Feel awkward around new people? Sarah Frost candidly shares her first date conversation faux pas, in hopes of saving your next first date from disaster.
It’s a running joke that I’m notoriously awkward—generally always, but especially when I don’t know someone. I’ve been known to avoid dating for that specific reason: because getting to know people makes me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. And why would I ever want to do that to myself?
That’s a conversation for my therapist, but I digress.
Because I feel so out-of-my-skin in situations where I don’t know people well, I sometimes do this thing where I lose any semblance of a filter I may have had previously. I say things you’re not supposed to say to people you don’t know yet.
It sometimes offends people.
I’ve had a lot of weird first dates. And even more weird second dates. Because sometimes it’s best to actually not say exactly what you may be thinking.
In the interest of helping you avoid this particular set of life challenges I’ve forced upon myself, here are a few conversations to avoid on any first date you would like to go well.
Don’t talk about an ex.
I don’t care if you’re on a date with your ex-girlfriend’s best friend (but maybe don’t do that either, it’s bad relationship juju), don’t talk about them—even if your current interest and the ex know each other well and you all grew up in the same tiny town in Maine and know each other’s life stories like the back of your hand.
Not only does that ex-flame not deserve your attention in that moment, regardless of who ended things, the person you’re with doesn’t deserve to be ignored because of someone who isn’t around. Stay present and in the moment, instead of the past.
Avoid talking about money.
Fairly recently I was out on a maybe-could be-pseudo-possible-date and the guy I was with made a comment about buying my drink, mentioned how he had to break a large bill and then didn’t tip the bartender. There were so many things wrong with the situation, one of the most frustrating being that the guy who didn’t tip mentioned how much money he had.
I do not care how much money you make as long as you are an upstanding citizen of the world who can handle the basic necessities of living. The moment someone starts talking about money it puts a divide between the two of you—what you have and what they don’t, or vice versa. Stay on an even playing field.
(Also: I called the guy out for not tipping, tipped double on the next drink and never saw him again. So there’s that.)
Don’t plan your life out just yet.
I am not good at small talk—shocking, I know. Sometimes people who are not good at small talk try to have conversations about things that are a little deep for someone they’ve just met. It might seem like a good idea to offer as much appropriate information as you can since you are getting to know someone. I’ve been known to do this.
For example, if the cute guy mentions how he’s always longed to rent a camper and trek across Iceland and you’ve always wanted to do the same thing and fate seems to be playing out right before your eyes, it might seem tempting to say something like, “Oh my gosh! That’s my dream! We should totally go,” with a sly laugh that implies you’re kidding, but also lets the cute guy know you’re serious about this dating thing.
The laugh will inevitably not go over well and your sort of joke will not translate. It’s nice to get to know someone and feel like you have so much in common that fate may actually be playing out directly in front of your eyes. But small doses, my dear. Excitement and joy about a new relationship has this wonderful way of emanating from your being. Let it do its thing; your person will feel it, too.
Keep the conversation light.
I like a good story. I love a great story. I do a lot of things in life simply because I like to entertain people sometimes. Occasionally, though, I end up monopolizing a conversation with subjects that are a bit much if you don’t know me well. Yes, the story about how I talked my way out of a ticket is hilarious, but it’s probably best saved for when someone knows me a little better.
What’s the moral of the story here? Remember that you’re getting to know someone. Again, in small doses. There will be time enough for the rest in the future.
[image: via shutterstock]