Solely In Black and White: Question: What’s he Talking About?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Question: What’s he Talking About?

In previous posts (and a few other posts on other blogs) we (us bloggers, collectively) have discussed what to talk about on first dates or the early stages of one’s dating. The topic is relatively amusing since real life social interaction isn’t something that can be choreographed. I mean it can be, but that is mechanical and austere. Sadly, I've actually had those robotic type of interaction on a few occasions. It’s not something I hope for, yet it can be a common eventuality that is an integral part of dating, at least for those us who carry the derogatory "experienced dater" moniker. (So do you prefer we follow the FISHES or JIFSES protocol? ;-) ) 

Likewise, some of the best dates I have had involved conversation pieces that were way out of left field and totally random, regardless of whether they were on a first date or otherwise. Of course there will always be those odd conversation pieces like "is a white shirt and black pants important in a shidduch;" but those are just part of the process. Better to try and fail… Okay, fine; that wasn’t an actual conversation piece, but it was something someone Goolged and landed on my site for some odd reason… ;-) Come to think of it, I really should ask that question on date; you know... just for the fun of it! 

After much research (i.e. asking a few of my dating and married friends) the general consensus was: talk about anything and everything. Obviously, this means topics within reason. Boys shouldn’t try to discuss things which are uniquely male discussions, such as the exhilaration of getting drunk on purim, and girls should avoid discussing topics which are uniquely female such as their shoe shopping mishaps and what not. Unless of course the counterparty in question shows genuine interested in said subject, then that’s fine, well at least from a conversational standpoint. Seemingly, the best topics for conversation are things which are relevant to both parties and are interesting on some level. I wish I could provide you with a list of concrete ideas, but this is something that is totally relative and completely subjective. Maybe thats a topic for a different post... but I digress…. 

Anyway, the intended point of this thread is slightly different in nature than that of first date topics or that little diatribe above. I am curious what you (the collective readership) think people ought to talk about in that obscure middle dating stage. You know, were the daters in question are slowly getting to know the other person slightly more. Furthermore, at that point the couple is beginning to have more meaningful conversations, but not in serious a manner yet which further limits potential topics. (i.e. somewhere in the 3rd and 6th date area). So what do you say?


  1. In general, I don't plan topics beforehand. That's really the guy's job :-). But depending on the level of closeness and where the relationship is heading (and where I want it to go...) I probably would start getting a little personal, talking about some experiences I've been through, hashkafa etc. I've been told that when you want to get close to someone (in a dating relationship), a good place to start is by confiding in them so I generally use that piece of advice (in small measures).

  2. I never prepare topics to discuss beforehand. I think the only time I ever did that was before my first date ever. Usually the conversation just flows and we talk about the typical things, like family, Israel, school, work, etc.

  3. It's absolutely ridiculous to prepare topics to discuss before the date. Conversation is something that's supposed to be spontaneous and natural. When I go out, I forget about the whole dating for marriage thing and try to have a good time. That means I'll have a normal conversation that I would have with anyone else. Okay I will admit that guys have kind of freaked out on first dates with me, but no one ever said no because of that. Honestly, what are we looking to marry? Do we want to marry robots that go along with our warped society, or do we want to marry individual's who can actually think? Now that's a good conversation to have on a date by the way...

  4. To be honest, you’re all somewhat right, preparing conversational material is a bit robotic, but it can have its benefits. For example, I occasionally prepare controversial topics so that I can bring them up on dates and have a back and forth with the other person. Furthermore, aside from being interesting in their own right, these topics are general very conducive in revealing one’s hashkafas. So yes, done right, a little prep work can pay off very handsomely!

    Obviously, I am not talking about a first date, or even the first stage of dating, where the idea is to go with the flow (of the conversation). I am specifically referring to the point where one wants to show their date that they are progressing. You can’t really do that by spacing out and going with the flow! For some strange reason these topics have to be broached; and thus they might require some thought and effort, or at least some direction on the part of both individuals.

    Maybe I should have explained this post in a different way. A while back I received a phone call from a friend asking for my advice about this specific topic. He wanted topic ideas that would show that they are getting slightly more serious, yet not deeply involved. I provided him with some of my best ideas, to best of my abilities of course, but it seemed that my list of ideas was rather paltry and I was curious what others thought about such a situation. Granted, the advice may no longer be necessary. For all I know they went out already, or at least I think they did, but it was an interesting topic and I deemed it discussion worthy. :-p

  5. hmmm that's true- i've been known to not be so subtle myself when i want to know someone's hashkafos...oh well! it can be difficult to figure out where a person is hashkafically- without being too i'm VERY obvious!

  6. First off, I don't think it's ridiculous to prepare topics beforehand. It's better than trying to come up with topics under pressure. I just never worried too much because usually the guy leads the conversation and under normal circumstances, I don't have a problem talking :-).

    But I'll never forget my third date with my first guy. I had no idea he was getting serious (I wasn't!) and I didn't have warning about how long he was planning on keeping me out. And then he started asking me every last gory Hashkafa question that I had never even thought about...Let's just say, it wasn't an easy date. At this point it wouldn't faze me but I think that it's better if there's some warning that the conversation is going to get more serious. However, that may be a personal preference and other girls may not have any need for advance notice.

  7. I don't really understand your question. My first boy friend almost never spoke, so I did all the talking and said whatever I wanted.
    With my husband conversation always flowed. We went from silly topics to serious questions easily. We didn't start the really serious questions until about our 3rd date. There was no obscure middle stage. Granted we got engaged 2.5 weeks after we started dating (although at 9 days we knew we were going to get married.) So maybe I just never experienced the middle stage.
    I think that's part of dating. You watch to see how easily conversation flows and how comfortable that makes you. It shouldn't be planned.

  8. The only weird question I ever got was when I guy asked me what kind of husband are u looking for? Abt ten minutes into th first date...Needless to say it was a no for me... But besides that I think pretty much anything goes.. Have fun!

  9. -What kind of communities you (as an individual) might like to live in
    -The idea of living in Israel
    -TV/internet (though this often comes up earlier on)
    -Personal and emotional stories. Confiding in the person makes it more serious.

  10. This is Rik's husband.

    On our first date we talked about a lot of different things but the main topic happened to be which of our family members had different diagnoses. My mom has BP, My brother has OCD, ADHD, my dad has ADD, I have ADD etc. Afterwards it was kind of weird but looking back it was a difficult conversation that we really benefited from in many ways, not so much from the content of it but it said right away that difficult topics shouldn't be hard to broach.


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