The entire universe can agree that today’s dating world is rough. Yes, dating apps can give you a sneak peek into your potential lover’s life, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be compatible, or even comfortable with them once you meet. Will you hit it off? Or start running toward the nearest exit? No matter which side of the fence you’re on, all ONE ROQ Members should go into their next date with the confidence that they’ll master it. You shouldn’t have to worry about saying or doing the right thing, so we’ve listed a few talking points that will help you show your best self while getting to know the person you’re dating. Try something new together. If you don’t want to go to a bar for drinks, start the date by looking for an activity that neither of you have done, so you’ll both feel at a disadvantage together rather than one person being a pro and the other feeling self-conscious. Ever try axe-throwing? Escape rooms? Pottery? Bingo? This shared unfamiliarity could be fun and give you something to talk about afterward – even if you both suck at it. Be yourself. We’ll start with this one first since it’s usually an afterthought. He or she really wants to get to know the real you, not the stiff “following all the date rules by the book” you. Let them hear your positives and your passions, even if you’re a little nervous about the whole thing. This doesn’t mean baring your soul and sharing your darkest secrets, but give a glimpse of how fun you are. Even if something about you feels a little obscure, it’s possible that your date is into it. Reach out. You already know your life details, so this is an excellent opportunity to learn about someone else. Tell yourself that the person you’re with has amazing things to share about themselves and their life, and you just need to ask the right questions to discover what those facts are. It’s not an interview, so don’t push hard, and be sure to answer their questions about you, too. But turning the attention back to your date and listening to their responses will give you bonus points. Stay shallow. A casual conversation is always the way to go on early dates, with the exception of common topics that you can bond over, such as similar professional backgrounds or shared hobbies and interests. But for the most part, stick with general knowledge topics and avoid potential disagreements – hello, politics – or other sensitive topics that someone will feel strongly about. If you guys do share similar political or religious views, wait until the second date to find out. Look for areas of agreement. In relation to the previous point, it’s easy to talk about topics you both agree on. But that isn’t always the case. You have country vs. rock n’ roll, science fiction vs. chick flicks, cats vs. dogs. There’s a chance the person you date will have different opinions, so the key to a successful date is to be respectful and not critical. Be cautious of how you react, and don’t tell someone their opinion is automatically wrong. Stay in the present. Unless you’re talking about your own personal goals, focus on the now and don’t involve the other person. In a first date situation, people aren’t usually thinking long-term. So, if you want to bring up the possibility of a second date without sounding too forward, talk about an upcoming event, like a concert or museum exhibit, and ask if they’d like to come. You’ll soon see there’s no reason to stress your first date. Just remember to be yourself and stay positive while enjoying the company of another person. What happens after, you’ll figure out when the time comes.