*This is an excerpt from Joe Elvin’s new book ‘The Thrill Of The Chase’. The book explains how learning to truly enjoy being single can help you find a partner you’ll love forever. Click here to learn more about the book and download the first chapter for free.
The awkward silence. It’s the situation we dread most when it comes to dating. Maybe it’s put you off going on a date with a potential suitor… We’re all a bit terrified of being stuck in a set having run out of things to say. Fortunately, being a fascinating conversationalist is something you can learn. Here are seven tips to help you talk forever.
1. Remove your filters
The main reason we can’t open or continue conversations is because we’re worried what we have to say isn’t good enough. Notice how you’re never short of things to say to your best friend, because you’re not desperately trying to impress them. Adopt this attitude with your dates too. It’ll not only open up your mind, but it’ll also help you appear more attractive. Don’t be afraid to be outrageous either. Make that risqué joke, start that bizarre conversation, tease her, just like you would with your mates.
Light-hearted teasing shows we’re comfortable with someone, which in turn makes them comfortable with us.
Most people play it safe in their first date conversations because they’re scared to mess things up, so this will help you stand out. If you overstep the mark, tone it back and speak about something more relatable. Remember, 93% of communication is non-verbal anyway. Your date is ultimately more interested in the vibe behind what you’re saying than the content.
2. Use assumptions, not questions
Ask too many questions and your flirting will feel more like an interview. Guess where she’s from or what she does for a living, rather than asking her. This is more fun, playful and interesting. She’ll probably ask why you made such an assumption. All of a sudden she’s invested in the conversation…
3. Use time travel
If the topic of your conversation is grounded in the present moment, you’re seconds away from it grinding to a halt. Move the conversation into the past or the future, and it should develop nicely. Let’s say you’re talking about coffee. If you comment on the taste of the coffee, they’ll probably offer her opinion and that’s that. However, you could continue the conversation by telling a story about the best/worst coffee you ever tasted (past). Similarly, you could ask if they ever fancied opening her own coffee shop (future).
4. Screen wisely
Think of three qualities you’re looking for in a partner and find out if they have them. Now, you’ve got three fresh conversation topics at your fingertips. Your date wants to earn your attention. It’s a turn-off if they feel you’re instantly won over. Screening is a brilliant method of framing yourself as the chooser, rather than the chaser. Remember, assumptions not questions.
“You look like you’re sporty/a party animal/adventurous, etc.”
(These are my three).
5. Determine logistics
Find out where they live and what they’re doing the next day. This information can spark interesting conversations. More importantly, you can use it to determine whether to shoot for a one-night stand or a date in the future.
6. Open your eyes and ears
Rather than being stuck in your thoughts desperately searching for conversation topics, discuss the environment around you. In a bar or a club, there’ll always be the song that’s playing, the drinks they’re serving, the dodgy dancing, etc. Even better, say something you notice about them. Maybe they’re wearing some strange jewelry or have a cute giggle… Also, LISTEN. It’s the simplest tip of all, but one that most men particularly struggle with. Rather than lining up your next story, open your ears. Your date will almost definitely offer up a topic you can latch on to.
As pleasant as it is to come across as an incredible conversationalist, it’ll count for nothing if you don’t show your intentions. Throw in compliments, some light playful touches. These are the moments your date will remember. Yes, you’re risking ruining a pleasant conversation by escalating this way. Still, failing to do it earns you a one-way ticket to the friendzone.
Being an incredible conversationalist will benefit you in other areas of life. You’ll find it easier to make friends. You’ll stand out in job interviews. You’ll be better at any pursuit that involves talking, so start practicing these tips in your everyday life today.
Joe Elvin is a dating/relationships writer finding his feet in the city of London. Find out more about his new book ‘The Thrill Of The Chase’ here.