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Feel Out Your Date

Have you ever been on a first date and found yourself answering personal questions that made you slightly uncomfortable? How about those that were so forward, you turned beet red and wondered why your date had suddenly turned into your sex therapist, your accountant and your mother all at once? If this sounds familiar, don't worry. You're not alone. Most people cringe on their first date when they find themselves being interrogated about how much money they make, past relationships, political affiliations, or their timeline for having children. Generally, these same people also feel on edge when their dates actually answer their questions.

For those of you out there who are guilty of asking such questions, try being more sensitive to your date's personal space, physical as well as mental! And you may be perfectly comfortable answering these questions on your first night out (heck, you might be comfortable walking around naked, too), but keep in mind that your date may not be. If you must go there, start slow and pay keen attention to their reaction. There are non-verbal cues that may indicate he/she is uncomfortable, such as blushing, seat shifting, nervous laughter, extreme tension, fidgeting, grimacing, the sudden onset of silence, shrieking, and fainting. Any of these responses are a big red stop-sign.

By the same token, be on the lookout for positive reinforcement, like smiles, head nodding, a relaxed posture, and physical contact. If you sense the comfort zone is wide, you may proceed with the "straight talk."

The pace of a relationship is a very subjective thing and is different for each couple. So, feel your date out (not literally!), and if you're on the same page, then anything goes-- discuss your innermost secrets, most private fantasies or how you've been working as a foreign spy for the past ten years. And if you're not on the same page, there's always the weather.

Safe First-Date Topics
  • The Weather
  • Dr. Phil/Oprah
  • Gossip
  • Food
  • Mating Habits of the Waterbuffalo/Discovery Channel or the last National Geographic feature
  • Martha Stewart
  • The Oscars - Will Martin Scorsese ever win one?
  • Which American Idol contestant do you suspect Paula Abdul has her eye on?
  • Movie reviews
  • Your opinion on Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment
Look Before You Leap Topics
  • Sex
  • Politics
  • God
  • Marriage & Children