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Senior First date conversation tips

By Tom P Blake - Finding Love after 50

A woman from Oshkosh, Wis., emailed and said she had just been divorced after a 30-year marriage. "I'm shy," she said, "What do I talk about on a first date?"

Senior dating can be daunting for someone who hasn't had a date in 30 years. I told her to be herself, that most topics of conversation are safe and date-correct.

Others are a turnoff and should be avoided.

Later, I thought more about her question, and came up with this list of first-date topics to avoid, particularly ulterior-motive questions and innuendoes:

  • Make no references to sex. When people hint about sex, they have ulterior motives


  • Don't ask: "What year did you graduate from high school or college?" Some people don't want to reveal their age. Do not ask to see the picture on a first-date’s driver's license


  • Avoid financially probing questions. You don't want to send a message that you're digging for gold. Don't ask what kind of car she or he drives, or whether your date owns a home or how big it is. Or how much money they make or have


  • Avoid discussing politics or religion; they're too personal and potentially explosive. Those topics could ruin a great first date


  • Work-related questions are acceptable. Ask where he works, how long he's been there and what his responsibilities are. Avoid saying: "Wow, you must make good money." And don't make any reference to how much he earns.

Safe topics to discuss include:

  • Where your date grew up and went to school. This is a good icebreaker topic for both of you


  • A person's interests and hobbies. What sports he likes — camping, hiking, fishing, football, golf or tennis. You may discover you share the same interests, which might lead to doing activities together. “What is your favorite NFL team?” is a safe question for a woman to ask. Of course, your date might gone on and on about that subject.


  • Whether a person likes to travel and where he or she has traveled. Perhaps you've been to a common destination. You may find you both love to travel and fill the evening's discussion with travel dreams (or plans).


  • The person's family. Whether he or she has children, how many and where they live. If he has three grandchildren living with him, or older children back in the roost, you need to know that before getting involved


  • Ask about his parents. Listen for clues on what his relationship with them was like. If a man treated his mother well, he'll likely treat the woman in his life well


  • Ask about your date’s relationship goals. Do they mesh with yours? If you're seeking a committed relationship and he's a bachelor for life, best to find that out early  


  • Remember these points:


  • Keep conversations in good taste. Be a good listener. Show you actually care about what your date is saying


  • Be humble. Don't try to sell yourself by bragging about your accomplishments or how wonderful you are


  • Be positive and upbeat. Put your best foot forward. Don’t say anything negative about anybody, including an ex who treated you poorly


  • Don't judge a person too quickly. Realize your date could be nervous, and behind that trembling lip might be a diamond-in-the-rough, a person perfect for you if only you'll give him or her some time. And don't try to be somebody you're not.

So, whether you live in Oshkosh, or Orange County, keep those first date conversations light and fun.

Weekly comments:

Mary, San Clemente: "In a new relationship, the bond may never be given a chance if the parties feel the other is not 'financially wise. 'At the risk of sounding like a cynic, money makes the world go round, not love." 

Tom Blake Response: I'd say it's a combination of both.

Robin, Buena Park: "Love is about support toward your significant other in his or her goals, unconditional love and personal growth for both of you. It's not about trying to mold the person into what he or she isn't — due to your fears." 

Tom Blake Response: You're right, but it's hard for some to live by that wisdom.

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