Thought Catalog

10 Conversation Topics You Should Avoid On A First Date

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1. Exes.

Just don’t. They don’t care about your former loves or old flames because they’ll just see them as potential competition. And trust me, you don’t want to know about theirs. No matter how “crazy” or “awful” they claim their ex was, they still dated them, got to know them, shared intimacies with them, and liked or loved them. You’re not there yet with them, so you just can’t compete. Just be happy knowing in your head that you are way more awesome than their ex, and they will have the best time finding that out for themselves.

2. What you’re “looking for.”

I get asked this a lot on dates, and sometimes, I’ve tried to resist the urge to ask it myself, but it often comes up anyway. Everyone wants to know Right Away if they should get their hopes up, if this could be a “thing,” or if they should just give up and go home without wasting anymore time.

Here’s why I advise avoiding the subject: Obviously you want a boyfriend, but you also don’t want to sound like a psycho. He wants companionship but doesn’t want to get your hopes up too high because even though having a girlfriend would be a great endgame, he’s realistic in the sense that he knows he either doesn’t have time to commit to it, or wants to get to know you a lot more before deciding you could fit that bill. So you have the “looking for” conversation and you say “nothing serious” and you’re lying, and he says “nothing serious” and in a way, he’s telling the truth, but he doesn’t know you’re lying and you’re hoping that he is lying. Spoiler alert: He’s still not lying and you’re going to get hurt. Instead of trying to be extra extra clear about what you think you want — just avoid the topic altogether, enjoy each other’s company, and go from there.

3. Social media.

This might just be a personal pet peeve, but honestly, you are out on this date in real life with an actual human being. Don’t spend the entire time talking up your many carefully manicured internet profiles. They can see you sitting right in front of them. Real life has no filter.

4. Things you hate.

It’s alright if something blatantly universally hated happens in your immediate presence and you both share in the moment with appropriate commentary, i.e. “Ugh, I hate it when homeless people run up to couples dining outside and rub their balls in their custard pie while singing ‘God Bless America’ at the top of their lungs. It’s just the WORST.” But other than that, I’d recommend talking about things you like; you’ll come off as way more positive overall.

5. Past instances of public humiliation.

Especially ones of the bodily disgusting variety. Even if the story somehow makes you seem more endearing and quirky…I promise, for them, it’ll just cause them to visualize you vomiting or being covered in poop or whatever the story is about for the rest of the date. I’m not saying you can only say things that flatter yourself, but if you’re going to try and up your humanity game, don’t take it to the extreme.

6. How nervous you are.

I know you’re trying to relieve your own tension by keeping things honest, which is admirable, but this can only go two ways: Either they’re like “Me too!” and that’s that…or…they’re not nervous at all and will have no idea what to say next because they want to help quell your nerves, but they have no idea how. They’re not going to commit to being your significant other right then and there. Instead of dwelling on how nervous you are, try shifting the conversation to focus on them for a few minutes. It might relieve some of that pressure you’re putting on yourself to impress.

7. Sex.

This one is tough for me. It gets brought up somehow. You didn’t mean to. But a promiscuous past…a one-night-stand… a fantasy fulfilled… it comes up. And now it’s all both of you are thinking about. Suddenly, it’s all either of you can talk about. And now it’s either happening, or it isn’t. Don’t make the date about sex. If you end up having it, chances are, there won’t be a second date. If you don’t end up having it after discussing it so in depth, chances are, there won’t be a second date. Just assume you’re both aware of the existence of sex, and spend the conversation time getting to know them as a person outside of the bedroom.

8. Listing adjectives that you think describe yourself.

This advice is true in a dating profile as well as in real life. Showing is always better than telling. If I’m sitting across from a guy saying “Well I’m a very straight forward, sarcastic, fun loving guy” I will immediately assume that those are the qualities he wishes he possessed, but in reality only admires them in others from afar. Don’t tell me that you’re funny — make me laugh instead. Don’t tell me how others describe you — this isn’t a job interview, and you’re not your resume. Just be the things you are.

9. Any extreme opinions you have on controversial issues.

I’m not saying to be dishonest about your beliefs, I’m just saying that you know very well that abortion is an emotional topic, and your strong belief in pro-life might not go over so well, especially on a first date. But the difference between disagreeing about these types of issues (i.e. abortion, immigration, gun control, religion, Iraq, etc…) on a first date vs. a fifth date is that on the fifth date you’re likely to have a healthy debate where you both share information and are open to learning about a different but equally relevant perspective on a sensitive issue. Whereas on a first date, you’re likely to feel that your beliefs are being attacked.

10. Diarrhea & menstruation.

Just…trust me. TC mark

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