Do you talk too much on a first date? Or, perhaps you talk too little? By taking over the conversation or not saying enough, you may be inadvertently shooting your potential relationships in the foot.
I recently spoke to a woman from CatholicMatch who was expressing her recent online dating frustrations. While all of the men she went on dates with were “nice,” they lacked the necessary conversation skills needed on a first date to get to know one another.
The first date talked too much, in fact, nearly the entire time. He blabbed on and on about his hobbies and interests, his job, and other things that were important to him. Now don’t get me wrong, sharing about yourself is fine, of course, but the problem was that the young lady had virtually no time to talk or to chime in, even when she wanted to. It seemed obvious to her that this man didn’t seem interested in her but only himself. Needless to say, she was turned off by this.
Later this young woman went out on another first date with a different CatholicMatch member and ran into the opposite problem. The gentleman certainly seemed kind and respectful, but he hardly spoke at all. She relayed how awkward the entire date was and how uncomfortable she felt the whole time. There were many loooong and awkward silences, and the conversation would not have happened at all if it was not for her. There was no give and take. No flow in conversation. Rather, she felt the frustration and disappointment of having to work the entire date just to reap a little conversation. Again, not interested.
Finally, she went out with a fellow who didn’t just talk the whole time but also possessed a good listening ear. He asked questions. He was genuinely interested in her and what she had to say. He was engaged. He listened to her interests but also spoke of what interested him. The conversation flowed. There was give and take. And, both parties left satisfied.
My examples have been about the problems that this woman experienced with men, but it should be noted that this goes both ways. Men experience the same frustrations (and others) with women as well.
It is not always easy for two strangers to come together and connect. But there are some things you can keep in mind to help or hinder those chances.
Talking too much or too little can be problematic and a sign of deeper issues. Ideally, there should be a natural give and take. Some may need to learn to listen better and others to communicate better, even if it doesn’t come naturally for us right away.
Do you talk too much? People who talk too much do so for different reasons. It could be due to pride and thinking too highly of oneself. Or, they could be self-absorbed and find it difficult to get outside themselves long enough to be interested in someone else. Or, it could be a manifestation of fear or low self-esteem. Thus, they talk about themselves, build themselves up, always tell others what they are good at in hopes of impressing the other person. They don’t realize that too much of this turns someone off. These people not only need approval but often hide their insecurities through talking a lot.
I myself have been guilty of that in the past. I used to think that if people “knew the real me” they wouldn’t like me. So, I kept them “impressed” with all my knowledge and accomplishments. I kept them focusing on all my exterior words so they wouldn’t look deeper within me. People who struggle with dominating the conversation need to develop the habit of being sincerely interested in the other person and avoid dominating a conversation.
Do you talk too little? People who are shy or reserved need to work on talking more and engaging the other person. They need to have a plan, not just ask someone out and sit there awkwardly. It may be helpful to have a list of questions ready for conversation, and a list of possible follow up questions. Look for those topics you both like and have in common and develop deeper conversation around them. Also be ready to share yourself. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. In short, shy people need to learn the art of conversation, even if reading a self-help book or two is in order. They also need to practice the art of being interesting, creative, of getting outside of themselves and their comfort zones.
Relationships are supposed to help us to grow and become better people. Self-reflection is a very good thing. Take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses and what you are good at and what you need to work on. Using your strengths and working on your weaknesses will help make you the person God is calling you to be and will increase your chance of finding the true love you seek.