by Margeaux Baulch Klein
TIP #1: HAVE CONFIDENT BODY LANGUAGE
First dates can be nerve-racking for the sheer fact that you don’t always know what to expect. However, there are a few tricks to looking confident even when you’re quaking in your heels. First, maintain eye contact throughout your conversation (but don’t over-do it; it’s not a staring contest!) If you feel your voice becoming shaky, stop for a moment and take a deep breath before you resume speaking. Also, watch for any nervous behaviors like tapping your fingers on the table or shaking your foot. Besides potentially annoying your date, they are dead giveaways that you’re anxious. When all else fails, acknowledge the elephant in the room and admit you are excited to be there, but feeling a little jittery. (He’s probably nervous too.)
TIP #2: DON’T BE A CHATTERBOX
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in wanting our date to like us that we forget that we’re supposed to be evaluating his potential as well. Counteract this and avoid talking too much by asking him fun, insightful questions that will helpfully reveal what he’s passionate about. Some ideas to jump-start the conversation: Do you have any siblings? How about pets? Where has been your favorite place to travel to? Have you read any good books or seen any films recently? Don’t forget to follow-up on what he’s saying if anything in particular catches your interest.
TIP #3: KEEP YOUR ANSWERS CONCISE AND UPBEAT
On a first date, you don’t want to be guilty of TMI. You both are just getting to know one another, so it’s best to accentuate the positive, as the saying goes. For example, if you’re currently unemployed (which is understandable in this grim economy) and he asks you what you do for a living, just mention that you’re currently between jobs and looking. Don’t go on and on about what a jerk your former boss was and how unfair it was that they laid you off. You risk turning him off and giving him the impression that you’re a high-drama person, even if you’re not.
TIP #4: BE PREPARED
Besides, waxing your legs and teasing your hair, brushing up on current events, both nationally and in your community, can come in handy on a first date, especially if the conversation should slow at some point. Even if you’re not a news buff, skimming a newspaper or taking a quick scroll through cnn.com should suffice, as men love to explain things anyway. Avoid sensitive subjects such as politics and religion, however.
TIP #5: KEEP THE DATE SHORT
At this point, you should be well on your way to becoming an expert on at dating small talk however, even when you’re feeling major sparks, resist the temptation to do a marathon date or talk to each other all night long. It’s always best to leave them wanting more, so be sure to save something to chat about on the second date.