10 Tips on How to Avoid Awkward Silence on the First Date

First dates can be tricky. You probably don’t know the other person so you might have to work a little extra on keeping the conversation going. For some people, communication comes naturally, while others find it harder to open up. It’s very important to remember that first dates are for getting to know the other person better, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Not every person you meet is going to become your one and only, but it would be ideal to handle the conversation in such a way that it paves the way to a second and third date. When the conversation is not going as planned, there are a few tips and tricks that will keep things from becoming even worse.

I think we can all remember how awkward it can be when you don’t know what else to say, and the other person shares your emotions. While first dates can be complicated, it doesn’t always have to be like that. Sometimes you just have to put a little more effort into making things work, and these 11 tips will definitely help you avoid awkward silence on a first date in the future.

Read on to discover the best tips on how to avoid awkward silence on the first date!

first date
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1. Do your homework before the date.

Preparing talking points before the date is a good idea to keep the conversation going and get to know the other person better. You can see it as a backup plan just in case the conversation runs dry. But try to avoid asking way-too-personal questions on the first date, including asking about previous relationships.

Online dating coach Joshua Pompey recommends focusing on topics like travel, hobbies, and television to get the conversation going and get to know how the other person thinks. This will help you see how much you two have in common and you’ll manage to get to know them better.

As Pompey has explained, you might have an advantage if you meet the other person online, as you probably know already what they like and don’t like from their dating profile.

“You have an online dating profile as your personal cheat sheet—use it to your advantage and bring up those topics that they seem to enjoy,” she added.

2. Ask meaningful questions and be a good listener.

Awkward silence can be very common on the first dates, but you can break the ice by asking meaningful questions to help you get to know the other person better. Ask them about their passions, hobbies wants, and desires, and listen closely to what they have to say. This could lead to a very interesting conversation that will help you two bond.

Also, complimenting them might be a great idea. Maybe you like their outfit, watch, eyes, or haircut, so don’t be afraid to let them know, it could pave the way to an interesting conversation and spark a funny backstory.

After a date, you probably want to leave knowing the other person a little better, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. According to Pompey, “Psychologically speaking, people tend to feel like they had a better time when they’re asked a lot of questions.”

Let’s be honest, we all love to talk about ourselves, so focus on the other person and let them open up to you. If things go well, you’ll get to talk about yourself on the second date.

Here’s a psychology book that you may like!

3. Try to be funny and think of inside jokes before the date.

Beautiful people get the attention while the funny ones get the heart. Humour is such an important quality in a partner, and people should focus on it more. If you manage to laugh with someone on the first date, chances are you’ll have a lot of fun together.

No one wants to go on a date and sit awkwardly without having anything to talk about. In order to avoid that, Pompey recommends thinking of a few inside jokes before the date. In fact, you could send a text saying ‘Meet me at 8? I’ll be the one who’s 15 minutes early.’

Depending on the other person’s response, you shouldn’t know how much you’re allowed to joke around and be playful. If the other person responded back with a joke, you’ll know for sure your date will be successful. If they’re not very thrilled about your joke, it might be wiser to recalculate things.

However, while being funny is an important quality, make sure you’re not joking all the time. You need to find a balance between fun talk and serious talk, Pompey says. Otherwise, you’ll come across as a clown and the other person will feel like you’re not taking them seriously.

4. Ask questions but don’t turn into an interviewer.

As previously mentioned, you want to ask a lot of questions in order to keep the conversation going, but don’t treat your date as you would treat an interview, because it isn’t. Asking a lot of questions just because you want to avoid awkward silence might have the opposite effect and make the conversation way too formal and tense.

Instead, try to ask open-ended questions about their passions, interests, needs, and desires and pay attention to what the other person has today, it’s the only way to get to know them better after all.

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5. Use the restroom if you want a little time off.

When a first date goes bad and there’s not very much talking involved, it might be a good idea to excuse yourself and use the restroom in order to calm your nerves. Give yourself a 2-minute break to regroup and think of new ways to restart the conversation.

It’s important to remember that the other person might feel exactly like you, so if you’re feeling uncomfortable or tense, chances are they’re feeling the same. A little time off might be just what you need to get the conversation back on track, Pompey added.

6. Try to relax.

First dates can be tricky, but you need to remind yourself that you’re not at a job interview or exam. You’re simply talking to another human being and trying to know them better. Also, remember that they might feel nervous too.

Don’t focus on being ‘perfect’ or making a good first impression, just be yourself and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. After all, chances are you’re not popping the big question on a first date, so there’s no need to be anxious.

If you feel agitated and uncomfortable, you might pass those feelings to the other person, which will eventually lead to the awkward silence you’re trying so much to prevent. Take a deep breath, relax, and just be yourself, the conversation will flow naturally this way.

When you’re trying too much, things appear unnatural.

7. Put your phone away.

It’s self-evident that using a phone on a date is a big no-no, as it’s very disrespectful toward the other person. Also, it shows that they’re not a priority and you have better things to do, so don’t be that person.

In order to keep a conversation going, it’s important to get rid of any type of distractions. Even if you’re listening to them while scrolling on Instagram, the other person won’t feel comfortable opening up to you.

© Shutterstock

8. Share bad date stories and have a laugh together.

Sharing bad date stories is a method that often fails, and let’s face it, we all have them. At least once in your life, you had a date that turned out to be very bad or met someone that turned out to be the complete opposite of what you expected. We all have funny dating stories and sharing them can be a good way to keep the conversation flowing.

Maybe your date showed up all dressed up in animal print, smelled suspicious, order a dish from the kids’ menu, or kept talking about their ex, either way, sharing your experience might help you connect faster with the other person.

This topic can keep the conversation going for a long time, and you’ll definitely have a good time. Plus, when you open up about these kinds of topics, the other person might do the same.

9. Avoid negativity.

It can be easier to talk about something that’s bothering you, but negativity shouldn’t be allowed on a first date. Also, it’s not a good idea to complain or talk about something you hate after just meeting someone for the first time.

Instead, try to focus on being positive and talk about an interesting topic or even share fun moments from your past. If you start the conversation negatively, awkward silence might be inevitable, especially if the other person isn’t joining your rant.

10. Embrace the moment.

Awkward silence isn’t always a bad thing or a sign that your date is not going as planned. According to Pompey, it could be a sign that there’s raw, sexual energy between you two. And that’s not bad at all.

Embrace the moment and focus on maintaining eye contact with the other person. Chemistry is not always easy to find, but you have it standing right next to you.

Here are 20 Conversation Starters That Will Make a Good Impression.

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