What You Should Be Talking About On the First Date
Have you ever been nervous about a first date?
Not because you’re insecure that he’s going to like you; you’re actually quite confident that most men will respond to you.
The nervousness I’m referring to comes from wanting to know what happens AFTER the first date. Your questions buzz through your head.
- Is he financially stable?
- Is he close with his family? Is he emotionally available?
- Is he in a place where he wants a long-term relationship?
- Is he going to call me tomorrow to say he wants to see me again?
In other words, you want to know the future — and protect yourself from heartbreak by figuring it out as soon as possible.
I don’t blame you. The problem is that even HE doesn’t know the future.
You may think that if you have a list of important questions to ask, maybe you can avoid wasting time. You may think that maybe if you knew the right conversation starters, you could figure out if you were compatible up front. Sense of humor? Check. Favorite vacation? Check. Same bucket list? Check.
Alas, that’s not how you connect with people – not best friends, and certainly not your future spouse.
Let me share a story with you. I got a new Love U Masters coaching client recently. Early 40’s, bright, successful, and really excited about coaching and learning about the opposite sex. This woman is not just an avid dater — she’s a learning-about-men MACHINE. (I love women like this, by the way.)
As she peppered me with her idea of first date questions, it was clear to me that she had done a lot of research. It was also clear that she had her ideas formed by what she had read previously.
This is dangerous.
You know what a first date is for? It’s for FUN.
Because while there’s a lot of good stuff out there, no one expert has all the answers. When you start believing that one person (including me) has the gospel, you cease being a critical thinker. I read a lot, but I always draw my own conclusions and judge whether it’s effective in the real world. I would encourage you to do so as well.
Here’s a perfect example of advice that sounds good in theory, but doesn’t hold up in practice:
Two prominent relationship experts — both 60-year-old women who haven’t dated in 30 years – advise women to tell men what they’re looking for on a first date.
They suggest that if you’re serious about marriage and children, you should put that on the table from the get-go on Date 1. The theory is that you don’t want to waste time — yours or his — and if your “honesty” frightens him off, he’s not the right guy for you.
This is WRONG. Dead wrong. Like, it’s so wrong, that I can’t even fathom that my esteemed, well-intentioned colleagues would pass this off as valid advice to unsuspecting women who trust them with their lives.
In being “honest,” you’re sabotaging the dating process and making the man NOT want to get to know you better.
Not because you want to get married and have kids — he does, too! — but because you sound needy and desperate and tone-deaf to the normal conventions of first dates.
Would you rather go out with a man who brings up all sorts of controversial topics or a man who shows up with no agenda, except showing you a fun night out? It seems pretty obvious, right?
You know what a first date is for? It’s for FUN. It’s for you to get a better sense of me and whether I’m a solid catch, it’s for me to determine if we’ve got some attraction and great conversation — and it’s for both of us to determine whether there’s enough potential to meet for a second date. That’s all.
When you introduce concepts like marriage, kids, religion, politics, money — trying to ensure that the person across from you is a good long-term prospect, you essentially turn from a pleasant, fun, likable person …into The Interrogator.
Men don’t like the Interrogator.
Doesn’t matter if The Interrogator is smart, hot, and interesting. If a man gets the sense that you’re testing him for earning potential or fathering potential, or husband potential, he’s not going to feel comfortable.
Men don’t like the Interrogator.
Because suddenly he’s not the guy who’s buying your drinks and trying to make you laugh — he’s being interviewed like an intern who is applying for a lifetime job at your company. Believe me, that doesn’t make him like you more.
And if you want to get a second date, it’s kind of important for him to like you!
Which is why it’s my job to tell you to ignore this kind of well-intentioned advice. It may sound great in theory, but in practice, it falls apart.
Let me show you how.
First: Imagine you had a boyfriend you LOVED. And he told you after 8 months together that he was taking Zoloft to keep his mood up. Would you dump him? I sure hope not.
Now imagine that he told you that on the first date. Does he get a second date? I’d be surprised if he did.
There are things that we’re willing to hear LATER in the dating process — once the ice has been broken, the foundation has been laid, and the relationship is strong over an extended period.
And your desire for marriage, family, and the ability to potentially be a stay-at-home mom is something that you’re better off springing once he already LIKES you and has something invested in you — not right after he learns what you do for a living.
To suggest otherwise — to encourage you to “save time” by asking a bunch of probing first date questions to stealthily reveal his red flags — is both irresponsible and ineffective.
For every bad man you scare away because he’s not ready for a relationship, you also scare away a good one who IS ready, but wants to date a well-adjusted woman who knows better than to get so heavy on a first date.