How to Handle Awkward Silence during First Date

'awkward silence hour'

Image by CRASH:candy via Flickr

So, you find yourself in a first-date situation. Maybe it’s a blind date. Perhaps it is someone you’ve been dying to go out with for a long time. It could be your best friend’s sister (it better not be his wife). Maybe it’s a spur of the moment thing. Perhaps you lost a bet.  

Regardless, it is inevitable that there will be an awkward pause followed by silence at some point in the date.  

This always happens to me, because I am not much of a talker. I like to ruminate over my response before I answer a question as being thoughtful is one of my better qualities. For instance, it has taken me two days to write the answer to this prompt. This ‘thoughtfulness’ provides for awkward situations during ‘live’ conversation in which there is back-and-forth flow (or lack thereof). It is even more difficult when it is just a one-on-one situation, let alone a date.  

How do I deal with this to break the silence? Well that depends on the situation. I find this to be an early opportunity to test the personality of the date.  

First off, realize that if there is an awkward silence, it is time to assess if the date is going well. If there is relatively little to discuss, the date is not a match, so get up and go home. Just be polite about it, don’t leave her stranded, hungry or holding the bill.  

But if you really think this is a person that you want around for a while, then you can do one of several things to confirm.  

1. Fart. Show her you are human. If your relationship is going anywhere, eventually passing gas in each other’s presence will happen, so test the reaction now. Get it out there. It’s natural.  

2. Offer alcohol. Drinking loosens the tongue. However, alcohol can also be ‘truth serum‘. Don’t over do it to the point of being a rambling fool.  

3. Put the smartphone away. Checking messages in her presence, especially first time out, is not cool. Ask her to do the same. Unless of course you are texting each other. If this is the case, you’ve both got some maturing to do.  

3a. Alternative approach. Take the smartphone out and text her. Maybe that’s how you both best communicate. Ask her if she’s enjoying herself. You both still have some maturing to do, even if this does work. You really should not use e-forms of communication until you’ve been married for a number of years.  

4. Dance. This will show compatibility. She might be impressed with your moves if you happen to have a sense of rhythm. If you have a tin ear or no co-ordination, improvise a bit, be funny. This will reveal her sense of humour. But don’t ask out of the blue to dance with her, unless you are at the club – in this case remember to actually show you are enjoying dancing with her or the awkward moment will be extended.  

5. Start planning the wedding. Don’t be mushy about it. Get to the point, be stoic and in factfinding mode. Don’t be all dreamy and fluffy. Start with the colour of her dress (red flag goes up if she does not say white), what month should the wedding happen and if she has any thoughts as to raising the kids. This may test her sense of humour. If she appears frightened, then it’s not likely meant to be anyway.  

6. Just kiss her goodnight and get it over with. That’s probably why it is an awkward moment in the first place. Just a simple peck on the cheek. If she pulls away, don’t tell her that she’s frigid. Don’t apologize either.  

Does any of this help?  

Signed, Miss Manners.

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