(NEXSTAR) – Unless it’s some sort of consensual kink you’ve both discussed beforehand, you never want to put a foot in your mouth on a first date.
Fortunately for all you singles, renowned dating coach Devyn Simone is well-versed in avoiding taboo topics, sensitive subjects, and first-date questions that no one should ever ask.
“I’m always fascinated to understand the dynamics of relationships,” said Simone, who also works as the resident relationship expert at Tinder. “I hear some really interesting stories, too.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, some of those “interesting” stories stem from failed first dates. And, according to Simone, asking insensitive questions often puts daters on the fast track to failure.
“The ones that I hear people most commonly ask, or want to ask — there’s really not a good answer,” she told Nexstar.
“For starters, ‘Why are you single?’ It’s a terrible question, even if your intention is good,” she said.
The problem with this question, according to Simone, is that you’re “not necessarily going to get the information you’re looking for. And phrasing it that way puts [the other person] on the back foot. You’re putting someone in a defensive position.”
There are plenty of reasons someone might be single, Simone noted — job demands, familial obligations, past relationship drama, or just taking a break from being coupled up to enjoy some me-time for oneself.
And if they’re recently single because of a messy breakup, they’re probably not too happy to rehash those events.
“They’re not going to tell you, ‘Oh, I cheated on so-and-so.’ So asking that question is a moot point,” Simone said. “And if they’re single because they haven’t found the right person, you’re putting them in a corner.”
To spark a more meaningful conversation, Simone suggests ditching “Why are you single?” and instead asking “What have you enjoyed about being single and what are you hoping to find a partner?”
Taking this approach, Simone said, will help you understand if you’re both on the same page, without making the other person feel like they’re being shamed into defending their life choices.
Another question people hate to hear? “How many dates have you gone on, from [insert app name here]?”
“Don’t talk about that, no,” said Simone. “If they say none, why? If they say 15, then you wonder, ‘How many did they go on this week?’”
“There’s no indication that this gives insight, or that they might be a compatible partner for you.”
It’s also likely you both met using the same dating app, so once again, the point is moot.
“Connection starts with shared experience. Part of that shared experience is you’re both on the app,” said Simone. “So ask about the activity, the experience you’re currently sharing instead.”
These simple tips, Simone said, will help start your next date on the right foot. And then afterward, you can inquire about any of the feet stuff we mentioned earlier (if that is indeed your thing).