If you’re asked “When was your last relationship?” on a first date, you probably want just want to reply with, “Whoa, that is TMI.” But there is an art to answering these big questions on first dates.
“Big questions” are different for everyone, but it’s usually the one, awkward thing that makes you cringe to answer. For one of my clients, it was a date who asked her, “What would your parents think if you brought me home?” He was asking because he was black, and she wasn’t.
Whether you’re asked something deep like this, or something more standard – such as, “How is online dating going for you?” – discussing it on a first date can stunt the growth of your developing dynamic and be a chemistry killer. Big questions are always valid for the other person to ask, but it’s your first date – you might not even end up liking each other enough to care about the answer.
Refuse to answer the question and you could come off as stone cold. But explain every thought you have and you’ve suddenly become way too vulnerable on a first date. Here’s how to answer any big question you’re asked … without making it a big moment:
Acknowledge that it was a big question. You need to let your date know that they’ve hit a limit. Starting with something like, “Wow, that’s a deep question for a fist date!” will discourage them from pushing you on your answer.
Give a broad answer. Be honest and keep it short. It shows an openness to have these big discussions but puts it on a realistic, first date level. For example, my client who was asked how her parents would handle differing races could have responded, “Oh, they’re totally fine with it! They’re super accepting people.”
Transition off the topic. Move on by asking your date a (non-awkward) question to move the conversation forward. It’s a subtle hint that you’re done discussing.
Laurie Davis Edwards is the founder of eFlirt, an online dating concierge service, and the best-selling author of "Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating."