Back a few jobs ago, my boss had me interview a gentleman for an open position in the company. This gentleman looked nice enough and actually had an impressive resume.
But then I met with him. It was… interesting.
He spent the next 30 minutes dominating the conversation, focusing mostly about how he had very recently divorced, and how his ex-wife had totally screwed him over. He seemed desperate but distracted; he said he needed this job, but he needed lots of flexibility because of court dates and shared custody, and on and on.
I think what he really needed was a therapist or a good buddy to have a drink with to figure things out.
Unfortunately, I was the one he unloaded on that day. It didn’t take long for me to decide that right now was not a good time for him to work for us. He was unfocused, negative, and getting way too personal with me, someone he had just barely met. The whole thing left me afraid to even contact him again for fear of what awkwardness would happen next.
Job interviews are a little like dates, don’t you think?
Have you ever been on a date where someone talked about a particular topic and things got awkward? Suddenly an early bedtime sounds really great. Before you can even get to know the person, you have one foot out the door. The main problem is they let things get too heavy and serious too fast.
If only they had just kept it light and on topic, you could have ended the date wanting more.
Don’t let it happen to you! Before you go on your next first date, make sure to avoid these 8 topics:
1. Personal Issues/TMI
We all have challenges going on in our lives. Maybe your family is weird, or you have a major health issue, or you have recently moved or are having trouble with a roommate. These are all personal issues that are not first date material. They are basically TMI (Too Much Information). You just met this person, and you are just getting to know them. Focus your date time getting to know each other and having fun, not bogging each other down with personal issues.
2. Past Relationships
Maybe you have a few ex’s out there—and that’s ok. What isn’t ok is talking about them on a first date. It’s a huge turn off hearing about someone else’s past relationships. Because why would I want to go out with someone who talks bad about an ex? Instead of seeming like a nice person, you will come off bitter. So just avoid the subject altogether. If the other person brings it up, stay general and respectful. Your date will come away with respect for you, too.
This is one of the hot-button issues for as long as possible. Let’s say on a first date, you start bad mouthing a local senator, and then you find out that your date not only voted for him but volunteered to support his campgain. Uh oh. Your date will probably be over right there. Politics bring out too many emotions in people and aren’t a good idea for first date conversation. So just avoid it.
4. Things You Hate
Don’t be negative. A date is a time to have fun and be light-hearted—not to complain about the waiter, other drivers, or anything at all. If you are negative your date will see you as an unhappy person; that is not a very good first impression. First dates with negative people rarely turn into second dates.
5. Odd Things About You
You can touch your nose with your tongue, or you have a foot fetish, or you own 52 pairs of salt and pepper shakers… seems quirky and fun and would be ok to laugh about with a big group of friends. But a first date? Um, no. Trust me—save it for later.
6. Your Life Story
You’re on this first date to learn about each other, so don’t take center stage. Keep the conversation balanced. Sure, answer questions your date asks of you, but then turn it around and ask your date a similar question. Keep the conversation about BOTH of you. Your date wants to learn about you, but also wants to be listened to. Just be general about where you are from and things about your past; details are ok when you get to know each other better.
7. Work and Money
Of course it’s ok to talk about where you work and what you do, but keep it very general. Your date doesn’t need to hear all the details about how your co-worker is stealing from the company or how you’re hoping for a big raise soon. That is way too personal and heavy for a first date. Also, avoid talking about big purchases or other ways that display how much money you have (or don’t have). It’s really none of their business, and your date wants to get to know you and your personality, not your belongings or income level.
8. Dating and Marriage
Slow down, cowboy. This is just a first date. You are barely learning the basics about each other. Your only goal is to have a good time and see if you are compatible. That’s it. If things feel right and you both agree, then go on a second date. The topic of dating and marriage can wait until way, way down the road when you are ready to get serious. If you bring it up, your date is likely to think of you as overeager or “spouse shopping” in which case they will find the nearest exit. That is just way too much pressure.
Good luck to all you about to embark on a first date! Remember to keep it light and positive. Have fun and laugh together. (And realize that any of the above 8 topics do not lend themselves to laughter.) If you do have a good time, who knows? Maybe it could be your last first date.