There is nothing worse than being on a first date and suffering through the awkward patches of silence as the two of you struggle for conversation. It’s the kind of experience that is so uncomfortable it could cause you to stress out every time you agree to going out with someone new. On the flipside, first dates can be amazing if the conversation ends up non-stop, and you find each other interesting, funny and connected.

Sometimes the difference between awkward and amazing simply depends on your ability to get the conversation flowing. Here are 6 tips on how to open those floodgates, so that you and your first date really have a fair shot at connecting!

  1. Read up on current events before the date. One of the best ways to strike up an interesting conversation is to talk about what’s going on in the world. Whether it’s breaking news, a popular new movie or even the latest Apple gadget on the market, talking about the news is not only stimulating, but it’s a great way to get to know someone. Tip: a quick, effective way to catch up on the news is to read The Skimm or listen to a news station while in your car.
  2. Ask lots of questions. A simple rule of thumb to live by is, if you don’t know what to say next to your date, just ask him or her a question about themselves. I guarantee this will produce conversation because I’ve yet to meet anyone who found it difficult to talk about themselves. “Where did you grow up?” “Where did you go to college?” “Tell me about your job.” “What do you enjoy doing on weekends?” These are all easy and pleasant questions that will spark easy and pleasant conversation.
  3. Comment on his or her appearance. “I really like your tie. Where did you get it?” This question alone could spark a whole shopping conversation. “Your hair looks really nice,” could lead to a story of how she just got it cut and rarely wears it this short.
  4. Be open and honest. It’s OK to say something like, “I haven’t dated much and this is new to me… so I’m a little nervous.” Being open and honest puts everyone at ease.
  5. Listen to what your date is saying. Really listen. Have you ever been on a date, asked him or her a question, and you are so nervous that your mind is going in a million directions and you end up not really listening to his or her response? Though understandable, try to pay attention to what your date is saying for two reasons. One, it’s important because you are getting to know the person and two, if you listen, you will most likely have follow up questions which will lead to more conversation.
  6. Laugh! The best thing you can do on a first date is laugh. How do you do that? Don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself, keep things light, tell jokes or just be honest in a funny way. It’s Just Lunch has conducted numerous studies that show both men and women love dates who make them laugh and smile. Laughing makes people more attractive, and often is the spark to move the conversation to the next level.

by Jackie Pilossoph

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