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19 Fun Topics to Talk About on a First Date (And What to Definitely Avoid)

19 Fun Topics to Talk About on a First Date (And What to Definitely Avoid)
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That first date is finally here! You’ve been hoping it will happen for a long time now. The date’s been set and it’s right around the corner. You know where you’re going to go and even have your outfit picked out. Seems like things are really coming together. Then your mind starts to wander to what you’re going to talk about on the date. Oh boy.

A first date is kind of a big deal. While it’s a good idea to take the approach if things are going to click they will naturally, sometimes it’s hard to get to that point. You certainly don’t want to overthink it, that just creates analysis paralysis.

That being said, it’s a good idea to go in with at least a semblance of a plan that includes what to talk about.

In this article we will look at the right way to approach an initial date as well as 19 fun topics to talk about on a first date. That way you’ll feel prepared when the day comes around.

When you feel prepared, you’re more confident and things go smoother. Here we go!

Getting that first date

Getting a first date is not easy. I think back to my younger days and I didn’t really have a lot of first dates. Most of the time when I dated someone it was because we hung out in the same crowd. We’d see each other out on occasion and if we liked each other, eventually we’d start dating. There really wasn’t a lot of the formality of asking someone out on a first date.

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Technology has obviously come a long way and brought some tools for dating along with it. Sites like Match.com are popular as well as Tinder and a whole host of others. While it is certainly easier to see who’s available, it doesn’t make the actual first date any less daunting sometimes.

I have a few friends who have dipped their toe into the dating waters after divorce. To say it’s intimidating is putting it mildly.

One of my friends joined Match.com several years ago and told me it was basically like having a part time job. She talked about how she had to build her profile, set her parameters, and basically set things up the first time.

Apparently setting up the account and her profile was the easy part. The hard part was wading through the messages and winks and so forth. She said she spent 2+ hours a day managing the dating website. All this before she even decided to go on that first date. That’s not easy while working full time and raising kids.

I have a guy friend that has been divorced for over 6 years. He hasn’t exactly given up on dating but doesn’t put any energy into it. He says he’s gone on enough first dates to last a lifetime. He’s told me it is simply a lot of effort for two busy adults to find the time and energy to go out on dates.

The point here is that getting that first date is certainly not easy these days. It’s important to be prepared when you do have the opportunity for a first date.

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The right approach

Taking the right approach on a first date is essential. Of course you want things to go well, but at the same time there’s a lot to learn and find out about the other person.

A couple of things to keep in mind as your first date approaches:

First of all, don’t overthink it.

I have certainly been guilty of overthinking things and creating analysis paralysis. When you think about something too much, you tend to examine every little detail and worry over things that you shouldn’t.

When you do this, you become less natural and more uptight. Remember that staying inside your own head all the time is not the best place to be.

Secondly, remember to have fun.

When you approach a date with more of a fun attitude, it takes some of the pressure off. Tell yourself that this is an adventure and you will enjoy it.

If you worry too much about coming off perfect, you’ll forget to loosen up and have fun.

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If you don’t particularly like the person after the first date that’s okay, you’ve learned what you don’t like. And that’s just as important as figuring out what you do like.

Finally, being prepared will help you enjoy the date more.

I’m not saying you have to study like it’s a test. What I am saying is if you feel at least semi confident going into the date, that will typically lead to a better time.

When we are confident, we feel more relaxed. When we are relaxed, we have more fun. Which leads us to having fun topics to talk about on the first date.

19 fun topics to talk about

I’m going to start with 10 fun topics to talk about on a first date, and then you can take a look at another 9 you might want to bring up.

