How do you reply to ‘tell me about yourself’ on a date? Intros can be awkward and nerve-wracking, but we’re here to help! From do’s and don’ts to examples, here is EXACTLY how to talk about yourself on a first date.
Hey everyone! The getting-to-know-each-other phase is always the trickiest and most important in dating. It’s the time when you build the foundation of your relationship. It’s when you understand whether the other person is worth a second date or not.
When a guy or girl says ‘tell me about yourself,’ what do you say? Whether you’re meeting someone though online dating, or through a common friend, or even for arranged marriage, the basics of dating stay the same – you want to make sure you come across as honest yet interesting! This is true whether you’re meeting face-to-face, having a Facetime call or even a first phone call.
So without getting into too many private details, read on to know how to talk about yourself on a date. What are the safe topics and what are the things to include in your first intro? Let’s find out:
Start with the Basics
The first thing a guy or a girl typically asks on a first date is, “Tell me something about yourself.” And it’s a very valid question. Even if you’ve read their profile on a website or checked out their social media bios, you can tell a lot about someone through their expressions, tone, and what they choose to reveal about themselves.
When you have to talk about yourself on a date, the best idea is to just start with basics. Here are some things to tell about yourself in the first date intro:
- Where you are from, for example, city or location within a city.
- What you do – professionally, if you’re working, or what you study, if you’re a student.
- Your top hobbies or interests.
- Your living situation, for example, living alone, with roommates or with family.
- About your family – your parents, siblings – where they live and what they do.
- About your pets, if any.
- What you do on the weekends.
- What you’re looking for from this date, or your current interest or goal generally in the dating game. For example, talk about whether you’re looking for a serious relationship, you’re not sure if you want to get married at some point in the near future, etc.
These are good and considerably safe topics to begin with. You don’t have to talk about all these points – just pick and choose what you want to tell about yourself. Hopefully, your date already knows most of this about you. If not, this is a great way to put yourself out there, so that they know whether they see this going forward or not.
An Example Intro: How to Talk about Yourself on a Date
Your intro can sound something like this, “Well, I’m Shilpa Ahuja. I am from originally from Chandigarh, but now I live in Chennai. I’m the Editor-in-Chief of a digital fashion magazine, ShilpaAhuja.com. I love creative writing, traveling, Italian food, painting and learning new things. What about you?”
Or you can say something filled with fun-facts, like, “Hey, I’m Mike. I’m from Chicago, where I worked as a web designer. I recently moved to NYC for my new job, and I’m just here trying to meet someone special, I guess. I live in Union Square in Manhattan with my dog Leo. ‘Cause he’s a Leo, like me! On the weekends I like to, well, mostly sleep, or sometimes I meet my friends for a drink. I also love reading and watching classic or noir films.”
Follow Up Questions to Ask
Now, imagine you talked about yourself and they also told something about themselves. The best way to keep the conversation going (without awkward pauses) is to ask some questions. How do you take it forward after someone asks ‘tell me about yourself’ on a date?
Follow-up questions are great in multiple ways. First, they let your date talk more about themselves, giving you a chance to better understand them and judge the future of your relationship. Secondly, they show you’re interested, and that’s always a good sign for your date. Last but not the least, follow up questions show that you’re a good listener. And who doesn’t love a partner who can lend an ear?
So here are some questions to ask your date once they’ve replied to your question of, “Tell me about yourself.”
- Tell me more about your work.
- Do you like your job?
- Tell me more about your city. How’s it there?
- What’s your ambition in life?
- Tell me more about your hobby. How did you first get interested in it?
- What kind of person are you looking for? Or what do you want your ideal partner to be like?
- Tell me more about your family – about your parents or siblings – what do they do?
- What are your favorite movies or music/books?
- Do you have a lot of friends? Tell me about your close friends.
What to Look for in the First Conversation with Your Date?
The main idea is to find common ground when you talk about yourself on a date. You want to discover something in common that you can relate to, and eventually start to bond over. If your date mentions something that you agree with, or if they mention an interest that you also like, then share your mutual feelings too!
Common interests are the basis of any relationship, whether it’s between friends, girlfriends/boyfriends, co-workers or even siblings/ cousins. They make everyone excited to have something to share, and indeed, someone to share it with.
Finding common ground is a major step in any first date, because it moves you to the next step – the informality. It acts as a relaxant!
How Honest Should You Be on a First Date?
Honesty is key in an early relationship, because a lot of what you talk about yourself on a date sticks. It forms the first few memories of your relationship. In fact, these conversations are the foundation on which your relationship is built.
Honesty is very important in any relationship. Without it, you’ll just have to commit to a future of pretense, and that can get exhausting and depressing very soon.
