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Touchy and Taboo Topics

Be natural as you can in saying what you want to say. Second-guessing what the other person wants to hear, and being self-conscious about what you say only makes you come across stilted and unnatural. but a few topics are best to avoid on your first date:

  • Obviously, noticing other attractive people and pointing them out. This only makes the other person feel insecure.

  • Talking about your opposite-sex friends too much. This stimulates insecurity and jealousy.

  • Talking about previous dating successes or horrors. This also stimulates jealousy and puts attention on the relationship with other people instead of what is happening between the two of you.

  • Subjects about which people are very opinionated. This can be provocative but risky, in case your date is easy to judge and not easily accepting of opposing points of view. Topics that are known to touch off such fervor include capital punishment, gun control, abortion, and homosexuality.
  • Sex. Launching into talk about sex too early can raise all kinds of anxieties and confusion ("Is he coming on to me?" "Does she always get sexy with guys on the first date?"). If you cannot resist talking about a sexual topic, stick to current events and generalizations about opinions without being too personal ("What do you think about the new morning-after pill -- will it make men refuse to use condoms?" or "Do you think they should have rejected that sex-education bill?").

  • Morbid topics are a risk but can be engaging, depending on the other person's interests. For example, I have cared deeply about the Jon Benet murder case (the six-year-old beauty queen found strangled in the basement of her home). I can bring up this subject with others but need to be sensitive about whether they are disinterested or find the subject too depressing to talk about.

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