Instant Swag Killers (A Brief Refresher)

By Nicole Honchariw

Breaching these topics on a first date is a sure way to send your girl running home faster than Barry (Bonds, that is.) Most should be common knowledge, but let’s play it safe, shall we? Consider this your Cliff’s Notes in first date faux pas:

  1. Your past relationships. Obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many people can’t help but bring the topic up, even if just in a few offhand references. The minute you drop the “ex” word, you’re inviting a third (or fourth or fifth, if you’re a true offender) person into your conversation. You made the evening’s reservation for two, so if only for logistics’ sake, don’t go there. If you’re bringing a past relationship up in order to highlight a positive change or some other great revelation, let your actions and respect show it instead. Save the details for a person you know well enough to know will want and appreciate the information.
  2. Money. Your money, her money, even other people’s money (the tone you take will only reveal your own situation, woes, or brags). Talking about money is considered tacky for a reason, so unless your date herself is keen to jump on the economics discussion, steer clear.
  3. Sex. Gentleman. It’s a good rule of thumb to not talk about anything sexual with a woman whose hand you haven’t even held yet. It comes across as assuming and inappropriate, and might push her away- even if she was feeling you before.
  4. Her looks. Telling a woman she looks nice is an appreciated compliment, but don’t go overboard with the aesthetic stuff. Focus on getting to know your date beyond her looks, and you won’t give her reason to doubt your intentions. And going back to #3, be especially wary of complimenting anything other than her beautiful face! Even a comment about her “great legs” can breach the propriety line and come across as way too assuming and creepy.
  5. Racist jokes. Sure, everyone has their own sense of humor, and maybe she’s just as much of a jackass as you are. In the interest of first impressions and reasonable doubt, though, don’t risk a good connection for a cheap, tasteless joke. Even if your intentions aren’t malicious, it’s too hard to gauge the taste of someone you’ve just met.
  6. The weather (or what time you woke up that day, or how you got to the date location that evening, or anything else completely useless in forging a real connection). You won’t be able to avoid this small talk entirely, but while not as potentially insulting as the others on the list, try your hardest to avoid lingering on this shallow chit chat. Take the risk and ask real questions, getting to know your date deeper than the wading pool of a cocktail party. The challenge will pay off.