Making Conversation on a First Date

One of the great things about being single is dating ― here are some tips to make those dates more enjoyable.

Making Conversation on a First Date

Most single people like the idea of having an active, fun social life, but complain they hate to date. Are you one of them? If so, it’s very likely that you’re afraid of making conversation with someone you’re just getting to know. You don’t want it to come off as labored, or experience any awkward silences, misunderstandings and miscommunications. If only those early date conversations could be easy and natural.

Well, guess what? They can be, if you just follow a few simple tips:

Tip #1 – Face it, first dates really are interviews.

While nobody wants to feel like a first date is a job interview, that’s exactly how you need to treat it. You need to interview your date and be smart about it.

The tricky part is that it can’t sound like an interview. Don’t ask questions like “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “Tell me about your last relationship.”

Employers have the benefit of knowing exactly what position they’re trying to fill, but do you? Do you know what you’re looking for specifically? Most people don’t. In fact, although people create detailed plans for their health, their careers and even their vacations, they rarely do the same when it comes to defining what they want from a romantic relationship.

Start by figuring out your relationship goals. Have them clearly in your mind. That way you can ask some simple, yet direct questions that will help you determine if this person merits more dates.

Tip #2 – Know what you have to offer in a relationship.

What do you bring to the table? That’s a very difficult question to answer because we usually don’t sit around and think about it. The problem is, if you don’t know your own unique personality assets, how are you ever going to be able to express them to someone else?

Sure, being attractive and charming is great. But what deeper qualities do you have to offer? What makes you a good girlfriend or boyfriend? Why should someone want to date you? Would you date you?

It’s a tough question if you haven’t thought about it, but if you know the answers, you’ll find subtle ways to work it into the conversation in a way that won’t sound like you’re bragging. Reveal who you are in a matter of fact way.

Tip #3 – Talk about the one subject that matters most to your date – them.

You just met this person and now you’re trying to find out more about them. How do you find out their interests and what’s important to them?

The answer is so simple that we often don’t even consider it: everyone (including you) is primarily interested in one thing: ourselves.

If you’ve been on more than two dates in your life, you’ve likely encountered people who have absolutely no “sense of others” at all. To avoid the pre-canned braggadocio, guide them towards revealing a more comprehensive picture of themselves. By realizing that their favorite topic is them, you can create fun, interesting, scintillating and intelligent conversation while you learn a ton at the same time.

Here’s how you do it: learn to ask “open-ended questions” (OEQs”) An OEQ has more than a yes, no, or one-word answer.

For example, if you ask someone, “Do you like your job?” They answer “Yes.” Then what?

On the other hand, ask someone what they like most about their jobs, they’ll take that as a springboard to tell you all sorts of interesting things. You’ll probably find out what they like about their job, how they got started, what they think about the company they work for and their career plans for the next three years.

Be sure to listen to their response. If you pay attention, you’ll never be without more conversation. All you need to do is take any point of interest and let it be the source of another open-ended question.

For example: “Really? Your company opened your branch two years ago? How’d you get picked to work there?” and “Interesting! What sort of education did you need to get into hydroponics in the first place?”

The side benefit of all of this is that you’ll come off as a great conversationalist.

Tip #4 – Build connections.

Obviously, if all you do is ask questions, you’re not going to build much connection with the other person. You have to share your information along the way too.

One of the best ways to do this is to pick up on the key points and share a similar experience or knowledge about the subject.

If your date tells you they are a structural engineer and you have little knowledge about the industry, but happen to know someone else in that line of work, you can bring that up as part of your own self-disclosure. For instance, “That sounds like an interesting line of work. I don’t know much about it, but my sister was dating a structural engineer a few years ago. He was a great guy…”

Once you get the idea, it’s easy and natural to build rapport and connection.

The key to being a good dater is learning to keep good conversation going – and going – by talking less and saying more.

Dr. Dennis NederSingularCity member Dr. Dennis Neder is a best-selling author and talk show host. He has over 30 years of experience in the world of business, dating, sex and relationships, sales and marketing, psychology, sociology and human interactions He is also the host of BAM! (“Being a Man”) TV, a speaker and comedic host, and writes weekly articles that appear on hundreds of Internet websites and newsletters.
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