Friday, June 21, 2013

Dating Conversation Skills

I'm frequently asked, “How can I stop myself from freezing up, drawing a blank, or just plain running out of things to say when talking to an attractive wo/man?”

Others find they blurt things out and can’t stop talking when they’re anxious.

It can be very helpful to have a concrete list of “do’s and don’ts’” to fall back on when you go blank or can’t stop talking.  Here are a couple do's and don'ts lists that I compiled with fabulous fellow relationship coach/therapist, Jeremi McManus


   Ask questions about:
    ● Favorites
    ● Passions
    ● Experiences
    ● Important people

   Bring up loaded topics
    ● Politics
    ● Religion
    ● Sex
    ● Body image
    ● Past relationships
    ● Trauma

   Talk about common interests and   

   Focus solely on work.

   Focus on things you’re grateful for, 
   adding a dash of what you struggle with.

   Focus on what irks you (complaints), adding a 
   dash of what’s going well in your life.

   Observe things about him/her that you 
   find attractive, interesting, or admirable.

   Compliment him/her incessantly, particularly 
   on things s/he can’t control (e.g. his/her body).

As I mentioned above, what you talk about is important, but not as important as how you say it.

Remember – people don’t remember what we say, they remember how we make them feel

Do you help your potential mate feel understood and appreciated?  Here are a few ways to do just that.


   Balance how much you are listening and 

   Talk incessantly or clam up.

   Be playful.

   Interview her, i.e. ask all the standard “getting
   to know you” questions, machine-gun style.

   Be curious.

   Come with an attitude of “what can you give to 


   Get sexual too quickly.

   Make observations about him or her.

   Pull out your phone.

   Be friendly to those around you.


     Share a bit more about yourself than 
        you would with a new colleague or 
     Match your partner’s level of self-
 ● If it feels as though the conversation’s stalled on the surface, lead the way by disclosing something personal.
 ● Listen, mirror, and validate when your date shares something personal.

   Stay on the surface or go too deep, too quickly.

You may be asking, “How can I remember to do these things, particularly when I’m anxious on a date?” 

Here are some tips for getting and staying in the zone prior to a date.

1.    Relax and Revitalize
  •  If you tend toward fidgeting and talking too much on dates, do something relaxing right before going out.  Take a bath, take a nap, meditate, get a massage -- anything that will help your body find some calm.
  •   If, on the other hand, you tend to draw a blank on dates, do something beforehand that stimulates and energizes you – go for a run, read an interesting book, take time for an engaging hobby -- anything that ignites your natural vitality. 
2.    Strut
  •   Flirtation and confidence require high self-esteem. 
  • Do what you can prior to a date to feel sexy and self-assured – wear your sexy jeans, give yourself a pep talk, playfully strut in front of the mirror, etc.
3.    Get Curious
  •  Ask yourself what genuinely makes you curious about your date. 
  •  Without editing, write those questions down, even the ones that feel a bit edgy. 
  • Commit your questions to memory. 
  •  Don’t be afraid to ask some of your “edgier” questions.  I find the questions we fear will be obtrusive often end up electrifying the connection between two people.  Of course, be judicious – remember the loaded topics from our “don’t” list. 
4.    Practice! 
  • Many of these skills require repeated practice to master.  
  •  Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to practice these skills with you.  The real root of drawing a blank or talking incessantly is anxiety, which often comes from lack of experience.  


  1. Hi,

    What do you mean by an "edgier" question? What might you describe as edgy, without being one of the loaded categories above?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi Donald,

      Great question.

      This really depends on what your "edge" is.

      For example, it may feel edgy to ask your date what they're looking for in a relationship.

      Or, going beyond "what do you do for work?" and asking about her emotional life may feel risky. "What parts of your day bring you the most joy?"

      From my experience, asking or commenting on the present moment connection may feel most risky yet also tends to deepen the connection quickly. For example, "My heart feels warm and my body wants to pull closer to you when you talk about your love for your family. Do you feel that, too?"

      Think of the dating conversation as a dance towards vulnerability and deepening intimacy.

      And remember -- be prepared to answer any question that you ask :o)