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Among Other Things

Sara Moriarty, Opinion Editor

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Here, I will rant about date conversations. I’m sure most of those who are reading this have been a date that ended up being more awkward than a slow dance in middle school. I’ve been on several of these dates, and I have noticed a pattern in the conversa­tion – or lack there of.

Conversation, when “done right,” can open many doors. From job interviews to dates, good con­versation is imperative. However, we know opinions are all subjec­tive. Therefore, one person will likely have different expectations of “good” conversation. The defi­nition of quality, worthwhile dis­cussions differ with every person in every situation.

Herein lies the problem with date conversation. After the initial “How are yous” and the general “where are you from, what are you studying” type of questions, discussion should theoretically flow smoothly with transitions and mutual interest in what is be­ing discussed, all with the point of getting to know each other better. In my opinion, a quality date en­tails getting to know more about the other person’s values and im­portant interests.

Thus, the conversation is what ultimately will define a date or even just hanging out and casu­ally texting as good or bad. But what if this smooth, casual, im­portant, and intriguing conversa­tion doesn’t happen? Odds are one of the two parties in attendance will attempt to force conversa­tion to avoid awkward silences or to just tell an “interesting” story. However, methods of avoiding silences often backfire, leading to more silence and more fodder for next day’s gossip/ latest terrible date story.

Some have attempted to fill lulls in date discussion with the overused fillers and small talk. This is fine for running into an acquaintance at the grocery store, but – in my opinion- is not usually fine for a date. There are many examples, one of which being the “Lovely weather we’re having.” Odds are, the guy or girl across the table knows how the weather is. He also knows what it will be next week, because he probably has a smartphone and watches TV. Thus, this might be immedi­ate convo dud, unless he’s a me­teorologist and the conversation becomes deeper and more inter­esting, an unlikely occurrence at this point.

Others might have a tendency to turn information about them­selves into complaints. In my opinion, this is not the best first impression to give off. For ex­ample, one might say to a date “I’m so stressed out I have a re­search paper due and work is kill­ing me…” A date is no place to complain. Discussing interesting research topics or work after a rel­evant transition, on the other hand, is a better option for conversing smoothly and letting the other per­son know about your interests and studies.

Then, there are the conversa­tion fillers that are just outright desperate. For example: “So…. how’s life?”

Don’t ask questions like “how’s life” if the person’s life status in question has already been covered in opening conversation and/or is evident on various social media networks. In other words, “how’s life” is a stupid question to ask in the middle of a date/ hang­out session. The “how are ya’s” were already asked in the begin­ning of the date. Life probably hasn’t changed much since then.

Another negative date con­versation problem is pointing out your own appearance flaws, which a man did on a date with me once. I didn’t find the flaw unat­tractive but I did find the fact that he brought up the flaw to be very unattractive. No matter how des­perate you may be to keep convo flowing, or how self-conscious you may be, don’t feel the need to excuse your minor appearance flaws. Odds are the other person has not even noticed, and the ex­cuse will only bring the flaw to his/her attention.

Finally, don’t be too forward on a first date. Granted, some peo­ple might appreciate this. But the first date should be about getting to know the person, so I’m saying to be careful about coming on too strong. Being straightforward is very good, but there is a fine line between letting someone know your feelings toward him/her and making him/her feel smothered before having decided on his/her feelings toward you. Again, get­ting to know the person first is key. And one more thing, don’t forget to “be yourself.”

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