When we asked a bunch of guys to tell us what, if anything, they get nervous about on a first date, we were sort of expecting the usual answers: bad breath, what to wear, whether there will be chemistry, etc. But one common theme quickly emerged from nearly every one of the dudes we talked to: across the board, men seem to get really nervous about first date conversation.
It takes two to conversationally tango, but men seem to feel the burden of small-talk pressure pretty acutely:
“The thing i’m most nervous about on a date is having nothing to talk about.” – Chris, 25, New York City
“I worry about being boring. And I get nervous about babbling during lulls in the conversation.” – David, 26, St Louis
“Being able to hold a solid conversation.” – Joe, 24, New York City
“Probably the flow of the conversation. Because that sets the tone.” – Brian, 26, New York City
“I get nervous that she might be nervous or untalkative, in which case we are screwed because I don’t lead 75% of the conversation.” – Mason, 27, LA
“That we’re going to have a first date style of conversation, and not a regular one. First date conversation is like a list, the normal intro stuff. All the stuff you list on your online dating profile. Normal conversation is just about whatever, unpredictable. Not your job and family and where you’re from, etc. – James, 29, New Jersey
“Dialogue and banter not being forced and/or awkward.” – Erik, 26, New York City
Awww! Guys! You got this, you totally got this! Just come armed with a funny anecdote from your week, and an internet or newspaper article that you can reference (“Did you see that article on The Onion this week…?”). If you’re worried about the conversation getting too “interview-y” (“How many siblings do you have?” “How old are they?” “Do they live nearby?” “How often do you get to see them?” “Oh, that’s great. That’s great.”), then stick to questions geared around what things that you guys already have in common — your city, your neighborhood, your interests, potentially. (“How often do you come to this neighborhood/bar/get out of the city?”)
And if you need a little more inspiration, here are five “sneakily telling” questions to ask on a first date.