New research from match.com has discovered that men and women both rate “great conversation” as more important than a kiss on a date. But what if you stumble over your words when you’re getting to know someone? Here’s match.com’s resident dating expert Kate Taylor with the dos and don’ts of getting along.
DO… Think of perfect date conversation as light and fluffy
It shouldn’t be an impromptu therapy session where you confess why your last six relationships ended in pieces, or you’re terrified of dying alone. All you’re looking to do is establish you have a few things in common, and laugh. That’s it. Steer clear of topics like money, health, children (even if you’re a parent – it’s too personal for an early date), love and sex. Instead, make it your mission to discover your date’s favourite film, book, website and car. What, the mundane stuff? Yes!
DON’T… Mention exes
Match recently ran a survey, asking how people felt when they heard an ex mentioned on a date. Unanimously, it was a conversational war-head. It’s impossible to strike the right note: talk about an ex in glowing terms, and your date assumes you’re not over them. Talk about an ex in angry terms, and your date *knows* you’re not over them and worse, immediately imagines you’ll be talking about THEM that way someday. Avoid the subject. If an ex is loosely attached to another topic – for example, your date asks why you moved to your current area and the answer is, “My ex relocated here for work, and I followed them like the love-blinded idiot I was,” – be vague: “Work.” It’s enough!
DO… Ask open-ended questions
This is an old journalism trick: never ask questions that could be answered with a flat “Yes” or “No”. You just don’t get to know someone well enough that way. Instead, encourage your date to open up by asking them questions like, “If you had the chance to go anywhere in the world, where would you go?” or, “If you won the lottery, what’s the very first thing you’d buy?” These questions are more fun to answer too, meaning your date will enjoy the conversation.
DON’T… Be annoyed if your date talks all about themselves
The most common complaint women have about men’s first-date conversation is: “He just talked about himself.” They think it shows the man is arrogant and self-centred. Learn to see this differently. When a man talks all about himself on the first date, it’s a *good* sign. He is trying to sell himself. He’s not sitting back thinking, “OK – prove to me why I should date you,” but is scrabbling around to find reasons why you’d want to stay. Give him a free pass on the first date; if he carries on being self-absorbed on later dates too, then reassess. When a woman talks about herself all night, it’s usually out of nerves or loneliness.
DO… Watch your date’s unspoken conversational clues
When the conversation is making your date uncomfortable, they will display self-comforting gestures like playing with their collar or necklace, stroking their neck, or rubbing their cheek. When they’re feeling relaxed and happy, they will unconsciously move their torso so it faces you, relax their shoulders, and uncross their legs and arms. Look out for unconscious giveaways like these, and adapt your conversations accordingly. By staying in synch with your date’s comfort levels, you’ll be displaying a warm empathy that will attract them to you.
If you’d like to date one of the eliminated contestants from the show, you can join match.com free here and get in touch.