However, there’s a fine line between being too honest and over-sharing. While you want to be honest on your first date, you don’t want to reveal everything, especially personal or off-topic things that may be off-putting to someone who’s just getting to know you.
Important Do’s and Don’ts When You Talk about Yourself on a Date
Keep it Casual
First date intros are more or less like small talk. When a girl or guy asks you to tell them about yourself, you tell some basic stuff, and learn about theirs. Other than that, it’s best to stick to casual topics like hobbies, weekend plans, food tastes, weather, etc.
Talk in a Simple & Straight-forward Way
Be easy to talk to. Don’t try to be too mysterious or cocky, because you’re still strangers on a first date, even if you’ve talked to each other over the phone before. Your date may not be able to get your jokes, and something you say can easily be misunderstood. So talk about yourself in an uncomplicated way that shows you’re earnest.
Keep it Polite
Start the conversation a bit formally, with your words, body-language and tone. Being too informal can come across as overconfident or cocky to some people. Hopefully, as the date progresses, you can move on to being less formal with each other.
It’s okay if the other person is still too formal after a while. Don’t worry, it’s not a negative sign. Some people are just more guarded, and take longer to get comfortable than others.
Be a Good Listener
A first date can make you nervous, and sometimes the subconscious response is to talk more or talk too fast! But instead, you should try to listen patiently. The goal is not just to talk about yourself on a date. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak. Try to really listen and speak less.
To follow up your ‘tell me about yourself’, ask questions to know him or her better. Try to understand them well, and to come across like you truly care.
Be Open and Empathetic
When we meet someone new, especially someone we want to get along with, it’s easy to already have a positive opinion of them. So it may come as a shock if they say something that’s unexpected to you. It is very important for you to be open to the other person’s desires or uniqueness.
Never say things like, “What? You don’t like <so and so>? How’s that possible?!” or “What kind of a person would like <so and so>!” or “I could never live my life like that.” These kinds of statements are very judgmental and can come across as off-putting.
You don’t want to come across as over-critical or closed-minded. Even if you are too shocked to hear your date’s “tell me about yourself” intro, or answers or their background, don’t let your shock be too obvious. Just say okay, and try to process it internally.
For example, if you find out they’re much older or financially stronger than you, or if they’re not on the same page as you about relationship views, just be cool and nod, instead of freaking out!
Never Force Your Opinions on Your Date
The first date isn’t about too many opinion exchanges. It’s about getting to know the basics. Furthermore, understand that everyone grows and evolves. So your own opinions may even change over time.
For example, if you say something like, “How can I date you if you don’t love Star Wars?” Or “I can’t go on a second date with you until you read all the Harry Potter Books!” that means you’re trying to change someone’s interests or force your own opinions on them.
To start a healthy relationship, we need to respect the other person’s opinions, individuality and interests. In fact, you do need someone who has some different interests than you, so that your personalities complement each other and you can learn from one another.
Don’t Be Too Eager to Please
It’s common that if we really want it to work out, we may feel an over eagerness to come across as likable. So you may think that you need some cute things to tell a guy about yourself, or you need to be extra charming or stud-like! However, being polite, earnest and interested is more than enough on a first date. Being over-eager can often come across as needy or too clingy, which is a red flag!
Don’t Open a Pandora’s Box
When you talk about yourself on a date, just share as much as is necessary. Avoid sharing TMI (too much information), gross and weird or controversial stuff just to get a reaction or to test them.
All that should wait for future dates when you’re closer to the other person. As I said before, first date intro is just about the fundamentals and casual conversations.
You Don’t Have to Answer Every Question
I mentioned above how important honesty is, but not at the cost of over-sharing on a first date. Some topics are better reserved for future dates. And some of us may have certain topics that may be too uncomfortable to talk about.
If your date asks a question you don’t want to reply to, just say so. Smile and politely say, “It’s too personal. Is it okay if I don’t wanna talk about it just yet?” Your date will understand and hopefully respect your privacy.
Don’t Be Afraid to Let Your True Personality Show
While you don’t have to reveal everything, as I mentioned before, don’t try to be too mysterious either. It’s best to be as honest and open as possible without worrying too much. Worst case scenario, your date won’t call back. But that’s okay, because you’ll save yourself the trouble of dating someone who didn’t accept you as you are.
Think of it as Practice
I know it sounds like silly advice, but just think of your first date like dating practice! It’ll keep the pressure away. When you talk about yourself on a date, it’s not a test. You don’t need to think of a date as a matter of life or death! Don’t worry or be too nervous that you have to come across as perfect! Just think of it as an “experience”, enjoy your time and have fun!
Tell me your thoughts or experiences down below in the comments, or tweet @shilpa1ahuja!
Shilpa Ahuja the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion. Other than defining the direction of the magazine, she also writes about fashion & beauty trend forecasts, industry analysis, and opinions.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]