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25 Words Never to Say on a First Date

Marriage, baby, STD—there are some things we all know never to say on a first date. But these surprising topics should also pretty much be off-limits.

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Don’t say: Ex

Nobody needs to hear about your ex on the very first date. If the two of you make it past the night, you’ll have plenty of time to delve into your romantic pasts. And if you do find yourself fighting the urge to bring up your ex, it’s worth asking yourself—later—what’s going on. Is it because you want to talk about what you don’t want in a relationship? Or do you want to show your date how much you’ve moved on? Or is it to reassure your date that he/she is so much better than your ex? Going on a date isn’t only about getting to know the other person better—it might also tell you more about yourself. (Also dreading those awkward first date silences? Try these tricks to avoid it.)

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Don’t say: maybe/kinda/sorta/probably

Researchers from Stanford University and University of California, Santa Barbara analyzed the transcripts from more than 900 speed dates to learn what made a pair feel like they clicked on a date, and what kept them from clicking. One finding: When a date—and in particular, a woman—used hedge words such as “maybe,” “kinda,” “sorta,” and “probably,” the words signaled detachment and discomfort to her or his partner, putting distance between them. Also wise to avoid: some of these most annoying phrases in the English language.

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Don’t say: Movie

According to another study, less than 9 percent of first-date couples who talked about movies were interested in going on a second date. It’s speculated that because so many of us hold strong opinions about films, they can be a polarizing subject. So what should you talk about? Travel. In the same study, 18 percent of the first-daters who spoke about vacations and trips wanted to go out again. The topic makes people seem outgoing and attractive to one another. (Never, ever order these foods on a first date.)

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Don’t say: Colonoscopy/waxing/root canal

Kindly refrain from discussing medical, dental, or aesthetic procedures on your first date. And even if the story of your wisdom tooth extraction is truly hilarious, trust us: it will be just as side-splitting—if not more so—when you and your date know each other a bit better.

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Don’t say: Hobbies

“What are your hobbies?” is such an impersonal, stilted question that it should be asked only during jury selection or a job interview. For a first date, you’ll get a better response if you ask “What do you like to do on the weekends?” or “What do you do after work?”

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Don’t say: Single

The most-hated question by would-be daters is “Why are you single?” Although there is a nugget of flattery in the query—because you’re implying that the person is really a catch—the overall effect is negative. A dater is much more likely to interpret it as “What’s wrong with you?”

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Don’t say: Googled

Based upon a completely unscientific survey of the Internet, the most-dreaded sentence to hear on a first date is “I googled you.” While it’s perfectly okay to do this, it’s just plain creepy to tell someone you did.

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Don’t say: s*&t/f*&k

Yes, we all cuss from time to time and that’s normal, but keep your language rated G on the first date. However, it is perfectly fine to curse on these occasions.

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Don’t say: bff/omg/lol/sup

Save any acronyms and abbreviations for texting. Using them in conversation will just make you sound immature. But don’t partake in these annoying texting habits.

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Don’t say: Full disclosure

A first date is way too early for you to make any big reveals.

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Don’t say: Debt/401K/salary

The same goes for all financial matters. Anyone navigating the dating field will get a kick out of these ridiculous dating tips from the 1930s.

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Don’t say: Fun

Saying “I had fun” at the end of the evening is like saying “That was interesting” at the end of a movie—you’re damning the experience with faint praise. So if you had a great time, just be honest and say that.