How to Avoid Awkward Silences: The Best Questions for a First Date

We’re all far too aware of the inevitable first date awkwardness. Those conversations where you always seem to say the wrong things or ask the wrong questions that lead to dead ends and lulls in the discussion. While it’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable and nervous on a first date, it would also be kind of nice to have a normal conversation wouldn’t it? Here are some great questions to help you avoid the awkward silences.

For starters, what’s the first thing you think of right before you’re about to go on a date? Typically people would answer, “How’s this going to end?” Will they be coming home with you? Will they ask you on a second date? The problem with this is that there typically hasn’t been any way to figure this out, that is until it’s the literal end of the night and it’s time to get down to business and figure out where this date is going. Instead of enduring an entire date stressed out about what’s going to happen later, try asking them if they like the taste of beer. Studies have shown that those who answer “yes” to that question, gender aside, typically are more likely to go home with someone on a first date as opposed to those who answered “no.”

Now that you’ve mapped out the probability of how your night will end, you should really start to think about some topics of conversation to bring up throughout the night. Let’s face it, regardless of whether they like the taste of beer or not if you’re a boring date the likelihood of it leading to a second one will go right down the drain. Try asking them questions like “have you ever traveled alone” or “what’s your favorite movie genre?” Their answers will not only help to let you know if you have anything in common but it also can tell you a lot about your potential future with them. For instance, those who travel alone are more likely to be independently secure and emotionally ready for a long lasting relationship.

In general on first dates you like to avoid any “hot topic” questions like ones that deal with religion or politics. However, while they may be considered taboo to bring up right away they are still important aspects of life that you and your significant other either need to agree upon or understand the other person’s perspective. Instead of asking them whether or not they hang out in a church every Sunday morning and which way they’re voting at the next election try asking whether they like to surround themselves with relatively complex or simple people. Typically if they answer with complex they have more liberal inclinations while the answer of simple leans more towards conservative opinions.

First dates can be difficult, but with this repertoire of questions in your back pocket you’re sure fire to find out all you need to know.

You Never Get a Second Chance: What to Say in Your First Message

Okay, so you did it. You made the profile, picked out your favorite photos of yourself, and finally got a match with someone else. So, now what? First impressions are of the utmost importance and if you put out the wrong vibes initially then it’s unlikely you’ll get a solid conversation (which can lead to a date!) going. Let’s face it, we all could use a little help to start things off, because you never get a second chance at a first impression…

First of all, while you may be online, that doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the basic grammar and spelling rules that apply to the rest of mankind. Let’s try our best to refrain from the usage of text slang like “wut” and “ur” because while you’ll be saving the few nanoseconds it takes to actually type out the full word, they’ll be busy replying to people’s messages that are actually complete sentences.

When you’re getting to know someone new it’s important to start off with light conversation that will hopefully lead to plans to meet up somewhere. Try introducing yourself and see where the conversation takes you! However, try not to go right for the obvious physical compliments. Instead aim for more general compliments that wouldn’t be likely to weird someone out because more often than not, immediate physical compliments given to someone you’ve never met in person with can come across as creepy.

Once you’re past introductions it’s time to get a little more interesting. If you ever plan on meeting in person you’re going to want to know if you have anything remotely in common beforehand otherwise you’ll be sitting across from a stranger at a dinner table with nothing to talk about. Bring up some of your top interests and be specific! Let them know what your favorite bands are and how many tattoos you have or the top place you’d like to travel to. Talking about things that are specific to your personality make it easier for you to find an honest connection with someone.

After sharing a few things about yourself, it’s time to get them to start talking about themselves as well. It’s important to ask them a few semi-personal questions and get to know them because there’s nothing worse than one person monopolizing and entire conversation. Spend some time finding out what their interests are and what they enjoy doing in their free time. These casual conversations you have with them will be able to tell you if you have at least enough in common to make meeting up worth your while because if you can’t find anything to talk about while you’re online then you certainly won’t be able to find anything to talk about when you’re together.

