When it comes to first dates, though it may sound disenchanting, the most important and scientifically proven asset is physical attractiveness. Luckily, many people have different tastes and facial symmetry won’t always guarantee a second date. Also, there’s this thing called personality. I could resort to using cliché’s like “be yourself”, however, short cliché’s may not fully suffice when anxiety is bubbling throughout your body. That’s why everyone can use a few tips to remind them of how to make the best first impression and how to go about being you. The following list may seem somewhat obvious, but sometimes the reputedly obvious tools of conversation can be the ones most frequently overlooked. And NO, this article will not cite statistics or give you specific phrases that will surely “woo” your dates. Rather, it will provide you with the tools to “be yourself” and what exactly that vague, ineffective piece of advice entails.
1. Ask Them About Themselves
A few questions about their endeavors conveys that you have a wide variety of interests. And your intrigue doesn’t have to be feigned. Grab onto something they say, preferably a topic that you have at least a rudimentary knowledge of, and continue the conversation. This may seem insultingly obvious. But during dates, many people have a tendency to respond with compliments, especially compliments that gush over physical appearance. One or two compliments regarding appearance are sufficient. Don’t make your date feel as though their appearance is their best asset. Focus on what they have to say. Similarly, too many compliments will come across as vapid and will lead to your date feeling as though your mind is solely programmed for sex rather than meaningful conversation. Lastly, always comment on what they have to say with your own experiences, but remember to direct the conversation back to them.
2. Use That Dating App
If you don’t feel secure in your ability to readily respond to the topics being thrown at you, learn about your date before meeting them in person. One benefit of dating apps in the modern age is that they can facilitate conversation during the first date. Ask questions on the app that aren’t overly specific, and have a general knowledge of your date’s interests. If you have no genuine interest in any of the questions you’re asking, then I would advise bypassing the first date altogether. While what’s beautiful about relationships is being able to explore the differences you and your significant other may have, a healthy degree of similarity should be sought for to create a basis for intrigue.
3. Have An Opinion
If a controversial topic is relevant to the conversation, don’t be afraid to talk about it. If your date disagrees with you, acknowledge their perspective and calmly explain why you’re on another end of the spectrum. Do so without condescension of course, but explain your reasoning clearly and confidently. Uncertainty can often be mistaken for apathy. A Columbia University speed dating study showed that, for women in particular, a subjective rating of intelligence is generally a determinant of whether or not he or she will want a second date. Thus, a man who is inquisitive and intellectual is much more attractive than a man who is overly neutral towards hot topics.
4. Use The Silence To Your Advantage
The eccentric Quentin Tarantino may not be a top pick for relationship advice. But he is right about one thing. There is such a thing as “comfortable silence” during a date. Hastily digressing into new topics creates a feeling of unease. Again, don’t bring up a topic that isn’t relevant to the conversation. If the conversation is slowly and organically dwindling, let it happen. Pay attention and let the little moments of silence do the talking. An amiable smile and a brief, yet meaningful glance is all you need to convey genuine interest.
5. Don’t Follow A Script
Anxiety is perfectly acceptable and common on a first date, but help abate your anxiety by having a general idea of what your date’s interest are and how you two connect. This, however, does not mean you should be reciting a script. Despite what some articles may advise, DON’T rehearse your questions. Relax and let them follow the stream of conversation. Having a prepared set of questions won’t only be transparent to your date, but he or she will also be less likely to respond sincerely to your questions when their delivery seems contrived. Just remember to relax. A date should feel like a date, not a job interview.
Overall, relax and focus on what your date is saying, not what they’re thinking. The most egregious error you could make is to follow the advice of some lonely writer on the internet who tells you that “statistically” the best topic is how many pets he or she has. Statistics aren’t always applicable. Only bring up relevant information and listen to what your date has to say. Likewise, maintain reciprocity. If your date is deciding to be vulnerable, you should decide to be vulnerable. Again, all of this information may sound insultingly obvious. But we often forget the most obvious advice, especially during an age in which self-obsession and isolation seems to be rewarded. A socially astute millennial willing to give generous attention to another person is becoming somewhat of a rarity. Too much of the time a significant other is reduced to a flattering image, as a way of boosting our own ego. Admittedly, this is all coming from a twenty-two-year-old who has a lot of learning to do himself in respect to dating. But the most challenging part of emerging into the dating world is overcoming the pressure that comes with such an image-conscious society. Just like much of this article, these are things that have of course been said before and are likely to be said again. But if some edgy, nihilistic cliché about how insignificant you are doesn’t help, just remember that your date probably bears the same weight.