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.

From BFF to Bae – Turning the Friend Zone into a Touchdown

The reason I asked you here is – I have something to say to you. I didn’t realize it until last night, but the truth is, I realize that I don’t just ‘like‘ you. I actually ‘like-you, like-you‘.

Arnold’s confession to Lila in the park on Hey Arnold, echoed through my mind as I came to the realization that I didn’t just ‘like‘ my childhood best friend – I actually ‘liked-him, liked-him‘.

If you’ve found yourself in a similarly awkward situation, don’t fret. Here’s a roadmap for navigating the path from best friend to boyfriend.

-Assess the Situation-

Before making any decisions, you’ll need to pin-point exactly when you started having feelings for your bff.

Did he do something special that tugged at your heart-strings? Did he support you when you were going through a tough time? Did your feelings simply blossom over the years?

Understanding what it was that made you fall, will help you figure out how to move forward.

In my case, I realized that romantic feelings for my bff came to fruition after sophomore year of college. Before then, I’d always known that he was perfect boyfriend material, I just didn’t see him in ‘that way‘. But when he came home from college that year, he was taller, slimmer, and a lot cuter than before. I eventually became attracted to him, and not just his personality. So, what’s a girl to do now?

-Develop a Plan of Action-

Once you know what has triggered your temporary insanity, it’s time to develop a plan. As with all plans, there’s offense and defense.

If you or your best friend are already in relationships with other people, then you should be playing defense. Your job here is to wait for an opening. Don’t ruin your friend’s relationship, or yours, by revealing your feelings right away. Let your other relationships take their natural course. If you think that you may be losing interest in your current flame, take time to re-evaluate your situation – it may be time for you to move on from them.

Meanwhile, continue to support your friend without being disrespectful to them or their partner, and without over-stepping your boundaries. Karma is real, and you don’t want to start off a new relationship with one of the most important people in your life, plagued by bad juju.

If you’ve only recently discovered your romantic feelings, then you should also be playing defense. Don’t rush to spill the beans if it’s too soon. This is an important decision, and it could potentially go great, or not-so-great. So, make sure that your feelings are real, and not just fleeting. This may mean waiting days, weeks, even months if necessary, until you’re sure. It took me a year of failed dates and denial until I could definitively admit to myself that I had real feelings for my best friend, and that I wanted to explore them.

When your mind is made up and each of you are emotionally available, it’s time to switch to offense.

-Implement the Offensive Plan-

The plan for offense is simple – figure out what to say, and when to say it.

This is a delicate situation; it’ll be stressful, you’ll be anxious, and there will be pressure. To alleviate some of the tension, express yourself in the simplest way possible, and in a comfortable environment.

Remember that above all, this is your friend, and you’ll want to maintain your friendship regardless of what happens. Planning a grand gesture that could potentially backfire, may damage the chances of your friendship returning to where it was before. So be cool, be confident, wait until you have their full attention, and let them know how you feel.

Here’s how I approached this situation: Senior year of college during fall break, I met up with my bff for dinner – nothing out of the ordinary. We talked and had a great time, and on the way home, I told him that I ‘liked-him, liked-him‘. Nervously, I awaited his response.

-Take a Deep Breath, Then Exhale-

Once you’ve revealed your deepest, darkest secret – relax. Regardless of what happens, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t pressure him for an answer right away. This is news to him, and he may need time to process it.

If he doesn’t feel the same way you do, at least you got it off your chest. You took a risk and put yourself out there. You’ll feel like a weight was lifted, and things will still work out the way that they’re meant to.

If he does feel the same way, then prepare for some changes.

-Embrace the Change-

After the initial shock of my reveal, my best friend admitted that he liked me too, and we decided to give dating a shot.

Despite being good friends, it was a big adjustment. You learn a new side of someone when you start dating them, regardless of how well you knew them before.

Like any other couple, you’ll argue and disagree. The good thing is, you’ll have a solid friendship to fall back on as you overcome these common challenges.

If you weren’t previously affectionate, you’ll have to gradually let your relationship become more intimate. It may take some time, but remember that you two have natural chemistry from being friends. Let your romantic relationship evolve organically; don’t force anything, just go with the flow.

Things will change, but sometimes, change is good.

Six years ago, I took a risk with dating my best friend, and things changed. Six years later, we’re happily married and having a blast together.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance on love. If you’re willing to take a risk, you may find a touchdown waiting for you beyond the friend zone.

VIDEO – The Evolution of Conversation: Flirting With Emojis

Emojis are so hot right now, that singles around the world are using them as a means to flirt, replacing words and proper sentences altogether. 

Before you send a saucy eggplant or peach emoji to express your “interest” in your crush, you may want to think again, according to data obtained from the latest Plenty of Fish study, Conversation Nation, that surveyed over 2,000 singles in the US.

Plenty of Fish asked singles “what is the best way to flirt?” and emoji-only flirting was selected as THE WORST way to show off your flirt game.

Try using emojis as more of a secondary visual element to your messages by adding it to the end of a sentence, containing real words.

For example: “I can’t wait to see you tonight 😉”

This way you’re actually expressing how you feel and backing it up with a cute emoji to emphasize those feelings. The ability to have a more meaningful conversation is possible when you actually take the time to type, write, or speak real words.

Now for a history lesson from the Plenty of Fish archives. This #TB video you’re about to watch reveals the very first time, IN HISTORY, the emoji was used in courtship.

Check out our other Evolution of Conversation Video –  The Victorian Icebreaker 

VIDEO – The Evolution of Conversation: The Victorian Icebreaker

“Sup” a word short for “wassup” which itself, is short for “what is up?”

We’ve all used it shamelessly, more than a dozen times on dating apps, to replace full sentences. Oftentimes ‘sup’ is used to show interest in someone or simply to break the ice in the laziest way possible.

But who was the first to use this poor excuse for a word?

Plenty of Fish dug deep into their archives and are thrilled to present this ‘Heritage Minute’ for the word “sup”.

If you’re looking to replace your ‘sups’ and hit a home run with your next icebreaker, try the new Plenty of Fish feature – Spark!