You got past the pre-date jitters. You are now sitting at that charming little restaurant, the both of you smiling nervously trying to enter the “conversation zone.” After some passing commentary about how delicious the food looks, you suddenly draw a blank. OMG, is this the onset of awkward silence?
Your brain feverishly starts searching for conversation topics. You consider talking about your aunt’s ceramic cat collection, grandpa’s prosthetic hip — anything but silence, right? Well, hold on there, buddy. Take a breath and compose yourself. Choosing the wrong topic for conversation during a date can result in things going terribly wrong. A brief moment of silence you can recover from; the wrong topic of conversation, you might not.
Here are some dating conversation topics that can go terribly wrong and that should be avoided.
1. Your exes
You’re on a date, it’s not a session with your therapist. The person sitting across from you is interested in finding out about you. They are not interested in the traumas or eccentricities of your ex-partners.
Introducing the topic of an ex practically excludes your date from having any constructive input in the conversation. Your date doesn’t know your ex. That means that you are starting a one-sided conversation. One that will make you appear to still be obsessed with your previous partner. Trust me, talking about your ex on a date leads to nothing but disappointment.
2. Religion and politics
Unless you met at a religious function or at a political campaign event, introducing the topics of religion or politics on a date can easily turn nasty. Keep in mind that both topics involve ideological views that for many people are profound and resolute.
Without the benefit of knowing each other better, topics of that magnitude can grow from disagreement to a full-scale argument in mere seconds. Nobody wants a date to end before you even have a chance to finish your appetiser.
3. Other people you’ve gone out with
A date should be only about two people. The person sitting across from you and yourself. The first few dates are awkward enough on their own. There is no need for you to introduce added discomfort and insecurity by mentioning the cousin you hang out with on weekends, the girls you’ve met using dating sites or your bad dating experiences.
The person you’re on the date with needs to be made to feel that your attention is exclusive to them, at least for the duration of the date. They don’t want to be made to feel like they are part of some comparison experiment.
4. Glorifying yourself
We get it, you are the pinnacle of human evolution. Even so, presenting your glorified persona as the topic of conversation on a date usually leads to one conclusion — an early night and no second date.
Your date doesn’t want to hear how great you purport yourself to be. Your date wants to hear about you. Humorous or insightful anecdotes in which you are the subject are fine. Boastful stories about how you are the greatest thing since microwavable popcorn — not so great.
5. Your sexual prowess
Direct references, or even passive suggestions, regarding your sexual prowess will usually end up with you demonstrating that “prowess” alone and to yourself for yet another night. Introducing any sexually ladened topic, especially one that involves your performance, will result in your date being repulsed or made to feel uncomfortable. You will inevitably place your date in an awkward position. Any hope for a substantive and bonding conversation will be lost. Then again, she might just toss some wine in your face and walk out, thereby ending the conversation altogether.
6. Your fears and insecurities
A time will come when the both of you may be comfortable enough with each other to share your fears and insecurities. The first few dates, however, is not the time for this. Introducing your inner fears and traumas as topics of conversation will only result in uncomfortable situations. It is simply a case of too much information too soon.
7. Sales pitch
You might say, come on, nobody would ever do that. Incredibly, it does happen. Just be sure you never do it. Using any portion of the dating conversation to promote your business, offer a sales pitch on life insurance, or hock the latest and greatest health supplement is bound to end very badly.
8. Your maladies
Talking about your psoriasis, your chronic nasal congestion, or any other biological malady is simply not an appropriate topic for any dating conversation. The reasons should be obvious, but in case you suffer from chronic stubbornness, allow us to explain why.
While there is no shame in your maladies, they should not be aired during your first few dates. Place yourself in your date’s shoes, what reply could you have to “my colitis is acting up again.” Those types of topics will result in curtailed responses and your date will likely want to get the heck out of there as quickly as possible.
9. Your fetishes
What on Earth would possess anyone to consider introducing their passion for feet or granny panties as a topic for conversation during a date, we will never know.
While everyone is entitled to be turned on by whatever tickles their fancy — as long as its legal — they must not introduce their fetish as a topic of conversation. Even if your date were to share your same fetish, bringing it forward as part of a casual conversation would still make it uncomfortable for most people. They may feel hesitant to be so open about it when they barely know you.
If they don’t share your fetish, you will only make them view you as bizarre. At best, it will make your date uneasy, at worst, it will end the evening pretty early. So, don’t do it.
10. Your pets
Your furry or scaly friends may be very important to you, however, they should not be the topic of conversation during a date. You want to use your valuable conversation time to impress your date, not tout the amazing ability of your parrot to recite the alphabet backwards.
Going off on a tangent about your pets may make you seem desensitised from human interaction. It also steers the conversation away from the both of you and points it at your pets — a waste of a valuable opportunity to get to know each other better.
So, what can I talk about?
Remember, a dating conversation is just that — a conversation. You don’t have to be the only one talking the whole time. Half of the time you will be listening while your date does the speaking. Be calm, don’t let a few moments of silence draw you into a panic. If uncertain about what to say to keep the conversation going, fall back on asking a question about your date’s place of work or give her a compliment on her appearance. Just, never be tempted to introduce the topics that were outlined above.