A first date is a lot like an interview. You should be completely honest, but if being honest means you live with your parents, still listen to Dashboard Confessional, and consider watching TV a form of exercise, this is one job you probably won’t get.
“Living at home is great! My mom still cooks for me,” and/or, “I’m looking for a job, but it sure is nice to have all this free time.”
There are euphemisms for “unemployed loser who lives with his parents,” I promise. Talk about your aspirations for the future and what you are doing right now to pursue them. If you aren’t well-positioned to discuss your employment or, a-hem, unemployment, talk about your “extracurriculars.” Do you volunteer? Do you play an instrument? Are you on an intramural team?
Remember, it’s only funemployment if you have money in the bank.
“Music’s okay, but I definitely don’t dance,” followed soon thereafter by, “Well, I’m not that into movies either, ” followed soon thereafter by, “Books? Like US Weekly?”
Maybe you’re dyslexic. Maybe you think Hollywood killed the film industry, and maybe the Sprinkler was still a cool dance move last time you checked. You don’t have to love reading, music or film, but surely you’ve read or experienced something in the last five years. Maybe you read a great article! Your dining partner is trying to make conversation here, so be prepared to go with it.
“That’s a very patterny-ish dress thing.”
If that’s supposed to be a compliment, it isn’t working.
Don’t play Devil’s Advocate.
So, what you’re really trying to say is you just enjoy arguing.
Be agreeable. If you genuinely have a different viewpoint on something your dining partner has said, try to see his or her position. Say, “I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but I understand your perspective,” and keep it moving, people.
“I just really love cats.”
There’s a stigma for a reason.
“Wow, this sure was an expensive bill. Definitely never coming back here again!”
Don’t talk about money and definitely don’t talk about the cost of the bill. It will make you sound cheap no matter what the context. A tight budget isn’t a good enough reason to write off dating altogether. Suggest your favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant or your favorite BYOB. It’s the experience that counts, and if it’s fun, even plastic cutlery can’t detract from laughter and general merriment.
Oh, and carry cash. Always carry cash.
Religion or politics at the dinner table are likely unwise.
Unless you met at the Democratic National Convention, steer clear of topics that could create awkwardness. Second date conversation.
First dates can be nerve-wracking, so just remember the Golden Rule: If you have nothing nice to say, well then, simply say nothing at all. But say something! Speaking is essential. For Heaven’s sake, say something. Just none of the above.