3 Ways to Keep the Conversation Flowing On a First Date

You did it! You’ve met someone great on Plenty of Fish, had amazing conversation online and are ready to meet in person, awesome. Unfortunately, sometimes the difficult parts about dating aren’t even in finding a person, but finding how to actually connect with another person. Witty banter, charm, and a relaxed flow of conversation are not things that can be faked IRL. Often times – even when you know you would hit it off with your date – your nerves inhibit you from carrying on a thriving conversation. But, here’s a secret, you can be yourself on a first date despite those inevitable nagging nerves. Down with the awkward silence!


The easiest way to speak freely is to speak about things that you like. Duh, right? I used to keep a self-serving question in my dating arsenal that would help me determine further interest in my date; It was arrogant, but worked. I would either ask “what are reading right now?” or “what are you listening to right now?” Books and music are topics of interest to me, finding out what my date is interested in helped me relate to them. If things are going well and the other person had an answer (probable) it would spawn another conversation and another and another.

Don’t feel shy to give anecdotes about your life. The idea is to get to know each other; you probably aren’t talking about yourself as much as you are stressed about talking about yourself too much. Giving specific details to the plot of a story you’re telling will create imagery that in turn helps the other person engage with you. Extra points if the story happens to be fun. Laughing is a great way to ease up.


Just as it’s easiest for you to speak about your own experience, it’s equally as simple for someone else to do the same, give them a chance to. Listen when your date is talking. No, not that half-listening we all enter into once in awhile where we are preparing the next thing we’re going to say while the other person is still speaking. Really listen. When you genuinely listen to another person speak it provides the opportunity to naturally fall into a more empathetic listening mode. Also, ask questions. Not only will this help in keeping the conversation rolling, you will learn so much about your date. And, isn’t that the point?


Dating should always be fun; make comments about your surroundings, poke fun (with caution) at yourself and your date, laugh, acknowledge that you’re nervous – it’s all ok. Remaining calm, cool and collected is a feat easier said than done, I know. Dating can be intimidating, especially when you feel there might be a spark. A good way to avoid getting caught up in your thoughts, and acting out of character on a first date is to remember: You are interesting! Take a second to give yourself a confidence boost. This person is on a date with you.

When It Comes to Conversation, Here’s Why We Don’t Take Our Own Advice

We seem to agree, overall, on what behavior is unacceptable in the context of conversation. The new study from Plenty of Fish reveals the broad agreement that it’s wrong to “ghost” someone you are dating, yet a sizable number of people have done it to someone else. The study also shows that people of all ages think emojis are a terrible way to flirt, but consumer research shows 92% of online consumers use them to communicate.

Even more telling, nearly every question in the Plenty of Fish study that dealt with quality of communication, people said that face-to-face or phone conversations are the ideal. And yet we know from other research that Americans make or answer an average of six phone calls every day, versus spend 26 minutes texting. It’s no surprise that most people think technology has negatively impacted our ability to have meaningful conversations.

Why don’t we do what’s right? Smartphone addiction has become so prevalent in the Western world that there’s a new psychological term for it: nomophobia. It means the fear of being without your cellphone, and most of us have experienced that rush of panic when we realize we’ve left our phone behind or can’t find it.

It’s been centuries since the Greek poet Hesiod wrote “Observe due measure; moderation is best in all things.” There is a time and a place for everything. Yet, this is a lesson mankind has not accepted or learned. Here are tips to practice safe tech:

  1. Stare at your date, not at your phone. Staring at your phone is a big turnoff, yet the average adult checks their phone more than 110 times a day, according to data gathered by Locket, or once every 13 minutes. Show you care, by placing your phone out of site and keeping it there.
  2. Silence your notifications. We know you are busy and important, but your date doesn’t need to be reminded of this. All those pings, vibrations and rings can interfere with the conversation at hand.
  3. Resist the urge to fact check. We all use technology during conversations to quickly check out facts – oh let me “Google that.” Keep the phone away and check later – it’s a great way to continue the post-date conversation.
  4. Lastly, focus on the words your date is saying and the specific points he/she is making. Being able to focus on the small things in a conversation will help you get deeper into the conversation and take your attention away from your phone automatically.

It’s easier to identify what others are doing wrong than it is to correct our own bad habits. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we mostly agree on what’s appropriate and what isn’t. So, we know that we need to make our plans using our cell phone and then meet in person and put the phone away. The path forward is clear, even if it’s not all that easy to follow.