Published in May 2020 / Updated in Feb 2021
It is one thing to get acquainted with someone and communicate online, and quite another to finally meet a person in real life. Excitement, embarrassment, awkward pauses, and feigned self-confidence are almost inevitable during the first date. But nevertheless, it is quite possible to make a good impression on initial acquaintance. So let’s consider how to carry on a conversation on the first date.
Talk about traveling, not films
A famous psychologist Richard Wiseman undertook a study that has proven that only 9% of the loving couples that discussed films on their first date wanted to see each other again. But the number of those who talked about traveling and continued dating reached 18%. Perhaps the reason is that traveling is always associated with the untroubled time of vacation and the embodiment of romantic dreams. People get inspired when speaking about such happy moments and thus become more attractive to the representatives of the opposite sex. You can discuss any traveling experience you have had right down to boat rides, cruises for over 50 single men, and visiting neighboring cities.
The main thing is not what to talk about but how
American psychologists Paul Eastwick and Eli Finkel assure that the secret of successful communication is in avoiding extremes. You should not take the lead during the first conversation but at the same time, do not keep silent and be passive. Provide answers, somewhat change the course of the conversation, and ask questions. Respond to the answers of your interlocutor warmly and with genuine interest. Accepting another person and unobtrusive switch of the topic ensure the smooth development of a conversation.
On the first date, many people are shy or afraid to talk about themselves. And in vain. Arthur Aron, a psychologist at Stony Brook University in New York who studies the mechanism of forming romantic relationships, has experimentally proved that it is possible to accelerate the process of the internal approaching of a man and a woman right on the first date.
Aron made a long list of questions that the participants of the experiment had to read to each other and answer them in turn. For example: “Would you like to become famous? In what area?” “What do you dream about?” “What is your greatest achievement?” “What is your most precious/terrible recollection?”
The effect of such a “game of frankness” turned out to be amazing: literally, in an hour of communication, previously unfamiliar people began to feel like soul mates. According to Aron, they had such a level of confidence that ordinary couples sometimes do not reach in weeks, months, or even years of relationships.
Voice your fantasies
You should not be afraid to seem ridiculous or stupid at a meeting with a person you like. Many people are too secretive and do not say what they really want on the first date. Therefore, express yourself completely and voice your thoughts and fantasies. It means that you do not hesitate to be yourself. Communicate with an interlocutor as if it is your close friend. It is one of the best tips on how to carry on a conversation on the first date.
Choose controversial topics rather than boring ones
Dan Ariely, a specialist in behavioral economics and the author of several best-selling books, notes that people usually balance on the first date, solving two problems at once. They want to show themselves and to carefully find out something about themselves vis-a-vis so as not to hurt the interlocutor. Therefore, people often choose some safe conversation topics that may seem boring to a person they communicate with.
But what if to make the first conversation more piquant? Ariely conducted an experiment and suggested the users of a dating site completely eliminate neutral topics such as weather, hobbies, football championships, or work from their correspondence and start an absentee date with “immodest” questions such as: “How many love affairs did you have?” “When did you break-up with the last partner?” “Have you ever broken someone’s heart?” “How do you think about abortion?” As a result, the participants admitted that the correspondence was really exciting for them.
Of course, this is a little too much for real life. But Ariely still recommends avoiding too banal and boring topics of conversation on the first date.