You’ve posted to online dating sites. You’ve been to singles parties. You may even have tried Speed Dating or the old Blind Date “setup by our friends” tactic. No matter how you did it, you did it. Its time for your first date. What kills a first date quicker than a case of the stomach flu? Giving out too much information – what the hip kids are calling TMI.
Revealing too much about yourself on a first date, or even in early email or phone conversations, is poison to a budding relationship. Most people don’t seem to know when they’ve crossed the line from sharing their details into detailing their entire lives. Some TMI isn’t necessarily embarrassing or unattractive, its just too much info too soon. At time, a case of “over revealing yourself” is downright gross . . . does your date really need to know about the time you vomited out the window of a tour bus? Run things through your head before you say them — if you wouldn’t want to hear the story you’re about to tell, you should probably assume your date will respond the same way.
7 Ways To Avoid Revealing Too Much On A Date
Heare are 7 ways to avoid revealing too much on a date.
- Rehearse! If you are a truly nervous type, or you find yourself stressed out about an upcoming date, there is nothing wrong with a few rehearsals. You can take this as far as you need to – I’ve had female friends who have worked out ten or twenty questions and answers ahead of a date, and many male friends who give monologues in the mirror to prevent date anxiety. The key to this method is to practice more than once – come up with a couple of questions or statements that show off your uniqueness without being too “showy”. Don’t sound too rehearsed on your date – it will show, and your date may take this the wrong way. Your performance can only be as good as your best rehearsal.
- A date is not show and tell time. You have put a lot of time and effort into attracting someone enough to get them to go on a date with you. Be sure not to use this hard fought date as a chance to show off. For starters, people will interpret your cockiness as a lack of confidence, and there are few things less attractive than a person who lacks confidence. Another reason to avoid outright bragging is that your date likely doesn’t care. Later in your relationship – if you get that far – your lover will be proud of your awards and recognitions, because he or she will have an investment in you and your accomplishments. A first date, however, is way too early to parade your softball trophies or your late night exploits.
- Sharing is good. If you want to avoid flapping your gums and embarrassing yourself, the most important thing to learn is the difference between “sharing” and “blabbing”. Sure, these are just words, but think of them as symbols – a “share” and a “blab” look and sound very different. When you share something with someone, you’re offering it to them as a stepping stone, a jumping off point for conversation. Sharing is done in a gentler voice, and is an offering to someone – you’re saying “Here, take this fact about me, do with it what you will”. A blab, on the other hand, is a big mistake, and is easily recognized by most folks.
- Blabbing is bad. A blab is a boast, a brag, a haughty story that you tell to impress. A blab doesn’t build conversation or make interest grow. No one would suggest that you restrict yourself to inconsequential small talk, but there’s a lot of room between chatting about the weather and talking about the first time you got your period. Blabs can be about really positive events, or really negative, but they are both bad ways to steer a conversation. When you present yourself as the world’s greatest chess player for your age bracket, your date will likely have no way to respond – similarly, if your date bragged about how much money he or she makes, you’d be left with little or nothing to say. No one wants to be in that awkward position.
- There’s a huge bonus to avoiding the blab. As a buddy of mine puts it: “My date is out with me, not with the skeletons in my closet.” If nothing else, this date is a one night reprieve from your mistakes, a time when your date doesn’t know about the suit you wore to prom or your embarrassing cheerleading accident. Enjoy it, because if you cultivate a relationship with this person, your humiliating material will come up, just as will your successes and accomplishments. Be patient – don’t rush into bragging or revealing stories too early in a new relationship.
- If all else fails, think of Grandma. I had a grandmother who was very traditional, a very devout Catholic, and not a woman you wanted to run your mouth around. Everyone has someone in their life like my grandmother – a person you would never say certain words around, or tell certain stories. In order to avoid saying the wrong thing on a date or for a first impression, I like to imagine my grandmother sitting there listening, and God forbid I tell a dirty joke or share an inappropriate story.
- Think of a first date as a kind of audition. I know this isn’t the most romantic truth, but it is true: people judge you on a first date based on very tiny details. Just like people deciding to buy a book – first they read the back of a book, or the reviews at the front, then skim through the book a couple times and make that decision. In this analogy, you are the book, and your date is the “buyer”. Future dates will bring the romance – first dates and first impressions are all about your performance. Share, tell stories, have fun – but try not to cross the line into TMI.