First dates – what not to say

Take a keyboard away from someone who uses dating sites or any social media platform and you’d be surprised at how many of them just clam up. If they have access to QWERTY, they’re flirty; minus the digits they’re practically frigid. Strange, but oh so true.

However, anyone who’s been on a succession of dates with singles they’ve met on the dating site of their choice will tell you that there have been times when they wish that they could have adopted the silent treatment as a weapon of choice, either for themselves when they’ve put their foot in their mouth or to use as a YKK zipper on their dating partner whose incessant chatter is destroying the romantic ardour built up beforehand.

But perhaps the most devastating thing that can happen on your first date is running out of things to say. When you have been in a relationship for some time, there are ways in which you can communicate with your partner that transcend vocals. This can either be a depth of sentiment that highlights your true one-ness (or wan-ness, if your relationship is coming to its natural conclusion) or it can be the depth of brown stuff you’re in, if you’ve upset your better half.

Save the silent treatment until you’ve been dating a while

Women play the silent card very well. Only when they think you’re starting to enjoy the silence do they dignify themselves to speak to you in any way that conforms to the norms of acknowledgement, but that’s for another article; for now, we’ll stick to the awkward silence when you first meet up with a potential partner from your dating site.

Being mean and moody is all well and good, but if you try to hide behind that persona on your first date, the likelihood of getting a second is zilch. Big fat zip.

In the early stages of dating, it’s all about getting to know whether there is any mileage in you expending your time and effort in the person you’re seeing, and that is very much a two-way street.

Assuming that you have spent time building up an online dating relationship with the person you are about to meet up with, which is usual on any matchmaking or personals site other than a casual dating platform, you should know a little about your date. If they have expressed an interest in any subjects with which you’re not au fait, then do a little research into them.

When it comes to the date, do not try to blag it, pretending you’re an aficionado in the subject to impress; be honest. You’ll score more brownie points by ‘letting it slip’ that you took the time out to brush up, even if only slightly, on subjects that interested your partner than by trying to usurp their knowledge, then failing miserably and finally making yourself out to look like a right git.

If all else does fail, one thing not to do is panic. Instead of asking what they do for a living, you could end up being over intrusive by asking about their salary. Or, if asking about their recent dating history (but only as a very last resort – remember, this first date is about you, them and pastures new); you may splutter something along the lines of ‘how many guys you had, then?’, or, ‘as a woman, do you think it’s right to go all the way on a first date?’. Scoff at your peril, but when the pressure’s on, especially if you’ve overdone the Dutch courage, keeping the relationship between brain and mouth in the right order does not always work in the way you’d like it to, to devastating effect.

Keep it fresh and relevant, not too intrusive and let your date get a word in every now and then. The goal is to come away with you both knowing more about each other and judging whether there is any mileage in a repeat performance.