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Entering the dating game, particularly if it’s after a divorce or the breakdown of a long relationship, is more than a little daunting.
There seems to be so many things that can potentially go wrong.
What if she doesn’t like you? What if you run out of conversation, or worse, what if you can’t think of anything to say in the first place?
You’re not alone in these concerns. Many people (both men and women) put off dating for fear of an evening filled with awkward silences.
However, let’s keep things in perspective. It’s true that she may not like you, but then you may not like her either. You’re both in the same position.
The dating game is a two-way process, so don’t concentrate too much on what your date may think of you.
You can have an excruciatingly awful date and then never have to see her again (which is a good reason not to leap into the dating game with a co-worker or a neighbor).
If the evening is a disaster, what have you lost? A couple of hours of your time and the cost of a few drinks.
What have you gained? A funny dinner party story to tell your friends about the date from hell: “And then she said…” You get the picture.
The big day has arrived. You’ve successfully greeted your date with a compliment.
You’ve ordered drinks without looking a total fool, and she hasn’t made a dubious excuse and beaten a hasty retreat.
The signs are good! Now you need to show her that you’re witty and intelligent by wowing her with your sparkling conversation.
Oh God, where to start?
“You’re not going to get any better
at dating sitting at home alone.”
This is where a little planning goes a long way.
A few years ago, I set up two friends on a blind date. When reporting back, Anna told me Peter turned up with a selection of quirky questions for her to answer about herself.
That’s not something your date does every day (and I think Anna was a little nonplussed at first). However, she entered into the spirit of the game and had a fun time.
End result? They’re now married with a beautiful daughter. True story!
I’m not suggesting you do the same. If you turn up with a list of questions prepared for a Q-and-A session, some girls might decide you’re a bit weird.
However, having questions prepared (at least mentally) is definitely a good idea.
If you’re using a dating site, there should be a few facts about your date that sound interesting which can be used as the basis for your conversation-starting questions.
Make sure your questions are open (i.e. not ones that can be answered with a yes or a no). You want your date to start talking about herself.
This also gives you the chance to prove you’re a good and interested listener.
However, make sure you have something to say on the topic of your question. That way you can either add it to the conversation if your date starts talking or kick-start the process if she doesn’t take the bait.
Therefore, don’t ask about something you have absolutely no interest in.
For example, “I see you’ve got a Chihuahua. Tell me about him,” is not a good idea if you’re not keen on dogs and don’t know anything about them.
Most important of all for the first date – keep the conversation light. Avoid religion and politics (unless previous conversations or emails have suggested these would be good bonding topics).
Don’t talk about your ex unless your date specifically asks, and then keep it short and lighthearted if possible.
This is not the time to disclose how your ex-wife tore your still beating heart from your chest so she could stomp on it before driving off into the sunset with your best friend.
Finally, plan your first date to be relatively short: drinks rather than dinner. That way, if it starts heading in the wrong direction, the end is in sight.
If it’s going well, you can either suggest dinner there and then or plan your second evening.
It’s much better for your date to want to spend more time with you rather than to have too much of a good thing the first time she meets you.
Hopefully this has given you a couple of tips for you to try. One thing’s for sure, you’re not going to get any better at dating sitting at home alone – go out there and practice!
How did you approach your first date after your divorce? Were you nervous? How did you overcome your nerves? What did you and your date talk about? How did you keep the conversation going?