Dating advice: what to say
The majority of the tips and advice we share via the blog concern the online bit of online dating; writing a great response, choosing good photos, writing witty emails and the like. Recently, however, we received an email from an MSFer asking the following: 'Can you give some advice on what to do on the actual date? I get really nervous and could do with some guidance'. We've already covered what to wear and first date venues, and today we're taking a look at what to talk about. Hopefully the conversation will flow between you like a babbling mountain brook, but it can be easy to fall into tongue-tied territory and thence on into terminal awkwardness from which you'll just want to escape. If the chat falters, these tips should help.
It's worth having a list of questions up your sleeve to throw into the mix if you suddenly find yourselves sitting in silence. We don't mean literally up your sleeve, though one ex-MSFer who met his wife through the site told us he took a written list of questions with him to their first date and nipped off to the loo every now and then to make sure he was primed with some conversation. Sounds eccentric, but it worked. It doesn't really matter what questions you ask, they could be anything from 'What's your favourite colour?' to 'When did you last fall over?'. All you're doing is providing a stepping stone to a new conversation.
A well placed compliment works on the same lines as the question, but it makes you seem incredibly charming to boot. If there's a lull in conversation, pick something you like about them and tell them. If you choose something that might have a story attached you can go for the compliment and question combination, eg. 'That's a lovely manbag/necklace/sombrero, where did you get it?', thus making them feel good about their accessorising skills and giving them a platform to speak from. Avoid going too far with your compliments on a first date though, as things like 'You're the most exceptionally beautiful person I've ever seen IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!' will just freak them out.
We've all got a few classic anecdotes that we like to whip out at any opportunity; the ones that make us seem incredibly funny and exciting and like we lead a life of surreal hilarity and outrageous coincidence, rather than a more prosaic existence of work, gym, football and arguing with our friends about whether Jessie J is fitter Cheryl Cole (applicable to both sexes, this one). We wouldn't go so far as to say you should rehearse them, lest your delivery appears somewhat wooden and your flatmates think you're teetering on the very brink of sanity, but it's worth hauling them out of the memory bank and giving them a little dust, as a good story goes a very long way.
Do you know what? It really is the best policy. Hopefully you'll have been honest in your initial correspondence and they weren't disappointed when you arrived at the Angus Steakhouse instead of a long, lean clothes horse with model good looks and a PHD in saving cute animals whilst being incredibly sexy. Be honest in your conversation as any boastful lies which you think might impress your date will come back to haunt you if this initial meeting develops into something more. You want your date to like you, not a souped-up, Pimp My Ride version of you with extra bling and go faster stripes, so stick to the truth.
Good flirting requires a bit of intuition on your part. For example, some people will respond well to the intense-staring-whilst-asking-lots-of-questions method, whilst others will struggle to meet your eye until an hour into the date; you need to figure out what type your date is and tailor your conversation accordingly. Flirtatious conversation is generally about all the stuff around the talking, the looks and smiles and touches, rather than the subject matter. If you get that right, you could be talking about the European Commission for Trade and it will be the most thrilling conversation of your life.
We'll be back next week with some more dating advice, so keep an eye on the blog.
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