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Hey, Can We Talk?  Some Tips For the First Date

Hey, Can We Talk? Some Tips For the First Date

So, it has finally happened. You have asked the man/woman of your dreams for a date. He/she said “sure why not?” and you’re sitting across from him/her, positive you are answering that question. You can’t think of anything to talk about, except the weather and the local sports and bar scene, and now you’re just staring at each other, straining to find something to fill the silence. Here are some tips to get you started.

Don’t discard the weather as a topic just yet. It is a good subject since we all have it, and if it is extreme it is an especially good ice breaker. Sure, you can start with “you could fry eggs on the sidewalk” or “its colder then a well digger’s posterior,” and while there may be some agreement, the conversation will probably stop there.

What do you like to do when it’s real hot or cold out? Do you like to swim, surf, scuba dive, raft, boat, water ski, picnic, hike, sun bathe, camp, garden or sit on your hiney with your keyboard and talk about the weather? “I love to swim when it is this hot, don’t you?” “Have you ever gone on a picnic and had a bear steal your food?” The idea is to have a few stories prepared about your summer activities and interests, and your date is bound to have some of his / her own.

Winter, Fall and Spring are also full of things to discuss. Talk about Halloween, Labor Day, Christmas, or Thanksgiving. Mention ice skating, sledding or shoveling snow. Talk about the worse blizzard you ever saw. Have you ever been in a hurricane or tornado? In short, there are many life experiences that people share. We all have weather, and if it isn’t the best topic on its own, it certainly can suggest a lot of subjects to get the conversation moving.

Local events are also rich sources of grist for the conversational mill. What buildings are being torn down or put up in your town? Is a bridge being replaced or repaired? Can the pot holes on your local roads swallow your car? Has your mayor or the city counsel been in the news? Again, you are just trying to establish common ground. You both use the roads, cross the bridge, or have opinions about whether the old building should be torn down or if the new one should be built. You both shop at local stores, eat at local restaurants and visit the same parks and museums. If one of you is new to the area, providing or obtaining information about the town should give you something to chat about.

How about food? We all have to eat. What is your favorite cuisine? Do you like to cook? Have you had a cooking triumph or disaster that you can share? Chances are your date has had a few of his / her own kitchen adventures, and would enjoy talking about them.

Do you like movies? Have you just read a good book or watched a great TV show? Have you visited some place interesting? Are you planning a vacation to an exotic location? Ask your date to describe places he / she has found interesting, and you may find that you won’t need another subject for the rest of the night.

Pet stories are always fun. Okay, they may not be so great while they’re happening, but they can be funny in the retelling. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the time my dog guide munched down 3 doughnuts from the desk of the law school dean. Certainly your dog, cat, horse, ferret snake or bird has done something funny that you can tell your date in hopes of getting a good story in return.

In the early stages of any relationship, you are just trying to establish enough common ground to learn about each other. A first date isn’t the time to talk about your ex, your medical problems or political or religious beliefs. You don’t want to come on too strong and scare your date off. Eventually, when you and he / she have covered some ground, it will feel more natural to mention what a geek your brother is or how you would like to teach your boss deep sea diving without scuba gear.

However, for the first few hours, you want to keep it light and fun. Don’t tell off color jokes or talk negatively about others. Don’t be critical of how others dress or feel. You may be insulting your date without knowing it. Just relax, start with casual topics, and you will find that your discussion will build into richer and deeper subjects.

Take your time. Eventually, you’ll know if you and he / she were “meant to be” or are going to be better off remaining cordial strangers.

Copyright (c) 2009 Lucille Uttermohlen