People who are freshly entering or reentering the dating scene can sometimes find themselves anxious about starting a fresh conversation.

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What should you talk about? What should you avoid? How long before the silence becomes awkward? Don’t panic. It’s actually quite easy. Just do what comes naturally.

Listen

This might seem obvious, but it is worth stating. Half of the conversation is taking place on the other side of the table. It does not matter how great his hair is or how wonderful her smile is, when your date is talking you need to be engaged in the conversation. Some people call this “active listening” or “deep listening.” Be sure to comment on what he or she is saying to show that you are interested and you understand. Try not to be too judgmental, particularly if this date is early in the relationship. Just see where the conversation takes you.

Pay Attention to Body Language

Communication is not all verbal. Paying close attention to your date’s body language is an essential part of the conversation. Downcast eyes could suggest one is uncomfortable with the current topic so try changing course. Many people think crossed arms means anger, but actually it is a defensive stance. The person you are talking to may feel like they are under attack or just uncomfortable with the current conversation. Mannerisms like constantly looking away, scanning the room, checking the phone might mean your date is bored; try to be more engaging. And of course, there are good signs. Laughing, smiling a lot, looking up or making direct eye contact are all positive signals that suggest things are probably going well. Stay the course.

Be Direct

There is going to be some temptation to do what some people call is “playing games.” You’re afraid of being judged so you tiptoe around certain topics or you may answer certain questions vaguely. In the long run, this information is all going to come out. If you want to build a relationship based on trust, then you need to start by being open and honest. If you feel a topic makes you uncomfortable, then say so. If you are honest you will find your date is more likely to be direct and you won’t have to spend time trying to read between the lines. You both will be able to get a better idea of who the other person is really all about and will possibly grow more comfortable with one another.

Just Be Yourself

Do not try to be someone you are not. If you are comfortable with silence, you might be surprised to find your date is also. Much can be said just from body language alone! If you are the type of person who likes to talk about everything that crosses your mind, then do so. Who knows where the conversation will take you. The important thing is to just be who you are, and let your date be comfortable with who they are also.

 

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