to their moms can be a turn-off to women.

Of course, if you don’t have a good relationship with your family, it’s best to avoid talking about it. The first date is too early to let her in on your family problems and it’s a turn-off. Likewise if she seems uncomfortable talking about it, quickly change the subject.

Future plans – Ask her about her goals and ambitions. What does she want out of life? Ask her what her ideal job is and where she’d like to live? Find out how she plans to make her dreams happen. Also be prepared to answer the same questions. Women generally like men that are ambitious and serious minded in life.

Likes and dislikes – People always like to discuss their likes and dislikes. Here are some examples:

  • Favourite food
  • Favourite songs/albums
  • Best/worst movies
  • Best vacation vs. worst vacation

What she does for fun – A first date is an opportunity to get to know her. Find out what she does on weekends, what activities she likes and if she has any hobbies. This is a great way to clue in to her personality and find out what she’s really like. Plus, it’ll give you a good idea of where to go or what to do on the second date.

Anything positive – Positive people are attractive. The more positive you are; the more she’ll enjoy herself and want to be around you in the future. Therefore talk about anything positive. Light-hearted stories about friends, places and events you’ve enjoyed, all make for good first date conversation.

Don’t Talk About

Ex-Girlfriends – If you’ve got an ex-girlfriend, don’t talk about her on your first date. You don’t want to create the impression that you’re still hung up on your ex or that you have significant emotional baggage. Whether it’s about how you had trust issues or how it took you ages to get over her, it’s in the past so leave it there.

Money – You may have a lot of money or very little. If you have money, don’t brag about how much you’ve got or how much you earn. This includes all references to your salary, your mortgage or how much rent you pay and the type of car you drive. You may think that your fat wallet will enhance your sex appeal; however it’s better if she finds out in more subtle ways. Women find a man classier if he’s quiet about his wealth as it shows that he’s confident and has nothing to prove. Also, if you have very little money in the bank, don’t complain about how poor you are or how you never have any money – you’ll come across as tight.

The bottom line – your date is there to get to know you. Bringing up your bank account when she hardly knows you is a turn-off.

Personal problems – While everyone’s got some baggage, first dates are not the time to share it. Learning about your problems so early may prevent your date from focusing on your good points, and will likely make her feel uncomfortable. While it’s important that she gets to know the real you, this level of exposure is too much for first dates.

Politics and religion – Most people find religion and politics a touchy topic to talk about. This is because people have different views and opinions that can easily offend. With so much corruption, wars, murders, rapes, racism in this day and age, it is best to avoid this topic all together. This also includes jokes that some people may find offensive. If you want to talk about current events, keep it light hearted.

Work – If you have a fascinating job then it may be interesting to talk about. However, if it’s a job you find boring then try and limit the time you talk about it. If you like it but she doesn’t seem interested then either drop it or improve the way you talk about it. She won’t want to listen to you going on about something that she’s not interested in.

Bad habits – You don’t want her finding out about anything that may make you seem unreliable. So if you smoke, binge drink or take drugs, keep these to yourself for the first few dates.

People you hate – Talking or complaining about people you don’t like is never a good idea on a first date. It creates a negative atmosphere and shows the vulnerable and insecure side of your personality. You may even come across as jealous.

In fact, avoid any form of complaining. Taboo phrases such as, ‘it wasn’t fair,’ or ‘I didn’t like it,’ come across as negative. You don’t want to come across as a complainer. Instead talk about anything positive.

Creepy subjects – An obvious one. Talking about stalkers, serials killers and similar subjects will make her feel uncomfortable.

Future plans with her – Women don’t want men that are clingy. If you start talking about your feelings, how many kids you want, or planning holidays with her on the first date, you’ll come across as needy and desperate. Leave talking about the future with her to when you’re in a serious relationship; otherwise you’ll probably scare her off.

Master the Art of Dating Conversation

Let the conversation flow naturally. Remember that not all first dates will go smoothly and you’ll sometimes go on first dates with women that you’re not compatible with. This is normal so don’t worry if things don’t go to plan. Remember the good and bad conversation topics above and you’ll improve your chances of having a successful first date.

Other conversation tips to take into account are:

Lead the conversation – if the conversation is getting boring, take charge and change the subject.

Make eye contact – Look into her eyes when talking to her. This shows that you’re confident and that you know what you want.

Be playful – Ask her playful questions, such as ‘what’s your favourite colour?’

Avoid the interview technique – Don’t ask her the same old boring questions. Don’t treat the first date like an interview. Avoid questions such as, ‘how old are you?’ and ‘what’d you do for a living?’ Avoiding these questions will separate you from the other men she’s dated and lead to more interesting conversation topics.

Think before you speak – Most awkward moments occur because of a failure to think before speaking. To avoid offending, don’t spurt out judgemental statements.

Don’t over share – Don’t pour out your life story as soon as you meet her. Within two minutes she’ll know everything about you. Develop a little mystery, leaving her intrigued and wanting more.

Don’t say ‘am I boring you?’ – This is an embarrassing question to which she’ll never answer no. Instead of asking her outright, pay attention to her body language and facial expressions. If she looks bored, she probably is. Time to change the subject.

The Number One Rule of Dating Conversation: Be Natural

Now you know the ground rules, it’s time to stop thinking about them so much and let the conversation naturally flow. You can follow the above dos and don’ts, but if it seems to her that you’re following a checklist, you’ll come across as fake. Talk about things you’re comfortable talking about and more importantly, have fun!

To Your Dating Success!

Steve Harold

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