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There are plenty of rules when it comes to dating conversations — especially on first dates — but have you ever sat back to think about just how important they really are? After all, this is your one and only chance to make a memorable first impression, leaving that person either wanting to spend more time with you or walking away for good. For those serious about meeting someone, the former should always be the goal.
That's why we reached out to Celeste Headlee, Conversation Expert for the online dating site, Plenty of Fish, for some pointers. Celeste told us some tips when it comes to dating conversations, and, no matter what personality type you have — shy or outgoing — how to manage both expectations and keep the date going strong by knowing how and when to talk.
We all know that there are plenty of dating trends that are becoming more and more popular in 2018, but, at its core, good dating conversation is what keeps a relationship strong. It's what makes someone interested or turns them off. It's balancing your experiences with the person sitting across from you.
So just how important is conversation in dating? Keep on reading to see what Celeste Headlee had to say, and then go and conquer your next date like a pro!
FHM: In A Recent POF Study, 81 Percent Of Introverts And 77 Percent Of Extroverts Want Someone Who Leads The Conversation, What's The Best Icebreaker?
Celeste Headlee: "One of the biggest mistakes you can make is going into a date with prepared questions. Most people aren't good enough actors to make a prepared question sound spontaneous and authentic, so it can end up as an awkward exchange. Instead, start the date by really observing your partner. Notice what they're wearing and ask about it. Are they wearing a sports jersey? An interesting piece of jewelry? Do they carry a planner? You can also acknowledge the situation, by saying, 'I know first dates are awkward, but I'd love to learn more about you.' Ask them about the best thing that's happened to them in the past week. Research shows people are more open-minded if they're given a chance to feel good about themselves."
FHM: What Do You Think Is The Best Way Of Approaching The Opposite Sex For The First Time?
Celeste Headlee: "With honesty and authenticity. Don't try to be anyone other than yourself. Honest curiosity is a very attractive quality and research shows that talking about yourself is inherently pleasurable. So, give the other person a chance to talk about themselves. Not with deep, intrusive questions, but with light conversation about their favorite season, or their favorite show to binge."
FHM: On A First Date, Are There Certain Things That Are Completely Off-Limits, Or All Fair Game?
Celeste Headlee: "Yes, a majority of people find it inappropriate to talk about sex on the first date. Plus, it's probably best to stay away from conversations about family, marriage, and whether the other person wants children. That doesn't mean those issues will never come up, only that it's best to avoid them on the first date."
FHM: For Someone Who's Generally Shy Or More Of An Introvert, What Tips Do You Have For Them To Break Out Of Their Shell?
Celeste Headlee: "Ask a lot of questions. It makes the other person feel good if they're allowed to talk about things they like and it relieves the pressure. Also, start by asking about things the other person likes, instead of about their personal beliefs. Sometimes, talking about food or TV or books can be easier for an introvert than conversations about personal opinions and emotions."
FHM: Should Those Types Of People Come Armed And Ready With Things To Ask Or Talk About On A First Date?
Celeste Headlee: "Nope. There's no evidence that introverts are any worse at small talk than extroverts. Chatting drains an introvert of more energy, but they're not less capable of it."
FHM: In The Aforementioned POF Study, Sex Was High On The List Of Important Relationship Factors, How Much Of Sex Is Communication Over Just Physical?
Celeste Headlee: "I think it's good to talk about sex on the third date or later. Knowing expectations relaxes people, so knowing what you expect and asking about the other person's expectations can be a very considerate and important thing. Be respectful, of course, and really listen to what they're telling you. If they seem to be uncomfortable or say things like, 'This makes me feel weird,' then change the subject. Pay attention to what your partner is saying, along with body language."
FHM: OK, So There's A Group Of Cute Ladies At The Table By The Bar, How Does A Guy Muster Up The Guts To Talk To One Of Them?
Celeste Headlee: "This can be tough, because girls in a larger group aren't always open to being hit on. If there are 2 or 3 of them, though, go for it. I'd suggest you don't try to flirt. Instead, go talk to her and make conversation. For safety reasons, don't buy a drink in advance and bring it to her. If you want to offer her a drink, have the bartender make it while she's watching."
FHM: Let's Say A Guy Gets Turned Down In That Situation, Any Tips On Shaking It Off (Other Than Ripping Shots, Of Course)?
Celeste Headlee: "Remember that she is as nervous as you are, so be kind. It's tough to turn someone down, so show some respect. The best response I've gotten after telling someone that I wasn't interested was, 'Thanks for being honest. Have a good night.' Don't badger her or tease her. That's a waste of your time and it probably won't charm her. Remember that getting turned down is much better than getting strung along. Tell her good night and walk away."
FHM: Lastly, Where Are Three Spots That Men Should See The Most Success Talking Or Meeting Women?
Celeste Headlee: "You can be successful almost anywhere. The grocery store, the line at Starbucks, a music festival, or an urban trail. Just remember to approach only if there are others around, as a woman can get nervous if she's alone and a man approaches her. The best strategy is to get out there and do stuff that you like. Volunteer to walk dogs at a shelter, join a hiking group through MeetUp, go to a concert. The women you meet while doing these things will share your interests and you already know you have something in common."
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