First Date No No’s

Wed. April 30, 2008 12:00 AM
by John D. Moore

Five topics to avoid on the critical first date

In this article:
• Explore the concept of first date no no's
• Identify the five topics to avoid on a first date
• Assess strategies for success

Chewing gum at a frantic pace, his shoulders held tightly, twenty-eight year old Jack swung his leg back and forth, giving an extra kick at the end of each oscillation. Appearing anxious and frustrated, he focused his sapphire blue eyes on the stoplight, visible through the picture window of my mid-rise office.

There was a brief silence. He looked moved his eyes towards his folded hands.

"It happened again last night — I got dumped right after dinner," he said. "I don't know what's wrong with me, but after I go out on that first date, the guy always gives me the boot." He looked directly at me. "It really hurts, you know? It's getting pretty old and I am just about ready to give up on the dating thing altogether — it's just not worth it!"

Can you relate to Jack? If so, then you know how painful it can be to discover what it is like to be "dumped" after that first romantic interlude. After listening to him and asking some probing questions, we mutually discovered that he was engaging in some common first date "no no's" that, unbeknownst to jack, were chasing possible suitors away. Specifically, he spoke on subjects that are best avoided during those first few critical moments of date number one.

Here are five topics to use discretion with or avoid a first date:

This is a common mistake and one that often causes a once interested suitor to "flee". Going out on a first date is an opportunity to start fresh and anew. Try to avoid any conversations about your old boyfriend and focus on the interests of the person you are with. Nobody likes to feel as if they are the "transition date" or being compared to another. If the other person starts talking about their X, let them know that you are interested in what is happening in the here and now and that in time, discussions about previous relationships will happen.

While it is true that first dates are somewhat like job interviews, it is probably not a good idea to start making inquiries into your date's personal net worth. Specifically, avoid the "what can you bring to the table" approach. Sound crazy that someone would do this? Think about some of the dates you have been on and pretty soon it becomes apparent just how rampant this dating faux pas is. This is not to say that you cannot discuss topics of employment and career goals however there is a fine line between making small talk and plain being nosey.

On that first lighthearted date, do you really want to engage in conversations regarding how a person chooses (or not) how to worship? There will be plenty of time to discuss theology and the role of religion/spirituality in your life. On date number one however, why get into such a serious and for some folks … emotional topic. Your own personal spiritual beliefs may play an important part of your life however, date number one may not be the moment to discuss the benefits of Taoism.

This may sound rather brutal however, it is best to avoid trying to impress your date with a bunch of accomplishments. Does it really matter that you graduated at the top of your class? That you got in on a great stock deal last year and made thousands? The point here is if you talk about yourself too much, your date may get the wrong impression and think he cannot compete or worse, think you are arrogant! If you simply must talk about your accomplishments, try something less serious, like the time you won first place in your eight-grade spelling bee! Even better, be open to talking about those times when you came in second or third place. In other words, tone down the bragging.

This point may sound like a no brainer, but believe it or not some people actually ask this question on a first date over appetizers! Think about it – if you were asked this right out of the gate, what might your reaction be? There will be time enough to figure out if the other person is sexually compatible but on date number one, use discretion regarding this topic. After all, you may be unintentionally sending the "I'm looking for a hook up" signal when in reality, you are searching for romance!


Making that first date a success takes a lot of work but the benefits are worth it. Here is a tip: Try to get your date to talk about himself and then judge for yourself if the two of you are have room for growth. Why does this trick work? Simply because it is only natural for a person to want to talk about themselves — so while they are yammering, you are appearing smart and concerned! Also, letting your date take the verbal lead in the conversation will help to keep things running smoothly. Use date two to demonstrate your alpha male characteristics.

So what happened to Jack? He began to avoid these five topics and soon discovered that his "first dates" started turning into second, third and fourth ones. Before long, he had so many dates lined up that he found himself in the position of "dumping" his less desirable suitors in favor of more promising ones. Talk about turning the tables! This can happen for you too. And why not — you're worth it!