Too Good to be True? The 5 Most Common Lies in Online Dating

So we’re all familiar with the whole idea of a “catfish” when it comes to online dating, but how can you spot one? Lying on online dating profiles has become far too easy and way too common in this day and age, so we’re going to equip you with some ways to find out the truth. Granted sometimes the lies are more trivial and won’t really affect much, but sometimes people can entirely change their persona and appearance leaving your jaw on the floor when you actually meet. Here are the five most common lies in online dating:

1. The “oh yeah I’m over six feet tall” lie.

This is one of the most predictable lies that arise in online dating profiles. For some reason our society has made men think that women will only be interested in you if you’re of NBA ready height and that seems to be putting a lot of pressure on men to lie about how tall they actually are. While this is one of the smaller lies that are told out there it’s still important that we are all being as honest as possible on our profiles.

2. The “of course this is the most recent photo of me” lie.

Chances are if their profile photo is one of them looking perfectly tan relaxing on a beach it’s probably from a vacation at least a few years ago. At no fault of our own, we want to make ourselves appear as desirable as possible and when we get the chance to edit our appearance in such a literal way, most people jump on board.

3. The “I’m a successful businessman” lie.

While many people typically won’t come right out and say exactly how much money they make in person, editing yourself behind a screen tends to give people more confidence to express (and lie) about how much they make annually. So, if someone is flaunting their earnings all over their profile it’s safe to assume that they make at least 20% less than what they’re saying.

4. The “of course I’m under 35” lie.

A lot of times people become highly insecure about their age and feel the need to say that they’re younger than they actually are. In all actuality you’re only hurting yourself when you lie about how old you are. If you’re serious about meeting someone and you lie and say you’re five years younger than you actually are then you might not end up meeting the type of person you actually want to be with.

5. The “of course I love working out” lie.

While some people are very into personal physique and physical fitness if we’re all being honest, working out probably isn’t our favorite pass time. It’s safe to assume that while we may enjoy being generally healthy, that doesn’t mean you should believe we hit up the gym everyday twice a day.

To Selfie or Not to Selfie: Profile Pic Myths and Truths

A lot of stress can go into deciding on the perfect dating profile picture. Which look will catch the eye of a potential match? There are a lot of myths out there of what to do and not do. But are any of them true?

MYTH #1: Smiling Shots Work Best

Smile for photos. It’s drilled into our heads from an early age as the best behavior. On dating sites, that is not the best advice. When looking at dating profiles, there are three common types of face pictures: smiling, non-smiling, and giving a flirtatious face. On average, women will smile most often, and give a flirty face about less than 10% of the time. However, studies have shown that the flirtatious face combined with eye contact with the camera can yield the best results for women.

For men, however, a flirty face usually won’t fly, nor will a smile. In fact, not smiling and looking away from the camera will often yield the best results. Perhaps the bit of mystery will entice a user to send a message.

Truth: Women, flirt with the camera for best results. Men, look away for an air of mystery to attract messages to your inbox.

MYTH #2: Retire the “MySpace Angle”

We’ve all seen it, whether we ever used MySpace or not: that self-taken photograph from a webcam or a cell phone (remember, MySpace came and went before “selfie” was even a word), taken at a high angle and filled with a coy look from the subject. This predecessor to the bathroom selfie sounds pretty lame and overdone, right? Turns out, it’s not so bad. In fact, the MySpace Angle is the most effective shot for women on dating sites.

Truth: Ladies, don’t knock it ‘till you try it. It gets results.

MYTH #3: Shirtless Shots Don’t Help Men

If you have a six-pack, it can be beneficial to show it off. An “ab-shot” has been proven to get some positive results. Of course, the man must have the right physique to see this result work best. Age is also a big factor here, as studies have shown the “ab shot” will work best for younger men than their older counterparts. As you age, the trick gets less effective.

