I think it's safe to say we've all had some cringe worthy first dates. Simply put: the main goal of a first date usually is just to have fun. Sounds easy enough, right? Not when the conversation sucks. Communication is key. What we choose to talk about on a first date is usually a good indicator of what we can expect from our *new luv interest* for future dates. That being said, maybe choose NOT to talk about these topics.
It can be easy to fall into the "past relationships" talk on a first date. Typically we only bring up our exes that were mediocre at best (and completely awful if we're being honest.) Especially on a first date, we might assume it's a good idea to bring up past relationships as a way to: 1) make clear what we DON'T want out of this potential relationship or from this date, and/or 2) "connect" with our date over a mutually shitty dating history.
In either case on a first date, it's conversation that really doesn't need to happen. Remember: it's only the first date. It's unrealistic to assume that you won't EVER talk about your past relationships! Let's face it: this is how we learn what our date (or future boyfriend/girlfriend) does or does not like in a relationship. It's a way to grow closer with someone as we share our past. That being said, a first date doesn't need to be an emotional story-telling experience about our exes.
By bringing up your ex during the first date, you're essentially telling your new "suitor" that your ex is still on your mind or even a part of your life. Your ex isn't sitting across from you at the restaurant or bar, so focus on the person who is.
Work, work, work, work, work
Cue in Rihanna. Talking about work on a first date always is up for debate. The question shouldn't really be whether or not to talk about work, but rather: how much is too much? Personally, I want to hear about your job on a first date! Talking about your job can reveal a couple things about you: your motivation, interests, passion, commitment, responsibility, and the list goes on. Work talk becomes an issue on a first date when it becomes consuming; when the conversation only is work-centric and fails to branch out to anything else you've got going on in your life.
Share what you do and why you like it, versus why you do not. The negativity about your job won't do you any good besides put a damper on the conversation and on the date itself. Anything else can be saved for future dates. Unless you want your date thinking your life revolves around your work, keep it short and sweet. Remember: you're on a date, not an interview.
I'll put this simply and as straight forward as possible: your first date is not your therapy session, and it is most certainly not a place for you to complain (or bitch) endlessly. You are of course allowed to feel emotional, angry, and negative, but for your date's sake: don't invite it into the first time you two meet! Your date does not have to hear that your hot water got turned off this morning, that Starbuck's fucked up your order, or that your boss was an asshole today (please note: there are also larger issues in the world to face.) Complaints serve only one purpose on a first date: filling the environment with negativity and close-ended conversation.
It is not their job on the first date to be your soundboard for everything going wrong in your life. Save the complaints for your friends or family after the date (sorry guys); they're more so "required" to listen, whereas your date doesn't necessarily fit that role yet, and certainly shouldn't need to. Set the tone for future dates by first creating a positive one.
By all means, it's more than okay to talk about your future goals and plans you have for yourself. It's also reasonable to start talking about a second date as the first one is coming to an end (considering all went well.) When I say to lay off the future talk, I'm referring to bombarding your date with "all the fun things we have to do together!" when you're only ten minutes into the first date. Of course, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but trust me: it happens.
A few years ago I experienced a first date fell slightly (said with sarcasm) on the extreme side of future talk. My date got a little too drunk off of too many whiskey shots at Bub City (reasonably enough, that is easy to do) and said something along the lines of, "I could totally see myself marrying you!" Might I add: I was not looking for marriage. Might I also add: we were certainly not on the same page. When we bring up future talk during a first date, we're automatically placing pressure on our date. The only thing that we should really be focused on during a first date is exactly that: we are on a first date, and that's all it is at the moment.
So, what the hell DO we talk about?
You've got a heck of a lot more to offer your date besides relying on past relationships, work, or negativity to be the foundation of your conversation! A date can certainly touch on "deeper" topics; you do not need to just depend on small talk or surface-level topics. Keep things positive as your date is invited into your world: share embarrassing childhood stories, family memories, travel experiences. These conversations allow your date to see who you are as a person, what your sense of humor is, and what you value in life.
Bring up your favorite food, restaurants, bars, and places to see in Chicago. And let's be honest: food-related talk seems to be pretty easy to bond over. This also acts like a seamless transition into the next date. "Oh, you haven't been to Au Cheval yet...?" You can either call your date insane, or take the initiative to grab a burger next week.
Have fun with it. Dating isn't supposed to be as complex as we sometimes create it to be.