TMI Alert: What’s Too Much on a First Date?
Stay calm, relaxed, don't overshare
It’s far too easy to overshare on a first date. When you’re just getting to know someone, you want to be honest and open, but you also have to know what’s the right amount of honesty for each stage of dating.
A good rule of thumb is to share the same amount of important information on a date as how many dates you’ve had. On a first date, share one tidbit, such as “I was married before.” On the second date, you can reveal two things. On the third date, three. And so on. Before you know it, you’ll be in a relationship and know everything about the other person.
Find out how to enjoy your first date, and keep it fun and exciting.
Be yourself, but appropriate
Tina B. Tessina, PhD, (aka "Dr. Romance") psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, shared her best tips for first date behavior:
Avoid Anxiety. This date is exciting and energizing. Have fun and enjoy the moment, but be aware if you get too excited, anxious and giddy, you might come on too strong. Don't let your anxiety prevent your date from seeing the real you. Remember this is just a first date, and don't get too far ahead in your fantasies. This is a crucial time for learning about this other person, so take your time and allow the relationship to develop.
Be Charming. Don't underestimate how powerful your smile can be - use it often, make eye contact and keep the conversation flowing. Pay attention to what interests you about your date, and show interest in his or her opinions, experiences and activities. Be complimentary whenever possible, and respond intelligently to whatever is said to you.
Have Fun - Don't Get Too Heavy. Keep your date light and easy, and have a good time. Focus on being pleasant, having fun, and not getting too far ahead of the relationship, and you will be great company. Be careful not to soliloquize - don't talk too long about any one subject without inviting a comment from your date.
Keep Conversation Interesting, Light, No Deep Secrets. You can talk about anything, including your personal lives, past relationships and love in general, but don't be the one who brings up the intimate topics first. Be wary of prying too deeply into your date's private life and secrets, unless the information is voluntarily offered.
Don't Talk Too Much about Yourself. Keep your focus on learning about your date and don't talk too much about yourself. Dole out some information about you, especially if it relates to what your date is saying, but don't talk endlessly about your own life, opinions, experiences or activities. Punctuate your conversation with questions: "What do you think?" "Has it been that way for you?" And listen to the answers.
Pay Attention. You Have Things to Learn Here. The most important aspect of this date, in addition to having a good time, is to get to know each other better. No matter how excited, turned on or thrilled you may be about this date, listening to what your date says, watching what your date does and understanding how your date feels are still your primary objectives.
What Your Date Thinks of You Is Not Your Business - Your Business Is What You Think of Your Date. One of the easiest ways to lose your objectivity and balance in this is to worry about what your date thinks about you. If you spend your time essentially trying to look at yourself through your date's eyes, guessing what he or she is seeing when looking at you, or hearing when listening to you, you'll miss what's really happening. You're supposed to be evaluating the other person, not thinking, positively or negatively, about yourself. Pay attention so you know what you think of your date.
“Hopefully, because you've thought about the serious issues in advance, you'll still be able to relax and have a good time - so good, that you decide to keep dating each other. Then, you'll need a whole new set of skills, “ Tessina said.
Keep it light
Nancy B. Irwin, a psychologist and hypnotist, treats many singles, and shares her best suggestions for first date conversation:
- First dates are for checking out a common interests and that initial spark. Keep it light: talk about your family of origin, education, hobbies, travel, sports, music, work, etc.
- TMI is any abuse or assault in your background, addictions, legal issues, your father's domestic violence of your mother, etc. If any of these issues naturally get touched upon, then toss it off lightly and smile and say, "Not first date conversation!"
- If your date asks about any serious issues like this, simply state, "I am uncomfortable talking about this at this time."
- Compassionate people know that everyone has something in their background and/or family, and there is a safe time and place to discuss this. Not on a first date. Too disrespectful and invasive to a sense of privacy.