On a similar note for women, cleavage in a picture is also an effective way of getting more messages, while similar to men’s “ab shot” that the cleavage will work more effectively at a younger age, the drop-off isn’t nearly as drastic for women as it is for men. Of course, use the cleavage shots sparingly if you’re looking for more than just a hook-up.

Truth: Young guys, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Older guys, don’t expect it to work as well.

MYTH #4: Always Show Your Face

Sounds like a no-brainer. If you’re trying to attract a potential match, you would want them to know what you look like, right? Who would disagree with that? As it turns out, results may disagree with that. If you show something interesting, mysterious or sexy instead of your face, you can still bring in the same amount of messages as you would by showing off your face. If this is the route you try to take, the name of the game is to display something that is intriguing enough to get someone to message you. Pique a user’s curiosity, and they will reach out to you.

Of course, you should be willing to show your face to someone before meeting them in person, so be ready to follow up on these intriguing non-portraits with something showing off your face. You can even use a MySpace angle if you want.

Truth: If you display something interesting enough, you can still achieve some success without showing your face off right away. But be ready to show your face before an actual date.


Can You Go the Distance? 5 Testing Trips to Take With Your Partner

A new setting can provide a lot about your new partner, and help you get to know each other better. Getting out of your normal comfort zones can provide a shared experience and be a great test to see if your relationship can last. Here are 5 trips worth considering taking to get a sense of your relationship’s longevity:

  1. Weekend Trip to Visit His Family

How a man treats his family is very important, as it can be quite different from how he treats the rest of his social circles. Does he go out of his way to contribute to family duties, helping his family members out or participating in activities with them? Or does he simply stick to himself, with an undercurrent of resentment? His actions can strongly indicate how he would treat the family he will eventually build, so be mindful of what you see.

  1. A Trip With Your Friends

The destination doesn’t matter; how he treats your friends does.  A partner that gets along with your friends can go a long way in building a trusting and lasting relationship. He may not be as open as he is with his closest friends, but the key is respect and an attempt at being friendly. Taking the time to make an effort shows how much he respects your social circle and can appreciate how much your friends mean to you. Of course, at some point you’ll have to return the favor and make the same attempt for him with his buddies.

  1. Weekend Getaway with a Coordinated Physical Activity

A relationship is team building, and coordinated activities are great for team building. Tandem bikes, paddleboats or canoeing are great examples of activities that will require you and your partner to work together, and how well the activity goes can indicate how compatible you two are. Patience and cooperation are key, but if you can make your activity work, there’s great potential already.

  1. Camping

You learn a lot about someone when you take away their creature comforts. Ideally, it’s a fun experience that will give you fond memories without the hassles of everyday life. There is potential to backfire, however, if someone is too eager to go without some grooming (what kind of guy gets excited about not brushing their teeth for three days?) or pouts without the ability to style his hair just so.

  1. Visiting a Developing Country

Much like camping, roughing it in a country that doesn’t have the amenities of the United States could help tell you a lot about a person’s character. Not having fancy accommodations or even the same native language can inspire one’s sense of adventure or cause them to close up like a clam. Which one are you? Which one is your partner? Jumping head first into such situations will be the most honest way to tell, and can be a clear indicator of long-term compatibility.


Top 10 Most Awkward First Date Moments

First dates can be awkward. There is just no way around it. With the pressure to make a good first impression in a short amount of time, some interactions just won’t work as smoothly as we would hope. From uncomfortable silences to sharing WAY too much, here are some of the most awkward things that we’ve seen happen on a first date:

Not Realizing It’s a Date

This is harder to achieve if setting up a date from a dating website, but two people spending time one another can lead to a miscommunication of what is expected. If only one person thinks it’s a date, it’s not a date. It’s just a hot mess.

Uncomfortable Silence

You don’t know what to say, they don’t know what to say, so nothing gets said. A classic first date terror, but with good reason as it’s all too common. Whatever you do, don’t mention the weather. Don’t. We mean it.


