For some of us, silence isn’t golden – it’s uncomfortable. We thrive on conversation and enjoy the dance of dialogue shared with others. But sometimes, keeping the conversation flowing can be quite a challenge, particularly when it comes to your love life. For some people, the first date is filled with endless conversations. You meet someone and it just flows; somehow it feels like you’ve always known them. But for those of us who aren’t known for being the chatty type, the lack of words can send the message that we aren’t interested when that is far from the case. Some of us are able to communicate better online, on the phone or even via text message, but it’s important to note that face-to-face interaction is still very crucial. In an effort to help those who struggle with awkward silence during dates or feel like after a long-term relationship, they’ve run out of things to talk about, I’ve rounded up a few tips and ideas to help you deal. No need to sit at the restaurant afraid to look up from your menu because you don’t know what to say. Don’t fret about having him pick you up for your date rather than meeting you there because you’re worried you won’t have enough things to talk about during the car ride and over dinner.
At the end of the day, it’s important to be you. Hey, maybe you aren’t a big talker! That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you have to resort to being that couple – you know, the one that stares at their phones refreshing their Instagram feeds during their entire meal.
Here are 5 ways to deal with awkward silence during a date:
1. PARTICIPATE IN AN ACTIVITY
Do something active like heading outdoors or play a game! Games make perfect icebreakers and can most often bring an end to the silence. One game that seems particularly promising is “What?!? Oh… The Game of Couples Banter” by Chris Henderson. For those of us who have a partner who doesn’t do much talking because they think we aren’t listening, this game might be your chance to see if that’s true. Described on his Kickstarter campaign website, What?!? Oh… The Game of Couples Banter, is a game that turns “quibbles into jokes, bickering into banter, and all around ridiculousness into a winning distraction.” The game manages to merge improv and talking with the “challenge of listening.” (This game seems like a great reminder that listening is just as, if not more important, than filling in the silent moments with words.
2. MAKE A JOKE
Hopefully, your attempt at a joke won’t result in more silence. Now that would feel awkward. If you and your date have a great sense of humor, why not use that as a way to break the silence.
3. INTERVIEW EACH OTHER
So maybe you already know a lot about each other, but it is likely there is still so much more to learn. Ask your date to share a favorite memory from when they were younger or a current interest that you may not have been aware of. Get to know each other better. Sometimes asking questions can facilitate further dialogue.
4. ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS AND GIVE MORE THAN ONE WORD ANSWERS
Try asking questions that require more than a yes or no response. Likewise, when asked questions, try to elaborate more. They may want to know if you like dessert. Perhaps that is a nice opportunity to share what your favorite desserts are and how you developed a love for baking in your junior high home-ec class, a love that you eventually turned into a side business.
5. BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER
When someone is talking to you, it is important that you allow him or her to feel heard. By looking at your phone or around the room, you may be sending the message that you are not interested in what they have to say. Not paying attention is an easy way to bring a conversation to an end and silence the person you are with.
Special thanks to Chris Henderson for sharing details about his new game. You can learn more about it, and back this project over on Kickstarter. Although many of us are uncomfortable with silence, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even so, if you aren’t comfortable with the amount of silence in your relationship, you may want to give these things a try! Not only can they help you become a better talker, but they could also help you become a better listener as well.