I talk for a living. Okay, technically I sell software and digital engagement, but essentially I get paid to talk to new people and get them to feel like we have a positive relationship together. I’ve been doing this for years and am still paid for it, so I know I’m fairly good at it. So why do I worry so much about what I should and shouldn’t talk about on a first date?
Often, I’ve started with inane chatter, just to test the temperature of the other person. If it looks like they are genuinely interesting and interested then I’ll listen to them a lot and respond based on their words. I’ve got a fairly broad range of experiences to draw upon, so it’s rare that I’ve not got something to add or an anecdote to share based on their own topics.
After that, things often go a little bit meta. We start to talk about the act of dating. Sometimes this leads to slightly deeper conversations about how we’ve each got to the situation where we are dating, which is where I share a little bit of my own sorry back story and hope they don’t run for the hills. Other times we talk about the process of online dating itself and the worst dates we’ve been on.
Is that wrong? It’s worked okay so far, and removes the stigma of being single and online dating which many people seem to feel. It also gives us both a chance to share what we don’t like in a partner in a safe way; if they tell me about a guy who gets clingy and texts 30 times a day then I’ll know to keep it a little more at arms length, or if they mention that they had a date who only spoke about their ex then I’ll note that and keep all such mentions minimal (if they even exist).
I’ve generally avoid the obvious biggies – religion and politics – though have touched on sport and family. I’ve got a brilliantly Eastenders style family, with everything from divorced parents to siblings with children living in different countries to siblings living abroad after bad breakups to benefit street style siblings to one with an ex-partner we found out about when we saw them on Crimewatch (true story). I keep it all funny, but found it shows I’m open and gives them the chance to open up with me too.
The politics one is interesting, though, as until my divorce that was playing an ever bigger part of my life. I was/am a local Parish Councillor and was being courted to stand for election at District and perhaps County level (and it was even mentioned MP level a few times). That life really interests me; doing public good and making an actual difference to the world, but as it was one of the things my ex-wife didn’t want me to do I gave it all up.
Part of me would love to find someone to push me and support me through restarting that journey, but all too often I’ve found most people switch off as soon as they hear the word ‘politics’. I know that I should be aiming for perfect-for-me, and that would involve a comfort with politics, but I’m also realistic about what I can hope to attract. Not too many women with supermodel looks and 140+ IQs are also into politics – that Venn diagram has an exceedingly small crossover point.
If it comes up from her then I’ll know I need to step my game up so I secure a second date. For now, I’ll probably avoid bringing it up on the first date and stick to more common topics.
Or am I doing it wrong? Advice, as ever, very much appreciated!
This was an interesting post and you brought up some great points about some of the limiting beliefs we sometimes have when it comes to dating. A couple of things I will tell you is never be afraid to be yourself, most people enjoy someone who is transparent and honest. Another thing if your dream/goal is to go in to politics then you should and don’t be uncomfortable telling someone you’re in politics. If she is the right woman she will accept and support you through that journey. Also, to find exactly what we want we sometimes have to do some heavy “self work” to make sure we aren’t attracting someone who may not believe in or open to our passions, because in the end we attract who we are. Hope this helps great post btw.
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I have a different take on this.. first dates conversations should always be fun and light as it allows women to breathe and not go into thinking mode of whether to go into relationship..I am not saying making jokes..What i am saying is adding lightness and fun-ness to anything you talk about. For example if your interest is politics, then make fun of politics, fun of you joining politics..Don’t enter into any kind of philosophy with the woman you just met
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Both the advice above are good. Fun, positive and light on first dates (though you should always be genuine) and then deeper and your truest self slowly. Step by step. A little mystery is good! No rush.
It can sometimes be difficult when you feel some sort of potential connection not to just dive right in. I’ve had to physically bite my tongue before to stop myself revealing more than I should.
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