Our biggest mistake on a first date as Christian singles, actually our human response, really, is to fill the empty spaces in conversation because of nervousness. It is good to share a certain amount of information but it is important not to share too much too soon. First of all, it takes out the joy of that person getting to know you slowly, and secondly, it makes you seem arrogant if you only speak about yourself. Try not to control the conversation and rather use the 80-20 rule of conversation. This means that you talk 20% of the time and you listen 80% of the time. Use open-ended questions and allow the other person time to answer them at their own pace, without interruptions. Listening is an essential ingredient to a great conversation and to a successful relationship.
So what do you talk about then, if you should steer clear of conversation centred on yourself? Here are a couple of conversation tips just to get you going so that you can practice those listening skills:
#1: Talk about not having anything to talk about
It sounds silly, I know, but you’re probably both thinking it anyway. Make a comment on how it’s awkward when you meet someone new for the first time and you’re not sure where to start the conversation. You will probably start talking about that and you will have solved the problem of not having anything to talk about as well.
#2: Keep up with the news
You may not be the biggest fan of politics or have much interest in current events but your date may have a real interest in this. Keep up to date with what is happening in the news so that if he or she does start to talk about it, you are not completely lost and possible even have an opinion to voice. You may even find you might start to enjoy knowing what is going on.
#3: Share highlights (or low moments) of the day
Ask your date about the highlights of his or her day and share yours as well. Sharing little things such as these could lead to longer and more in depth conversations and will also allow you to get to know your date a little better as you get to see how they react to something good happening to them and to something possibly frustrating.
#4: Fashion conversation, literally
If your date is wearing something interesting, comment on it. While getting dressed, pick your clothes and accessories carefully. Wear something interesting like a funky scarf or necklace that has some sort of significance to you. You never know where conversation could lead and you may end up talking about something you hadn’t expected would be interesting to anybody but yourself.
#5: Use follow up questions
Follow up questions keep the conversation flowing. If you ask your date how they are and they give you an answer, follow up that question with an enquiry as to why they gave you that answer. It will put them more at ease if you are genuinely interested in how they are.
#6: Use open-ended questions
An open-ended question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. It actually requires an explanation and further detail. Follow up on previous discussions if this is a person you have been corresponding with online for a period of time.
#7: Use obvious conversation starters
It might seem contrived to you but the obvious conversation starters like “What funny movies have you watched lately?” and “Are you reading any good books at the moment?” can actually lead to some really great conversations that flow well and allow you to get to know the other person better. Just because it is cliché doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
#8 Know when to call it quits
If none of your efforts result in the conversation going anywhere and it feels just as awkward toward the end of the date as it did in the beginning, let it go. You can’t force interaction and conversation to go the way you want it to and you can’t connect with everyone you meet. The most important thing is just to be yourself and let whatever is on your mind come to the surface so that you can carry the best conversation you can. If it doesn’t work, you can’t do anything about it and need to know when to move on.
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