It’s one of the most common fears amongst mere mortal daters. What happens if it gets hella awkward and silent on your date and you run out of things to talk about?
We’ve read a bunch of articles AND been on a tonne of dates, PLUS we get your feedback on a minute-by-minute basis (please keep it coming, we love hearing your date stories). Most articles on conversation starters focus on specific questions to ask; which, unless you’re Rainman, you have Buckley’s chance of remembering. Also, there’s not a lot on the Australian dating scene. Y’know, with our slang and cultural nuances. Here are our top tips for surviving your date:
USE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
The world is your oyster! Use everything and anything around you to stimulate conversation. The menu, the PDA couple at the bar, the bartender with an immaculately groomed beard; there’s a theatre around you - watch it and discuss. Here are some of our road-tested favourites. Use these at will:
“Oh the craft beer list here looks awesome. What do you usually drink”?
“I read a review on the bar snacks here – the carpaccio is meant to be great. Is there anything you don’t eat”?
“What do you think that couple are talking about”?
Don't use these....bad environment, baaad:
“This place smells funny - can you smell that”?
“I had salt and pepper shakers just like these. My ex and I bought them together”
“You have hair exactly like my mum's"
“Last time I ate deep-fried Camembert, I got the runs”
TOO DEEP, TOO SOON
Swim on the surface until you’re confident that you’re not going to dive into the part of the lake where the mosquito larvae are breeding and you end up having an allergic reaction / dying.
“What are you up to this weekend”?
“Tell me about your job”
“What do you do outside of work? Any TV shows, films, books, things that you’ve seen lately”?
Don't tread here:
“When was your last relationship”?
“Do you own your home / live alone”?
“Do you remember being born”?
THOUGHTFUL, NOT CREEPY
A bunch of stuff we’ve read about conversation starters focuses on asking esoteric and thought-provoking questions of your subject. Majority of that kind of stuff will make you appear mega creepy, or at the very least have your date questioning if you might be Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and have just emerged from 15 years in an underground cult. Try these (but read the signs first – see above “too deep, too soon”):
Continue the conversation with a thoughtful question. This question can be about ANYTHING, so isn’t for the faint hearted. It will make you look observant and (hopefully) engage your date in talking more about themselves. It could also make you look like Hannibal Lecter. Try it on a colleague first. If it crashes and burns with your colleague - own it. Maintain solid eye contact for ten seconds, and then walk away. They will never use your coffee cup again.
Most importantly, if you take nothing from this but obscure cultural references, remember this: you are both here because you have an interest in each other. Relax, enjoy the company and remember to give compliments where appropriate. Be positive and the rest is a piece of cake. Dating is like a job interview – you both actually want the other person to be perfect. That’s a pretty damn good starting block.
Got a tip for sailing through a first date? Tell us below!