…(crickets)…(sounds of drink glasses hitting the table)…Ahh, the painful silences of a first date. If you’ve ever experienced these, you know what we’re talking about. Things are going alright, the conversation is flowing, and then all of a sudden there is that obnoxiously long lull in the conversation where you don’t know what to say or where to put your hands.
In this blog post, we’re going to go over that awkward silence and give you a few important things you need to know about it as well as some ways to prevent it.
Is the silence really that bad?
Before we give you a few ways to combat the first-date silence, we want to ask an important question. Is it really that bad? No, we don’t mean is it really that awkward because we all know that it is. What we’re asking is should you be concerned when there is silence?
Here’s the thing. Silence is not an unnatural thing. It just makes us uncomfortable on dates because we start to worry if the date is going poorly or if they still like us or if it’s just going to be silent forever. You see, the fear of the silence comes from self-consciousness. Yea, bet you didn’t think we were going to be going that deep today, did you?
If you were more confident in yourself and not so worried about what the other person thought about you, you’d not worry about these silent pauses. You’d see them as natural parts of the conversation and nothing more than a moment when neither of you is speaking.
Sure, it’s okay to want the date to be going well, but it shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable when things get quiet. It should also not make you think that things are going poorly when you have some awkward pauses. If the entire date is an awkward pause, though, that might be a red flag to take notice of.
4 Ways to Prevent that Silence
Now, we know not all of you are going to buy into our idea that the silence is okay. We wish you would, but hey, you’re all big girls and big boys. To help you out if you still want to try to get rid of these pauses, here are a few things to try.
1. Choose the right kind of date.
If you’re worried about these awkward pauses, pick out a date that has a lot of interaction with the outside world. For example, dinner is a great idea especially at a restaurant with attentive waiters. Just when things are getting awkwardly quiet, the waiter brings the appetizer. Just when they start to lull again, boom, the waiter comes to check on you.
Other dates like mini golf, or a video game place, or something like that are also good because there is a ton going on and you have some easy topics to talk about or interaction from the outside world to help.
Dates like drinks, though, are a bit tougher. The only time the bartender is going to come over is when they see your drink getting low. Outside of that, you’re on your own with the conversation. Stick to dates that are interactive, active, and include outside people and things if you’re worried about the silence.
2. Have some questions prepared.
It might not hurt to have a few topics or questions lined up that you can go to if things start to get a little too quiet for your comfort. If you’re online dating, you can remember some things that you read on their profile you wanted to learn more about. Not only does this help to kill the silence, but it helps you to get to know the person a little better which is really the whole point of a first date.
You can also always ask the other person to elaborate on something that they already talked about. For example, if they told you they are an accountant, you can always ask them what a typical day looks like or what they like about their job or what their coworkers are like. Try and get the most out of each topic instead of rocketing through everything.
3. It takes two to tango.
One thing that will help not so much to end the silence but to ease the awkwardness is to realize that conversations are two-way streets. You’re not the only one “responsible” for the silence. Sometimes, knowing this can take some of the pressure off of you and help the conversation to flow a little more naturally. Don’t be so hard on yourself and you’ll be more relaxed. We can probably guess that the relaxed version of you is much better at coming up with topics to talk about.
4. Listen and let them talk.
When people get nervous, they tend to shut off their ears so they can focus on trying to figure out what they’re going to say next. What this does is make the conversation really choppy and not that enjoyable. Instead of trying to decide what you’ll say next while the other person is talking, listen. Pay attention to what they’re saying. Really listen to the details.
When you do this, you’ll find a million and one questions you ask for them to elaborate on. You’ll also really be in the moment of the conversation and not so worried about robotically spewing out the next silence filling statement.
Also, by listening and letting them fully finish their thoughts, you let them do most of the talking. If you cut them off a lot, they’ll say less and also be less inclined to talk as much for fear of getting cut off. All that means is more awkward silences
Ultimately, the silence shouldn’t bother you and should not be used as a sign that the first date is going poorly. The more confidence you can have in yourself and the more you can understand that silence is part of the equation, the better your first dates are going to go! But, there’s nothing wrong with taking these tips to become a better conversationalist!