1. The Weather
Unless you both work for the Bureau of Meteorology, it’s best to keep all things weather to a simple “nice night, isn’t it?” comment at the beginning of the date.
2. The Ex
Let’s face it; we all have our what-could-have-been stories. First dates can be stressful enough without trying to compete with someone’s ex who’s not even there!
Dredging up the ex will do no one any favours. By doing so, one of two things can happen; you’re going to come off as bitter, hurt and/or angry (all of which aren’t exactly the best selling points), or it will show that you’re still hung up on your ex (code: the first date death penalty).
3. Marriage & Children
The first date (or second and third for that matter) is WAY too early to even mention the words “marriage” or “children”, let alone discuss it. This topic is the number one scare off for guys – yes ladies, even the good ones.
It’s a no-win situation, particularly if you are a single parent. If you say you don’t like children, then it will appear that you’re not ready for a serious relationship. If you can’t stop talking about children – whether it be your own or your dream of little Sally and Steve running around the backyard – then it’s an indication that your partner will always play second fiddle to your kids. The latter is true for almost every single parent, but it’s one of those things you’d rather not hear out loud.
4. Negative news, negative phrases, negative people
“This just in, hundreds dying off the coast of Japan. Isn’t the world just an awful, ungodly place? Tragic really. It’s disasters like this that make me wonder if there is a higher being… Yes, I think we’re ready to order.”
“And how about that Osama. I wonder when the movie’s going to come out. It’ll be interesting to see who’ll direct. My money’s on Quentin Tarantino. Let’s be honest; the man knows how to capture violence, torture – the full palette of human destruction really… Ooh, can you pass the salad? Yum!”
It’s just not kosher people. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
KPIs, comms, portfolios… let’s be honest; who really cares?
Remember, who you are is not what you do. Who you are is what you are.
6. Religion & Politics
Religion and politics are two of the most sensitive topics you will discuss with anyone. Again, it’s a no-win situation. Even if you prepare a better argument, you’ll still come across as egotistical. If you have no comeback, you’ll portray yourself as a pushover.
Whether it’s the bill or your annual income, the only people who will push for answers to these questions are the men and women you probably don’t want to be lending your credit card to any time soon.
Tip: Fellas, keep it simple; just pay for the meal.
8. The Gross
A client recently told me the story about the time he went out with a nurse. Now this guy works in human resources, so the two didn’t exactly share the same day-to-day work experiences. His date opened with a story about patient she had been looking after who had been suffering a severe case of gastro. She spoke of all the horrifying duties that went along with being his nurse. Not exactly painting a picture of beauty and intrigue now, is she?
Talking non-stop about oneself is the biggest first date killer in the world. A better bet is to ask your date about what he/she likes, and then you can figure out what you have in common.
10. Three words, eight letters
Take it from Ted Mosby (from TV’s How I Met Your Mother), the whole “I love you” Hail Mary play at the end of a first date, won’t do you any favours.
Like a fine wine, “I love you” is a drink best served next to a platter of exotic cheese over sunset on a warm Summers evening. But that’s a story for another time.