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How Much Should You Reveal On A First Date?

Click here to anonymously submit a dating question for Sonya’s weekly column.

Recently I was asked the ultimate first date question: “Sonya, how much should I share/not share on the first date?” I love this topic because as women, we are given all sorts of advice from “don’t share too much and say as little as possible to leave them wanting more” to “be upfront and honest and don’t waste your or anybody’s time.”

What’s a girl to do?

I decided to pose this question to my male friend, Thomas Edwards, who also happens to be the Founder of the Professional Wingman.

Thomas’s advice was straightforward: “The best thing you can do is share things that highlight your personality and lifestyle in a way that gives your date a chance to see what life could be like with you.”

What do people love the most? Talking about themselves, of course! However, it’s important to learn how not to overshare on the first date while learning to listen and asking the right questions. You don’t want bore your date with endless stories and anecdotes about how amazing you are.

I have personally had my share of equally great and crappy first dates. Over the years, I’ve learned so much from my own mistakes that I’m excited to share my tips to a great first date.

Ask each other about goals and aspirations.

Ask your date: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Then listen carefully.

A red flag to look out for is if a guy tells you right away: “I’m not looking to settle down.”

Ladies, please don’t make the mistake of thinking you will be the girl to break his cycle once he falls in love with you. Trust me— been there, done that. It doesn’t work. When a guy is mentally ready, he will be the first one to admit to everybody that he is ready to settle down and begin looking for something serious.

Leave all first date expectations at the door!

If your friends set you up and told you how amazing and perfect the guy/girl is for you, stop your imagination from running wild that tonight you are meeting your soul mate. It’s simply too much pressure. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much easier the conversation flows once expectations are left at the door. Treat this person like anybody else you encounter throughout the day. Be courteous, polite and friendly.

Stay on positive topics.

Once I made the emotional mistake of over-sharing on my first date that my dad and I were having some difficulties in our relationship. Guess what he labeled me as? “The girl with daddy issues” and never asked me on a second date. You don’t want to be that girl. If your date ends up becoming your boyfriend/girlfriend, then over time you will both find out all about the family skeletons.

Similarly, don’t talk about hating your job.

“If you don’t like your job, then you’d want to avoid talking about it as it’ll bring down your mood and infer that it carries that negative energy over to other parts of your life. As an alternative, you can focus on other things that excite you.” – Thomas

Don’t be a complete open book.

Pacing is important. A little mystery is great especially when you are getting to know each other. Definitely highlight your hobbies and interesting activities you are engaged in. But leave some surprises for later. You never want to reveal all your cards at once. Remember there is a proper time to disclose sensitive information about yourself. Your degree of openness will grow as the relationship grows. By the time you are ready to marry, your life can and should be an open book to your partner.

Know your dealbreakers.

Everybody should know theirs. If you don’t know yours, write them down right now. You can ask your date subtle questions about these dealbreakers but don’t interrogate them or make them feel bad if their opinion differs fromyours. Politely accept their reply and make a decision for yourself that this person is probably not a good match for you. Remember we are all very different!

Awkward silences? We all have them.

Music and movies are fantastic topics if you are blanking out on what to talk about next. Ask you date what their top 3 favorites movies are and why; Ask about their favorite actors and musicians. Their choices will tell you a lot about the type of person they are. One of my favorites lines to say during awkward pauses is: “Tell me some good news.” This tends to shift the mood immediately. Watch your date’s eyes light up as they scan through positive information in their brain anxiously wanting to share something positive about their life. I call this positive psychology.

Ask: What is a typical weekend like for you?

Find out what they do on a typical weekend. This will tell you a lot of about their lifestyle. Are they spending half the day sleeping recovering after a night of partying? Are they waking up super early and going hiking/running? Do they enjoy going to the Farmer’s Market? Etc. This information can already give you a sense of your lifestyles compatibility.

Don’t go into specifics about past relationships.

For example, if you just broke up with someone and your date asks why the relationship didn’t work out, simply reply with a smile and say something as generic as: “We realized we were different people.” Don’t badmouth anybody. Remember that what you say to your date about your past dating experiences, your date will assume that you will say the same about him/her if it doesn’t work out.

Divorced? No problem! Mention that without going into painful details about being in and out of court.

Have kids? Great! Tell a little bit about them. Leave the complex custody schedule out of the conversation. Focus on the positives.

Never been married by 40? Talk about all the amazing things you were able to accomplish by being single.

Sex and kids

This goes both ways. If you are guy, don’t talk about wanting to take me home on the 1st date otherwise I will think that you do this on every first date. If you are a woman, no matter how sexually open you are, please refrain from talking about your sexual escapades on the first date. While these statements will surely make the guys more interested in you, unfortunately they might become interested in the wrong things and stop focusing on the real you while solely focusing on the fun sexual experiences they can have with you.

Kids? It’s nice to say you love kids, if you do. But guys have flat out told me that they have felt objectified, and less of a human being with hopes and dreams and more as a breeding machine if the woman told them she must have kids ASAP. This topic is best reserved for later. Plus it’s way too early to think about kids with someone you just met. They are not a sperm donor. Red flag: if the person says they don’t want kids ever, and you do, well that would be a dealbreaker and I wouldn’t recommend going on date number two.

In conclusion, while “selling” your best self, don’t share everything right away. I like the analogy of being an open book while only revealing one chapter at a time. The happy ending is yet to be written.

Sonya Kreizman is the co-founder and CEO of Crush Mobile, a company that develops mobile dating apps like JCrush and MiCrush, targeted at specific singles markets across the world. Sonya is responsible for managing day-to-day operations such as overseeing developers, designers, marketing strategy and most importantly, answering each and every dating question sent by an existing or future user. Her no-nonsense, pragmatic advice has been heralded by many critics, especially within the dating app scene. It is Sonya’s wide-ranging knowledge of millennials and online dating that has set her apart from the rest. In a business where most “dating coaches” have a book and a couple of life experiences as credibility, Sonya is the only dating app CEO offering real time advice. As online dating and traditional dating quickly become part of the same fabric, Sonya’s words are proven more and more invaluable.

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