What You Do When You Get Nervous on a Date

Do you eat the other person's food when you get nervous?

During my recent 3-month nonstop dating adventure, I realized that there are three types of people out there (I could say “two types of women, because my sample group is all female, but I’m pretty sure this applies to guys too):

People who talk too much when they get nervous on a date, people who ask too many questions when they get nervous, and people who don’t say anything at all when they get nervous. Here’s how you know which category you fit into and what you can do about it:

  1. People who talk too much when they get nervous: Do you ever stop talking and say, “Well, enough about me”? That means you probably should have stopped talking well before that. Also, if you look back on an conversation longer than 15 minutes and realize that you didn’t ask a single question, you need to work on balancing your conversation. An easy way to do this is to force yourself to ask three questions for which you genuinely want to know the answers in any conversation.
  2. People who ask too many questions when they get nervous: Do you ever get asked a question, and after answering it as quickly as possible, you re-ask it or turn it into a question for the other person? That means you’re using questions as a defense mechanism, and that’s not what questions are for, even if they’re really good questions. This is my category. I usually realize I’m doing it after I turn a question into a question without answering it.
  3. People who don’t say anything at all when they get nervous: Do you let the other person fill almost every gap in conversation? If so, you’re riding on their coattails, and you have to step up before they pass out from exhaustion. Sometimes when conversation isn’t flowing, it takes a lot of effort to generate new stories, ideas, questions, and topics. But it takes more than one person. If you find that you do this, try to enter more conversations with at least one good story and one good question related to something you’ve been thinking about lately. Those are your backups for gaps in conversation when it’s your turn to take the reins.

I would say that we all fall into one of these traps to some extent. The key is realizing which one best describes you, acknowledging it, and doing something about it so you can have more fulfilling, engaging conversations.

Where do you fit in? Are there other cues to realize you’re falling into your trap?

7 thoughts on “What You Do When You Get Nervous on a Date”

  1. Very good points about being a good conversationalist. This applies to work related social events as well. It can be challenging to think of the ‘right’ questions that will spark someone to talk about themselves without being too prying.

    • You bring up a really good point and not trying to pry. I think that’s good social awareness. I wonder if people who fall into category 1 (talking too much) feel like they’re intruding or prying, and so they don’t ask questions–perhaps even revealing too much about themselves in the process. I think balance is key, even if it means overcoming some of our insecurities and habits for the sake of the conversation.

  2. I apparently go to a cheap, dirty hotel with them and do things I regret. Maybe that’s because I am trying to fill the time and realize I ask way too many questions, so I’d be a #2 type of date with more mixed in. Guess everyone fails at something in the dating/relationship department.

  3. I wish I didn’t click on those links. Now, I have a mental picture of Prince Charles, the Pope, and other rich men admiring each other ‘wands’. And that poor guy probably overheard the conversation about the event because Mark Zuckerberg was sitting behind him. Dude was shocked and can’t talk right after that.


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