First-Date Conversation Tips

Meeting your match for the first time? Try these tips to keep the getting-to-know-you conversation easy and flowing.

By Marilyn Friedman

ou and your online match have been flirting over email for several weeks. You’ve finally arranged a phone date or a meeting for a drink at a local bar. But you’re a little scared. What if you find yourself tongue-tied? Or even worse, you bore your date to death, ruining that great email exchange that seemed so promising. Well, here are five tips to help you have an amazing first conversation:

1. Be honest, be yourself
No one likes a poser. Besides, making things up always comes back to bite you.
Get comfortable in your own skin.
Get comfortable in your own skin. You are an interesting person with lots to talk about! Answer questions honestly. Try to be relaxed. If you and your date are compatible, he will appreciate how fascinating you are. If your date isn’t psyched about the real you, then he is not worth your time—next!

2. Ask a lot of get-to-know-you questions
Try to get to know your date. Find out who she is. Find out what she is passionate about. Some starters for me are: Why did you decide to move here? What do you like to do in your spare time? How did you get into that? Where are your favorite places to go in the city? Ask questions that will help you find common ground, such as places you both used to live, things you like to do, philosophies about life, etc. Also, ask follow-up questions in a way that encourages more than a two-word reply.

3. Keep topics light
Try to steer your conversation in comfortable directions. Don’t delve into areas you know you shouldn’t, such as controversial political topics or extremely
Give him ample room to talk.
personal ones (like sexual preferences). If you sense that what you are about to say will make your date feel uncomfortable, hold back. There will be plenty of time to discuss these things later, when you two know each other better.

4. Keep answers lively and not too long
Let your date get to know you. Give your date some tasty tidbits so he can ask follow-up questions. Try to stay positive (i.e., don’t launch into how much you hate your job or what a jerk your ex was). You are trying to make a good impression here. Also, don’t talk until her ear falls off. No one likes the bozo who can’t stop talking about himself, so don’t be one.

5. Be A Good Listener
Let your date know how interested you are by listening to him. Give him ample room to talk. Stay engaged, maintain good eye contact and interject with the occasional “Uh, huh” or “Really?” so he knows that you’re paying attention. Show your date that there’s nothing more pressing on your mind than this conversation and hearing what he has to say.

It’s not difficult to have a good conversation. Now that you know the secrets, the rest is up to you.

Marilyn Friedman is a writer who lives in Los Angeles and is currently working on a memoir about her experiences as a swing dancer.
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