Tag Archives: helpful-hints

Laws of Conversation

A casual observation of a tremendously boring date. I think this is the only useful conclusion to come out of that evening.

I went out with a guy I met through a website a few days ago. We didn’t get a great start, because he seemed incredibly nervous, and we just couldn’t get a conversation going. While this might be less noteworthy for other people, for me this is somewhat of an exception. I don’t want to sound conceited, and I’m fully aware that this is a double-edged sword, but I sure talk a lot. I’m naturally bubbly and uninhibited, and under normal circumstances can hold enough conversation for several people. While possibly annoying when in a group of people, it’s a blessing when on a date – I tend to fill all the awkward silences with my babbling.

However, this time even my stream of consciousness completely failed me. Every time I started to veer off into an anecdote, he interrupted me and pointed out the single most boring fact about this story. Case in point my hilarious story about how I cycled into a lamppost when I was younger, resulting in severe concussion and a seriously cool scar. This could have been the start for several possible chats about childhood stupidity, medical horrors, scar comparisons or emergency care provision in different countries.

His take on it? “I used to cycle to work, too.”

After two hours, I left exasperatedly. When my friend asked me how it went, I tried to sum up how boring the evening really was. The best I could come up with was: we talked a lot about how much we used to go out when we were at university. And then I realised that this is an excellent gauge of how much you’re connecting with someone.

If you have to resort to stories about how drunk you were at uni, then the conversation is not going well.

Stories about drunken antics at uni are fine, but I think we all know that they are the lowest common denominator (or more accurately the greatest common divisor). These stories are not sign of a unique connection, but rather an acknowledgement that yes, we’re both human, drink alcohol and have been to uni at one point. They are thus what you can resort to with any middle-class uni graduate between 20 and 35, even if you have nothing else in common.

If this is all the two of you got, you might as well leave the pub now. Except you probably don’t dare to, so better brush up that story of this awesome house party in your second year.

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Dealbreakers (Part II)

Although I usually go for the interesting storyline rather than the actual boring details, I’d like to point out that this story did not need any embellishments of my imagination.  All texts are quotes and only edited for privacy.

I had gone on a nice first date, which ended without any major complications. We had walked past my university on the way back, and I pointed out “my” building.

Imagine my surprise when receiving these texts a few days later:

Him: You don’t happen to be around [name of uni] do you? X

Me: No, I’m at home- it’s saturday morning!

Him: Damn, I even went and had a poke around the [my department] dept to see if I could surprise you… X

Let’s keep the perspective that this is someone I’ve only met twice. Yes, twice, including our first meeting ever (15min) and a date in the pub. And now he’s poking around my office on a saturday morning.

DEALBREAKER.

Just don’t be the weird stalker dude. If I don’t take you to my office, don’t come to my office. Definitely don’t go into any buildings that I haven’t invited you in. And if you do so, please turn around in the lobby. Don’t go to reception, and find out where my department is. And if you do so, please just leave with that information. Don’t go up the stairs.

And certainly don’t “poke around”.

I’m extremely glad to tell you that I’ve since moved offices for unrelated causes.

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Drawing the Line

Inspired by many stories. I think we might all have been there. At least that’s what I tell myself when I make the same mistakes over and over again.

Do you know when someone asks you out that you think is perfectly nice, but you have no romantic interest in whatsoever? Maybe they are a friend, maybe the friend of a friend, maybe a work colleague. In any case, you like them, you don’t want to hurt their feelings, you wouldn’t mind at all to spend an afternoon with them, so when they ask you whether you’d like to go for coffee sometime you agree.

Maybe you weren’t even sure whether this constitutes a date. Maybe you genuinely thought that this coffee date is about the coffee, and not about the date. But sometime during the conversation about why your mum can’t have cinnamon buns it hits you- he thinks that this is a proper date, and this is why he wants to get to know you (and your mum and your cinnamon buns).

And now there is no real return, because you have already agreed to going out with him. Hell, you’re already on the date with him. Well done. And what’s this? Oh, he’s asking you out for dinner. Great.

If you want to escape unscathed, you now have several options, all depending on your morals, degree of diplomacy and how ruthless you are. As there are several factors, and I’m sort of geeky, I have compiled the options in this handy bubble chart. Size of bubble refers to likelihood of option being taken (as infered from personal experience and girltalk with friends).

I’ve taken all of these routes at various points in my life, and abstain from judgment.

Good luck.

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