Don’t talk about your ex. Don’t talk about your bad habits, or your most embarrassing moments, even if you find them funny now. You don’t know how your date will react to things yet, so think twice before you share your intricate plans to sneak into a water tower for an overnight visit.

Not Holding Your Liquor

Don’t overdo it on the social lubricant the first time out (or ever, but that’s another matter). Whether you are a happy drunk who falls victim to oversharing, a horny drunk who will try to escalate things far too quickly, or a quiet drunk who will become an instant buzzkill, learn to cut yourself off before your date has to find out.

Eating the Wrong Food

If food is part of the equation on your first date, being overly adventurous can have disastrous effects on your digestive system, or just turn out to be gross. A first date is the wrong time to find out Indian cuisine disagrees with you or that the unpronounceable dish on the Mexican restaurant’s menu is an entire fish, eyeballs and all.

Getting Locked Out of Your Car

So much for ending on a high note. Your date went wonderfully, and you were just about to drive them home, when you realize your keys are still in your car. With all the doors locked. Few things can sour the mood of a first date like overstaying your welcome, even if that staying is waiting for a spare key dropoff or a locksmith from AAA.

Using the Wrong Finishing Move

One goes in for a hug while the other goes in for a kiss. Whatever you do, just don’t freeze up and offer a handshake. It’s a date, not a business meeting. Awkward!

Running Into Your Ex

Holy baggage, Batman. First dates can be awkward enough by simply trying to make a good impression by yourself, let alone being thrust into a situation of having to see your ex out in public (worse yet if they are on a date too)! Even if you and your ex ended on good terms, the date is irreversibly colored in comparison.


One little sentence can ruin everything. It’s the first date. Breaking out “I love you” in a moment of excitement or passion (or worse yet, desperation) is the fastest way to ruin a first date. It’s a first date, slow down! No matter how you feel in the heat of the moment, we know it isn’t genuine.

What Type of Dater Are You? The 10 Types of Online Daters

The Ladies:

The Party Girl

The scene is common throughout all of her profile pictures: a bar or club, a drink in hand, and girlfriends in tow. You can practically hear the shouts of “woo!” from your screen. She may seem like fun and will likely be quick to give you her number. However, she might only be looking for something fun instead of something long-lasting.

The Interviewer

A woman who wants to settle down is attractive to many, but not necessarily on the first date. This type of lady will likely make your date feel more like a job interview, asking questions to help her discern if you are a match at a pace to make you wonder if she has a timer. For many, talking about procreation is best saved for after the entrees have been ordered.

The Sobber

This lady is just not ready to date again after her last relationship. She will likely be fine with some more time to heal, but her profile seems to all but call her ex out and demand to know if all men are the exact same as her last. Everyone can pick up that she’s not ready to see new people, except her.

The “Gentlemen”:

The Profile Pro

Does their dating profile look like they spent weeks getting it just right? Be cautious of someone whose profile has the feel of selling you a car rather than telling you a little about themselves. They may be a good, detail-oriented guy, but they may also be trying too hard to put up a good front.

Aged to Imperfection

The silver fox look may be attractive, but when someone who is far too old for you has reached out to your inbox, you may find it’s something better appreciated from afar. There’s nothing outright wrong with older men, especially if that is your type, but if it isn’t, you will need to find the fine line between charming and creepy, and find it fast.

The Spammer

The Spammer lives up to his namesake by repeatedly inboxing users, oftentimes with stock messages (does “hey I came across your profile and would love to get to know you better” sound familiar?). They are most likely sending the same message out to multiple users, the digital equivalent of slinging spaghetti against the wall to see if anything sticks.

Either Gender:

The Vanity Project

Instead of searching for a partner (or actually meeting anybody), these daters are counting up Likes and messages for admiration. They may seem incredibly attractive but are also incredibly elusive, which may end up being a positive since they were probably not looking for the same thing anyway.

