If you want your dates to be awkward, I'm sure there is an article to teach you how to sharpen those skills. However, if you are looking to avoid uncomfortable silences, strange situations, and meeting the whole family prematurely, you are in the right place. Not that any method is foolproof, there are a couple of things you can do to avoid the "so...what's your favorite color?" conversation all together.
How else are you supposed to carry your cue cards? So maybe take "metaphorical" cue cards instead of whipping out actual speaking prompts because THAT would be awkward. Instead, do a little conversation planning beforehand to avoid long stretches of silence. Pull up some facts about the movie everyone and their dog has seen so "Have you seen Star Wars yet?" doesn't just end in a "yes" or "no" answer. Have a couple good talking points to avoid uncomfortable topics all together.
Or just set up a specific amount of time for your first few dates. Let your date know you are free for lunch until 2:00, so you avoid the marathon date. No matter how well things are going the first couple hours that will die out if lunch turns into a movie, then dinner, then ice skating, then gelato tasting, then meeting the parents, then museum hopping, then the date drop off. If you've only allotted an hour or so for the date and things are going well, don't fret. All you have to do is just "push back" that appointment you set up to be at 3:00 instead of 2:00.
Or at least brush your teeth really well. Proper hygiene is a large part of proper date etiquette, but you wouldn't want to have anything stuck in your teeth when you are smiling consistently on your date.
People naturally mimic other's behavior, so, if you are being happy, smiley, and friendly on your date, your mystery man should mirror that same behavior. Everyone likes being around a happy person, so even if the date doesn't go as planned, everyone involved will feel like they had a good time.
Setting up a specific location for your date is an efficient way to skip out on the uncomfortable. That way, you won't end up eating dinner at his house with his roommates, parents, and cousins. If it helps, visit the place beforehand so you aren't caught off guard by the location or the traffic. You can take a peek at the decorations, the wait staff, or the neighboring stores to note on your mental cue cards if you are feeling extra nervous about keeping up a conversation on the spot. Plan on meeting your date there, so you can avoid an uncomfortable drive there and back.
Skip the interview
Everyone loves talking about themselves, so having a few targeted questions to ask your date is a way to skip out on awkward silences. However, don't make this date feel like an interrogation. Try asking questions that are more complex and won't just end in a single word answer. The idea is to start a conversation you both enjoy, instead of just filling up time with words.
Also known as casual online research, that is. Don't be a creeper and describe every photo in exact detail from his trip 9 years ago, but doing some research can help ease awkwardness. If you know he spent time in Australia, gently lead the conversation to travel and start asking around about bucket lists, or places you both have traveled. Finding a mutual topic helps you avoid basic "yes" or "no" questions and instead allows you to actually have a conversation.
I do suppose doing the opposite of these 6 things would guarantee an uncomfortable date if you decide to sabotage your evening out….After all, awkward dates almost make a better story than the ones that go well.
Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.