Chatting and dating can be daunting, especially if you're new to the game. However,
there really is nothing to worry about; all you're doing is interacting with people,
learning about them and deciding whether there's anything between you. It really
is as simple as that.
But, if that reassurance isn't enough to calm your nerves, then we've thrown together
a few hints, tips and bits of trivia that will help you through your first experiences.
Bear them in mind and you might just surprise yourself as to how easy chatting and
dating can really be.
#1 - People like humour!
It doesn't mean you've got to turn up in a full clown costume and be the entertainment
for the night, but acknowledging the nerves you're feeling with a few one-liners
can be a great way to break the ice. You may well have seen those lists of the worst
chat-up lines that should never be used to attract the opposite sex – well, now's
the opportunity to use them!
Deliver them with a cheeky smile and revel in their corniness and you should get
a groan of disapproval – but you'll also feel the atmosphere lighten. Lines such
as “Are your legs sore, because you've been running through my mind all night” and
“Heaven must be missing an angel” are absolutely forbidden as genuine chat-up lines,
but sell them as a joke and they can be a great way to take the pressure off both
of you. You might even want to go for something slightly surreal and jokey, such
as “you have the most eyes I've ever seen”. Dating's supposed to be about fun and
you shouldn't be afraid to introduce that element into your evening.
#2 - Choose a venue that suits your interests
By the time you come round to that first date, you'll know enough about each other
to be able to decide on a venue that can put you both at your ease and stimulate
some conversation. If your date is an avid reader, then consider meeting for a coffee
at the British Library and taking a stroll through Bloomsbury to soak up some literary
Alternatively, if you have films in common, then why not check out London's South
Bank? There are usually some film-related exhibitions and displays going on, which
will give you plenty to see and talk about. Or, if you're both into good food, then
you might want to head on down to Borough Market, to sample the unusual range of
food on offer. And if you don't live in London, don't worry: Google events in your
area that are related to your common interests – you're bound to come up with something
#3 - A lot of chat happens by SMS
It's quick, convenient and means that you can still maintain contact, even if you're
in a position where you can't actually speak. However, the wacky world of texting
has created its own language, complete with acronyms and codes. If you're going
to exchange text messages, it's worth learning what a few of them mean:
- LOL – Laugh Out Loud. Don't get confused, like David Cameron did, into thinking
it means ‘Lots Of Love' or your chat partner might get a little annoyed that you
seem to find everything incredibly funny!
- ROFL – Roll On The Floor Laughing. Use when something's really tickled you.
- A3 – Anytime, Any place, Anywhere. If you get this, it's a sure sign that your chat
is going well.
- BRB – Be Right Back. A quick way of saying that you've got other demands on your
attention. But be sure to get right back or you‘ll come across as inconsistent and
- FYI – For Your Information.
- 10Q – Thank you. Sometimes written as ‘Thnx' or ‘TY'.
- 459 – I Love You. It's a coded way of expressing yourself, related to the keys on
your phone: 4 = I, 5 = L and 9 = Y.
- ASL – Age, Sex Location. This is usually used as a question to give someone a quick
idea of whether they are talking to the person they want to. Not to be confused
with YSL, who make great perfume!
- NP – No Problem.
- XOXOXO – Hugs and kisses. Nothing to do with gravy-thickening granules…
#4 - Five things to watch out for
If you've got as far as a date, then your chatting skills aren't in question. However,
according to Chat or Date users, there are five dealbreakers that, if you overlook them,
could see you back on the shelf in fairly short order:
- Hygiene. It might seem obvious, but the most critical ones often are. Have the shower,
brush your teeth and make sure that you wear deodorant. Turning up reeking of sweat
might work in the films but, in reality, no one wants to inhale a fog of body odour
when you're supposed to be having a romantic meal.
- Clothes. Take pride in your appearance; what you wear says an awful lot about you.
You don't have to dress as though you're going to the Ritz (unless you are); a smart
jacket and some clean jeans can be just as effective. Make sure that your clothes
are ironed and smell good.
- Money. Along with religion and politics, this is one of those topics to avoid. Until
you're further down the line, neither of you needs to know how much the other earns.
Too much prying will have you looking like a gold-digger and scare your date off
pretty quickly. Assume, for the moment, that you're each as well-heeled as the other.
It's not about the cash, it's about whether you hit it off or not.
- Lying. Why bother? Lies have a way of coming back to bite you and can have serious
consequences. Liars tend to be insecure people who feel the need to big themselves
up. If you're prone to a little exaggeration or some out and out fibs, consider
whether you're really ready to date. It's far better to be honest and allow the
other person to make their own judgements than buy into a lie that will be uncovered
at a later date.
- Drinking. Of course you're going to be nervous on your first date, but throwing
yourself headlong into a bottle of Chateau Collapso isn't going to help you out.
A couple of drinks to take the edge off is acceptable, but turning yourself into
a leering, slavering clown isn't. Pace yourself: drink a glass of water after each