The Depressive

Depression is a serious condition that can’t be solved easily, though many put their emotions in the wrong places, searching for someone that will be the source of their happiness. Tread lightly, but try to maintain; they may think they are looking for a date, but they may need more professional assistance.

The Rescuer

You may have heard of daters with a “savior complex” – those looking for a Depressive, trying to make their lives better. These pairings may start off well, but usually end in tears. A Depressive can only help themselves, and even if they think they want a rescuer, the problem is deeper than that.

The Realist

This type of online dater is typically the most successful, but can be hard to find. A well-rounded yet still imperfect human being that knows love is about building something together and is a combination of attraction with loving action. Many of their previous dates may have failed because, frankly, they haven’t found someone truly compatible, or ran into the other more dangerous types. But that’s okay, because that means the good ones are still out there.

Are You Dating the Wrong Man? 8 Ways to Tell

Dating a new guy can spur a lot of excitement, but sometimes your gut may cut that excitement short with the dreadful feeling that something may not be just right. Could it be jitters? Maybe, but there are often clear warning signs which can help you figure out if your new man is worth the long haul. Here are a few things to look out for:

  1. Your Man isn’t Reliable

If your man wants to spend time with you, he will try his best to spend time with you. Plain and simple. Being unreliable or flaky with plans is a huge red flag. Excuses will only get him so far; he will only continue to waste your precious time as the relationship continues.

Everyone has busy lives these days, but effort is what’s important here. If he’s really into you, he will clear out even a little bit of time to grab a coffee. If he is not even trying, he may not be as into you as you think.

  1. Your Man Doesn’t Share Your Sense of Humor

You don’t have to have the exact same sense of humor, but it’s important for each of you to “get” one another and be able to make the other one laugh. If neither of you are laughing at the other’s jokes, it may be a sign that you don’t sync up that well.

  1. Your Man Keeps You Separate from His Friends

There is a big difference between making time for just the two of you and staying out of someone else’s social circles. The right person would want to “show you off” to his friends. Is he not introducing you to his friends? There’s probably a reason for that, and it isn’t good.

  1. Your Man Doesn’t Respect Your Boundaries

Boundaries are very important early on in a new relationship, and how well those are respected is a clear sign of how well a relationship will last. If you say no to something (and activity, plans a certain night, anything), the right guy will understand and accept no for an answer. If they keep trying to get a “yes” out of you, then you have a problem with boundaries.

  1. Your Man Doesn’t Really Listen to You

He goes on and on about his day or his problems, but never seems fully interested in yours. When talking to him, he always seems to be waiting for his turn to speak, instead of taking in what you have to say. Sound familiar? Your man is not listening to you. Find someone who cares about and respects your opinions, even if the topic is as simple as where you want to have dinner tonight.

  1. Your Man is Clingy

Wanting to spend time with you is normal. Wanting to never leave your side can be unhealthy. You both need alone time. While a relationship is (ideally) a large source of happiness in your lives, it should not be the only one.

  1. Spending Time with Your Man Drains You

If you feel emotionally spent after spending time with your man, there’s the possibility he is an “Emotional Vampire” – someone who sucks on your emotional energy for their own happiness, instead of building something positive together. This is different from the occasional fight.  Fights are healthy, but if you consistently feel exhausted after being with your man, it might be time to walk away.

  1. You Avoid Difficult Conversations with Your Man

Not discussing heavy topics on the first date is often a good strategy, but down the line, a serious relationship needs open communication to thrive. Have you discussed political views? Do you want kids? Does he? Where do you each see yourselves living? Talk to one another and make sure you can each respect each others’ views; otherwise it’s time to move on.

Top Online Icebreakers

With more and more people looking to online and mobile sources to find a partner, we have had to completely reinvent how we break the ice when starting a conversation with someone new. It’s no longer just as easy as winking to the person across the bar, or complimenting the cute barista on their long eye lashes. This guide is here to help you generate some ideas of how to distinguish yourself in the world of online dating.

