Even though I have touched on this subject in previous articles, I want to talk about it again in a little more detail, as it’s so important!
Keep in mind you have probably been out of the dating scene for quite a while and you and your former partner probably shared the same feelings about politics, religion, family and finances – or at least you learned to live with each other’s differing opinions on the topics over the years. Now it’s a whole new ball game. You are in unchartered territory, meeting new people under new circumstances in a very different world.
Try to remember that in order to make a good first impression, it’s extremely important to keep the conversation light, and positive. As the relationship develops, so too will a comfort level with your new partner meaning that things will naturally be revealed in time about both of you. Hopefully by that time, mutual feelings about each other will trump differences in opinion about politics. But discussing these things too early in the game may spoil your chances of seeing where the relationship could have gone. You may decide to go on a negative rant about a politician and then you learn that your date was a major financial contributor to that campaign. Oops!
Or you may have lost your former spouse to a horrible illness and you decide to tell your date the whole story and you end up in tears. As significant as that event was in your life, you have to understand that doing this will likely not only alter the positive mood that you need on a date, but alter your date’s perception of you. They might think you are not over your former partner, so they may want to steer clear of getting involved with you.
So avoiding these 5 conversation topics will help you not to put your foot in your mouth!
(1) Illness of yours or a family member (past or present). If you have to bring it up, keep it very brief, and then say: “That is too depressing to talk about, I am here to get to know YOU!”
(2) Death of a spouse – fine to mention that this is how you ended up single, but do not dwell on the details and run the risk of becoming emotional, and displaying all your baggage.
(3) Divorce – like death, this can be a downer. No one wants to hear how badly you were abused by your ex and all the details of your court battle. It is fine to say you are divorced, but end it at that.
(4) Financial issues, good or bad. This is something that could indicate you are well off and make you easy prey for someone you don’t yet really know. Conversely if you are having a tough time, your date may think you are looking for a meal ticket. Either way this topic is something you should be extremely guarded about.
(5) Religion, race and politics. Very hot topics that can seriously blow any chances of moving the relationship forward if discussed too early when you haven’t established enough of a rapport with someone.
If your date hasn’t read my column and doesn’t realize that these things are taboo and begins to delve into one or more of these areas, you can try to use your power of persuasion to steer them away from these downer subjects. Say something like: “I can only imagine how you feel, but we have such little time on our date. Let’s talk about things right now that make us both feel good to talk about.”
Hopefully they take the bait and change the subject so that you can see if this person is open-minded and not stuck in a negative mindset. Some things you can overlook if you are genuinely interested in the person, other things can become huge stumbling blocks that cannot be overcome if the negatives outweigh the positives. Let your instincts tell you if this person is right or not.