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Greetings and welcome to Day 13 of 30 Days of Dating Advice for Intellectual Badasses! Today will continuing on the theme that dating skills are – in many ways – social skills. The higher your Social Skills Quotient, the more you’ll succeed with the other sex.

Today’s topic is what to talk about on a date, particularly a first date. The first date is critical time in the dating game – it establishes whether there’s at least some chemistry between you and creates the foundation for a second date. It’s a tenuous time, when people don’t yet know if they like or trust one another. Thus, it’s important to watch what you say. If you get too serious or too personal, you risk scaring the other person away.

Having a good SSQ means reigning in the temptation to ask personal questions or try to pry personal information out of your date. To do so makes them uncomfortable; your goal is to do the opposite. Likewise, it also means not allowing someone with a low SSQ to pry such personal information out of you.

I recently had a great radio interview with a someone who also works in the dating industry. Being a matchmaker, he had particularly good insight into dating. He told a story about a match he’d made between a male client and a woman. After their date, she told John she didn’t want to see the guy again because he went on and on about his divorce. When John then spoke with his client, the man told him that she was the one who’d asked him about it!

It’s easy to assign blame in this scenario; but, really, both parties are guilty. She shouldn’t have asked such personal questions, and he shouldn’t have answered them in such detail.

Here’s list of no-no topics for a first date:


Your Divorce/Breakup

A first date isn’t a place to talk about your divorce or recent splits. Doing so suggests that you haven’t moved on. Don’t ask people about their divorces, and don’t bite if your date tries to pry this stuff out of you. This doesn’t mean you can offer basic information. For example, it’s okay to say:

“Yes, I’m divorced. It finalized about 3 years ago.”

“I have two kids; they live half time with me and half time with their mom/dad.”

Such info is important to know about someone you may start dating. But getting more detailed (e.g. going on about the details of the divorce, how you feel about it, or how the marriage dissolved) is too much, too soon.


Your Ex

Talking about your ex is rarely a good idea. Talking about your ex on a first date screams, “I’m not over it yet!” NO ONE wants to know about your ex or how great/stupid/difficult he or she is.


Your Personal Stuff

Avoid talking about any personal issues you’ve struggled with, such as a bout with depression or a your struggle with food allergies. As important as these things are to you, you hardly know this person, and such topics are none of their damned business at this stage in the game. Save it for when you’ve built trust with someone special.


Some people will argue that you should divulge everything or find out as much as you can on the first date. They justify this by reasoning that they want to “cut the crap” and weed out the wrong people as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this can have the opposite effect – you scare away healthy people who fear you’ve got too many “issues,” and you attract people with, well, issues.

Remember, it’s just the first date. Keep it light. This is your chance to find out if you like each other enough to go on more dates and THEN start sharing the personal aspects of who you are.


Some useful links:

Questions to NEVER ask on a first date

A recap of what we’ve covered so far in the 30-Day IB Campaign

Christie’s books