First dates are tough. For introverts like me, the very thought of sitting one-on-one with someone who is practically a stranger can be a bit of a nightmare. Most of us don’t like talking about ourselves in the first place so we get nervous and say dumb things.Then you have the extroverts on the opposite side who like to talk. They get nervous, too, but then have the tendency to say a lot more than intended.
Thanks to my years as a serial dater (and some horror stories from my friends) I’ve compiled my list of things not to say on a first date:
Avoid commenting on age, career and education choices in this first date. Including (but not limited to) “When you get a real job…” or “When I was your age…” and my favorite “Have you considered going back to school?” It’s one thing to joke (make sure your date knows it’s a joke) or compliment their accomplishments but another thing to sound highhanded.
Avoid talking politics unless one of you is a senator. If it’s what you do for a living, it would be weird not to talk a little about your job. Otherwise, just avoid politics as a topic which could turn into a row at your first meeting.
It’s not your job to educate your date on women’s rights, animal rights, the Ukraine or eating gluten-free unless they ask. Keep the date fun, don’t sound like a teacher or an activist (unless you met on an activist website).
Don’t utter the phrase “I just want to get married” at any time. Your date will suddenly get an “emergency phone call” and bail. I promise. Marriage is not first date conversation unless you two are entering into an arranged marriage situation. The same goes for the number of children you want to have or admitting you already planned your dream wedding on Pinterest.
No commenting on your date’s appearance except in a positive light. “I thought you might be… taller/prettier/thinner/hairier/blonde” should never be uttered.
Try not to wax poetic about your pets unless you have predetermined a similar devotion to animals in your date. Otherwise, divulging facts like you regularly dress up your cat(s) like the characters from Jane Eyre or can only sleep if your dog’s in bed with you are best left for later dates.
If you absolutely hate any members of your family, a first date is not the time to mention this. The same goes if you hate anything including your job, your neighbors or vanilla ice cream. Try to only talk about things you like so you don’t sound negative.
Lastly, don’t mention illegal activities. Even if your rap sheet is in the past, save that for another date in the future.