Refer to something in their profile that caught your interest

If you both end up being a match, or connect somehow, it is likely that you both took an interest in each other. Mention something that you saw in their profile (a picture of them doing something you enjoy, a hobby you share, or a mutual favorite musician) and ask them about it. This shows that you are genuinely interested in them, and it helps you to create common ground right off the bat.

“How do you feel about _______?”

Ask them about something you’re passionate about. If you love to read, ask them their favorite book, or if you’re into physical fitness, ask them what they do to keep active. This will not only give you something to talk about and break the ice, but it will allow you to do a quick assessment as to whether or not you have compatible lifestyles. If you run marathons every weekend, and someone prefers to their to do their marathons on the couch in front of the TV, you might want to save your time and ask someone else.

“What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?”

Do they like to travel? Adventure around in the wilderness? Sit in a resort and read? This question will tell you about their personality, and also allow them to get imaginative and personal. This is also an atypical question, so it might help to pique their interest in you and help you distinguish from all the people that start off with “If you were stranded on a desert island…

“Tell me about the best meal you’ve ever had”

Everyone eats, and everyone has that one meal that sticks out in their mind that is simply above the rest. Maybe it was on their trip to Italy a few years ago, or a dish their Grandmother used to make every year for the family reunion. Either way, it’s a great way to learn something about the person without coming on too strong.

Just say “Hi”

Most people are timid when it comes to making the first move. Saying hi first shows that you’re serious, and confident. There are variations of this, and you should never just say “Hi”. The most important thing to do when starting a conversation online is actually starting it. You never know how it’s going to turn out unless if you try.

Dating Tips for a Single Parent

Being a single parent is tough. Sometimes it feels like you never have any time to yourself.  It can be hard to keep your social life in order, much less your romantic life. However, it is important to make time for yourself, and once you feel like you’re ready to get back out there, here are some tips to help your first dates go well.

Make sure that they know you have kids

Being a parent is probably the most important aspect of your life. If someone is interested in dating you, they have to understand that you are a package deal. By being upfront with the person about your children, it creates an honest environment for you both. Also, by getting it out there, you can be at ease knowing that the person accepts you as you are, and is open to the idea of you having children. Telling them will be one less worry on your mind.

Don’t make your children the center of your date

You are on the date to get to know each other. While your kids are a central part of your life, you have an identity outside of your children. Allow your date to get to know who you are outside of your role as a parent. After all, they came on a date with you, not your children. Feel free to mention them, but make the date about the two of you.

Don’t get your child involved too soon

Only you can know when the right time is for your child to meet the person you are dating, but be wary of allowing them to meet too soon. Children get attached easily and it would be unfair to have them meet every person that you go on a date with. When they do meet, feel free to introduce your partner as a friend so that they don’t start fantasizing about the idea of them joining the family before either of you are prepared to promise that to your child.

Dress like a single person, not a single parent

It is easy to get so caught up in your children that you forget to keep up with fashion trends or update your wardrobe from time to time. When you are on a date, it is worth your time to buy yourself a new outfit, or even a couple of updated pieces so that you look fresh and feel less like a single parent and more like a single person.

Be honest about how you’re feeling

It can be scary to get into the dating game as a single person, so if you’re feeling some anxiety about it, be honest. More than likely, your date will be sympathetic and supportive, giving you the time and space you need to feel comfortable. If your date does not provide this for you, then they really aren’t the type of person you want to be dating anyways. Your feelings are always valid.

Remember that it’s okay to take time out for yourself

For single parents reentering the dating pool, there can be a lot of hard feelings to cope with. Remember, it is okay to take time out for yourself. It will give your child a better quality of life if you are able to improve your health by unwinding once in a while. You are allowed to do things for yourself, and getting back in the dating game should be a guiltless pleasure.