‘You Had Me At Hello…'
… chances are, you didn't. It's far more likely you ‘had' your date after about an hour of good conversation. If you can keep them enthralled by your words, and locked in an easy exchange of stories, jokes and questions, THAT is when they start to think: ‘There could be something here…'
It's a universal truth that first dates can be nerve-wracking experiences. But it doesn't have to be that way. It's not rocket science.
We're all human, and we've all had good and bad conversations: Some subjects will have you chatting away for hours whereas others will get you off to a bad start and could send your date running in the opposite direction.
In fact, the first 45 minutes of the first date are crucial – according to a survey conducted by The Inner Circle, that's the average amount of time your date will take to decide if she wants a second one with you.
Follow these simple guidelines to keep yourself on the right track, and prevent some nasty slip-ups.
What You Should Be Saying On Your Date…
Keep your conversation upbeat, interesting and fresh. Always pose open-ended questions to keep things flowing smoothly. You've already chatted online so you'll have some ideas on what to talk about, but hopefully you won't have exhausted your options by leaving nothing to the imagination.
Ask ‘what if…' questions to get your date thinking outside the box, but still keeping things light-hearted. Things like ‘what if won the lottery and you never had to work again; what would you do?' or ‘what if you could live in one city, have a vacation home in another and travel to another one twice a year for fun; what cities would you pick?' These questions also put you in a ‘considering possibilities' mindset.
Travel, hobbies, and friends are great topics. If your date has nothing to say on these subjects, you should be worried and maybe consider a bathroom trip from which you never come back. Chances are they'll have plenty of stories to tell, which is a great way of getting to know someone.
People usually feel confident with storytelling situations, as they can control where things are going, and they don't feel grilled. But avoid the classic first date question: ‘So, what music do you like?' People have strong feelings on music and, if she mentions a band that makes you want to tear your ears off, it could be over before it even started.
Ask about family, or where he or she grew up. This shows you are perceptive and attracted to them, and you might be able to make a connection about being an only child, living abroad, or visiting a town where your date once lived.
Conversation Killers: What Not To Say On Your Date…
On a first date things can go very wrong very quickly, so remember the following:
Involve your date. Always pick a topic you can both speak about. As impressive as your vast knowledge of 13th Century German architecture may be, it's not fun to be lectured at on a first date.
Keep it light. Steer clear of death, violence and tragedy. No one wants to discuss the recent rise in the murder rate in their hometown on a first date. Don't mention how much money you make, it's just not possible to do this without sounding like a total jerk. You may have plans for a family or marriage, but unless you want to scare the hell out of your date, keep them to yourself on a first date. Sex can be an okay topic if you come to it naturally, but exposing graphic details of your bedroom preferences at a first meeting is just plain creepy.
Be enigmatic. Don't get carried away and reveal everything there is to know about yourself. Mystery is attractive, and conversations can become uncomfortable if things get too deep, too soon. Your life story is not all that interesting when you blurt it out all at once.
Papa don't preach. Going too far into politics, religion or sports is dangerous ground. You never know if you're going to step on that verbal tripwire and trample all over someone's deeply-held convictions. You're there to get to know someone, not challenge their beliefs.
Let's not get physical. Keep the conversation away from body odor and other physical attributes, and don't ask for too many details outright. You don't want to freak out your date.
Be confident, not cocky. Confidence is endearing, cockiness is an instant turn-off. There's a fine line between the two, but a good way to check yourself before you wreck yourself is to be mindful of your body language and verbal delivery. A self-assured laugh is sexy. Smirking and winking makes you look ridiculous.
Two Monologues Do Not Make A Dialogue
Always remember that things must flow naturally… and bear in mind that awkwardness is natural too. You are meeting for the first time, so a little silence here and there is normal and doesn't mean it's all over. Use these ideas, tactics and guidelines to hone your first date conversational prowess, learn to relax, and watch what started as a couple of winks and playful messages become a three-hour long conversation that leaves your date hankering for more…