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Dating To-Don'ts

You’re at the restaurant/movie/park, having a great time with your date. Suddenly, the conversation grinds to a screeching halt and your companion fidgets, looks around for the nearest exit and mumbles, “Yeah…we should do this again sometime…”

Was it something you said? Probably. Most of us at one point or another have overshared on a first date, throwing any chance of finding romance out the window. Before you lob a verbal missile, you might want to review a list of off-limits topics for first dates:

Don’t bash the ex. In fact, don’t even mention the ex. If he wants to know about your last breakup <link to breaking up>, keep it simple. Something like “We had our share of good and bad times” always works. Then move the conversation along to the next topic.

Be baggage free. Check your neuroses at the door–there’s plenty of time for this person to figure out your “unique” characteristics. Be open, friendly and charming, and don’t rattle on about your bad boss, bad ex or bad family. Keep it positive and your date will too!

Avoid the Big Three. Money, sex and religion should probably stay off the table on a first date, unless you work in finance, porn or are a member of the clergy. If these topics arise naturally, talk in broad strokes about how those issues in terms of news headlines, not your own life.

Stay away from “We.” It seems like common sense, but any talk of marriage or the future is simply way too premature for a first date, no matter how much of a connection you feel.

The best thing you can do on a date is to be casual, cool and collected. Listen more than you speak and really try to get to know the person you’re with. Soon, you’ll be on a second date, and then a third—and yes, there will be time eventually to say what’s on your mind!

Posted: 4/24/08