  1. Admit you’re a little bit nervous. Do this at the start of the date. More than likely the other person will admit to being a bit nervous as well. This will help relieve some of the pressure and create a mutual laugh.
  2. Where did you grow up or where do you call home. This is great to learn where someone was born and where they feel home is. Many times these are two different things. Plus it helps you understand where someone has been over the course of their life.
  3. Do you have a favorite place to visit. Some people like beaches, some people like mountains. Others like going to a big city every year while others like backpacking in their favorite woods.
  4. What do you have on your bucket list. Some people have active bucket lists where they try to cross something off every few years. Other people don’t have a formal bucket list, just a few ideas of what they’d like to do. It’s awesome to find out what others would like to do, sometimes it can generate some new ideas for you as well!
  5. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done. For some people, this is giving a speech in front of hundreds of people. The especially brave of us might have jumped out of a plane and been terrified the first time only to find out they love it.
  6. A go to drink. This doesn’t necessarily have to be alcohol or beer. So many folks are coffee connoisseurs these days. I personally know 2 people at work who know tea inside and out.
  7. What makes you laugh. This is one of my personal favorites. There is nothing better than hearing someone you know laugh in that way that you know really touches them. Could be a certain movie (in my case something along the lines of ‘Tommy Boy’), could be watching video’s of cats getting scared and jumping in the air, might be a baby laughing. We all have things that seriously tickle our funny bone.
  8. What do you like to do when you aren’t at work. A lot of people will say exercise and that’s great. Living a healthy lifestyle is a good thing. Usually there’re some other things besides that as well. Personally I like going to concerts as much as my schedule allows. The former drummer in me lives vicariously through concerts.
  9. Who are the people in your tribe. Some folks are very close to their families whether it’s their kids or their siblings. Other people don’t feel very connected to their family and have created their own family. Having a strong social network is a very good thing.
  10. Do you like to cook and if so, what are your favorite things to cook. I’m partial to grilling as I know a lot of other guys that are. I’m also pretty handy with a crock pot and lately I’ve been experimenting with baked casserole dishes. I enjoy meal prepping and can say I’ve gotten my fair share of compliments on my paleo frittata. Let me know if you’d like the recipe.
  11. Do you stay in touch with your childhood friends. This is a great question and a fun topic. Personally I have 4 friends from my days of youth that I stay in touch with and still consider very good friends. I have a few guys friends I’ve made over the past few years who have no clue what their childhood pals are up to much less talk to them. Life gets in the way sometimes. If someone does stay in touch with friends from when they were kids, it could give you a glimpse into their childhood.
  12. What were you like as a kid. What a wonderful way to continue to find out about someone’s youth. Were they the class clown or bully? Maybe they were super shy until they got into high school. Personally I was an art nerd all through high school and fairly withdrawn until my senior year. A popular girl took a liking to me for some reason I’ll never know and next thing you know I was with the cool kids. Go figure.
  13. What’s your favorite movie. Most people I know like movies or Netflix shows. Not everyone but most people. It’s easy to talk about movies or shows as well.
  14. If you could have your dream job, what would it be. Some people are working their dream job but let’s be honest, most people aren’t. Even if someone really likes their job, usually there’s a thing or two that would make it better.
  15. What’s your least favorite household chore. For most of us chores are a fact of life. They take up a portion of our weekends or after work. I’m fine mowing and actually don’t mind cleaning bathrooms but really dislike vacuuming. Never hurts to pre-plan if things move forward.
  16. What do you like to splurge on. There are people who love to clothes shop, others that have vast music collections, others that go on a great trip once a year. This gives you a peek inside what the other person really enjoys.
  17. How do you spend your holidays. You’ll find of course that many of us spend our holiday time with our families. Which family members will tell you who your date likes to spend time with. Maybe they do some holidays with families or come from divorced parents and rotate family holidays.
  18. What subject do you know really well. I call myself the college of musical knowledge because I can name the title and artist of most songs I hear on the radio as well as the approximate year the song was released. What subject do you know really well?
  19. Describe your perfect day. Some people’s version of a perfect day is laying on the beach. For others it might be binge watching a Netflix show. For me it’s being out and about on a sunny Saturday with friends and family finished by a BBQ on my deck relaxing as the sun goes down.

There you have it, 19 fun topics to talk about on a first date.

5 Topics to definitely avoid

Now let’s take a look at a few topics you definitely want to avoid on a first date.

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  • Politics – I think this one pretty much goes without saying. This is a topic best left for later if the dates continue. Discussing politics on a first date is a big no no.
  • Religion – Honestly not too far behind politics. This subject can lead to many a heated debate. Leave it for now.
  • Your ex – Yes, your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. Nobody likes hearing you complain about your ex and it’s definitely not going to get you any points on a first date.
  • Money – This is an area that can be a bit sensitive as well. Don’t want anyone thinking you’re bragging about how much you make nor it is great to initially discuss how you had to borrow $50 from your mom for this date.
  • Sex – Just no. Not on a first date. Plenty of time for this later if things go well.
  • Your must have list – It’s a first date, not your therapist. The person sitting across the table from you doesn’t want to hear that you’re looking for a guy or girl that’s either a doctor or a lawyer, loves cats, visits his/her parents every weekend, and has a secret passion for gardening. Nobody wants to do a self-measurement check on the first date.

Summing it up

There you have it, 19 fun topics to talk about on a first date and a few you should definitely avoid.

Getting a first date is hard enough. Once you decide to go on a first date make sure you approach it the right way. It’s about having fun, not stressing about and over thinking everything.

If you have some topics to bring up on the first date, it will help you feel more confident. When you feel confident, things should be more relaxed and you’ll enjoy yourself more.

The next time you have a first date, take a look at this list of 19 topics to talk about and remember a few to bring up. You’ll thank yourself later. Now go have fun!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Mat Apodaca

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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