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Dating & Relationships

Do you talk too much on a first date? Or, perhaps you talk too little? By taking over the conversation or not saying enough, you may be inadvertently shooting your potential relationships in the foot.

I recently spoke to a woman from CatholicMatch who was expressing her recent online dating frustrations. While all of the men she went on dates with were “nice,” they lacked the necessary conversation skills needed on a first date to get to know one another.

The first date talked too much, in fact, nearly the entire time. He blabbed on and on about his hobbies and interests, his job, and other things that were important to him. Now don’t get me wrong, sharing about yourself is fine, of course, but the problem was that the young lady had virtually no time to talk or to chime in, even when she wanted to. It seemed obvious to her that this man didn’t seem interested in her but only himself. Needless to say, she was turned off by this.

Later this young woman went out on another first date with a different CatholicMatch member and ran into the opposite problem. The gentleman certainly seemed kind and respectful, but he hardly spoke at all. She relayed how awkward the entire date was and how uncomfortable she felt the whole time. There were many loooong and awkward silences, and the conversation would not have happened at all if it was not for her. There was no give and take. No flow in conversation. Rather, she felt the frustration and disappointment of having to work the entire date just to reap a little conversation. Again, not interested.

Finally, she went out with a fellow who didn’t just talk the whole time but also possessed a good listening ear. He asked questions. He was genuinely interested in her and what she had to say. He was engaged. He listened to her interests but also spoke of what interested him. The conversation flowed. There was give and take. And, both parties left satisfied.

My examples have been about the problems that this woman experienced with men, but it should be noted that this goes both ways. Men experience the same frustrations (and others) with women as well.

It is not always easy for two strangers to come together and connect. But there are some things you can keep in mind to help or hinder those chances.

Talking too much or too little can be problematic and a sign of deeper issues. Ideally, there should be a natural give and take. Some may need to learn to listen better and others to communicate better, even if it doesn’t come naturally for us right away.

Do you talk too much? People who talk too much do so for different reasons. It could be due to pride and thinking too highly of oneself. Or, they could be self-absorbed and find it difficult to get outside themselves long enough to be interested in someone else. Or, it could be a manifestation of fear or low self-esteem. Thus, they talk about themselves, build themselves up, always tell others what they are good at in hopes of impressing the other person. They don’t realize that too much of this turns someone off. These people not only need approval but often hide their insecurities through talking a lot.

I myself have been guilty of that in the past. I used to think that if people “knew the real me” they wouldn’t like me. So, I kept them “impressed” with all my knowledge and accomplishments. I kept them focusing on all my exterior words so they wouldn’t look deeper within me. People who struggle with dominating the conversation need to develop the habit of being sincerely interested in the other person and avoid dominating a conversation.

Do you talk too little? People who are shy or reserved need to work on talking more and engaging the other person. They need to have a plan, not just ask someone out and sit there awkwardly. It may be helpful to have a list of questions ready for conversation, and a list of possible follow up questions. Look for those topics you both like and have in common and develop deeper conversation around them. Also be ready to share yourself. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. In short, shy people need to learn the art of conversation, even if reading a self-help book or two is in order. They also need to practice the art of being interesting, creative, of getting outside of themselves and their comfort zones.

Relationships are supposed to help us to grow and become better people. Self-reflection is a very good thing. Take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses and what you are good at and what you need to work on. Using your strengths and working on your weaknesses will help make you the person God is calling you to be and will increase your chance of finding the true love you seek.

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9 Comments

  1. Pat-5351 May 25, 2014

    I completely agree with this article, I see this all the time, and hear other women complain about it constantly: “He didn’t ask me a single question about myself in the five hours we were together!” It’s crazy. This is a social encounter, and everyone needs to come to it prepared for its main purpose: To try to get to KNOW one another. The required a more or less equal exchange of Q and A and discussion in between. There is nothing that says “I don’t like you” faster than expressing absolutely no curiosity about this brand new person sitting across from you (which I guess if fine if you already decided you don’t like them, but if you do like them or may like them not a great message to be sending out, right?) If you ask nothing, I am going to be polite and ask questions of you, and do “all the work” of the conversation so the date is not a complete (cricket filled) disaster. I depose/interrogate people for a living, so it’s no big thing to me. But it does not bode well for any relationship. Everyone needs to do their part in carrying the conversation. Prepare some topics/questions to throw out there, monitor yourself (a sure sign you are talking too much is if you are eating dinner and the other person’s plate is empty and your plate is not touched, maybe you are doing all the talking and not in a good way), and just trying to be a little more mindful of the exchange and how it’s going would go a long way in having a good first date.

  2. James-141787 May 25, 2014

    I think this is definitely an issue. I suspect it may have been a problem for me at younger age, so I have learned not to talk too much myself, by way of prior errors. But most of my more recent dates have been a torrent of talk from the other side, but mostly about work, work, work, and career, career, career, professional certifications, etc., and then some more talk about taking classes in this and that at the gym, and then, I regret to report, at least one loser ex-husband who had to be texted to while we were at dinner. Apparently women try to create relationships by talking a lot. And for lonely single Catholics who haven’t had a chance to talk in a long, long time, there may be a lot of talking to do. But please, don’t do all your talking on the first date, or there probably won’t be another. Also, the ladies need to understand that gentlemen just don’t talk about personal stuff that much. We find it exhausting and hard to process. Some of us may get out of line when we are trying to impress on a first date, but in general, please don’t talk about work or the office. That’s the last thing guys want to hear about when they are on a night out or trying to take the weekend off. And, if you need to be told this, no talk about exes, ever, at all, unless something needs to be communicated in the advanced stages of a relationship. Definitely don’t interrupt dinner to text the ex.

  3. Jim-875732 May 25, 2014

    huh?

  4. Chantal-1068460 May 25, 2014

    Although I agree with this article I think you also left out a very important reason why some people talk too much. They talk too much because they are afraid of silence, they feel awkward in silence. People also talk too much because some sanguines feel like it’s their responsibility to make sure the people around them are having fun and conversation is good. So out of fear of lull in conversation they fill it.

  5. Alma-953915 May 26, 2014

    I don’t agree with the article. People feed off of each others’ vibes. I’ve found that those who are not interested just talk about themselves. Those who are interested, will ask questions. It’s as simple as that.

    • Michael-1071426 May 27, 2014

      I agree with Alma. I have been repeatedly warned by women over the years that on a first date I should not do much talking, especially about myself or coming across as a big know it all. Concentrate on the subject of the woman herself, ask her lots of questions and then speak about myself when she asks.

      Michael

  6. Kristin-1073777 May 26, 2014

    One reason people may talk too much is just nerves. They’re terrified of any period of silence.

  7. David-771026 May 27, 2014

    Alma makes a good point about vibes and Kristin about nerves.

    I simply ask myself, ‘Is she interesting?’ and ‘Is she interested?’ Looking for a yes answer to both.

  8. Ann-69118 May 30, 2014

    What’s a date…lol Oh yeah It’s been so long I forgot :-D

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