Avoid frivolous talk on a date

Frivolous: unworthy of serious attention; trivial; of little value.

One of the consistent complaints men make about women is their incessant talking. And it’s just not that there is no silence. But women more than men talk and talk and talk about things of no consequence to the men. In fact, she will go into great detail about people he doesn’t know and will never meet. And the stories have no point that is relevant to him or her.

Women bond through talking. A woman talks to share part of her life with her man, which is why so much discussion is about people in her life — or even people she’s never met but are in her friends’ lives! Women also talk to sort out their opinions and feelings. “Talking it out” is a common habit among many women, and can provide release of tension.

The problem is women don’t know with whom this is acceptable behavior and with whom it is an irritant. On a date — especially on early dates with a guy — it can be deadly. He wants to listen to you (if he’s at all conscious), but if you babble on and on, he’ll turn off quicker than a triggered safety valve. And if they end up in a relationship, she’ll complain that he doesn’t listen. Could it be that she rarely says anything relevant to him? Or things important to her are hidden in with so much noise he doesn’t know to listen up?

blah blah blah“And then he said…then she said…and then…and then…” and on and on. The man is thinking, “Get to the point!” Or she says, “Gina’s boyfriend’s cousin was so upset because….” He doesn’t know Gina, her boyfriend or his cousin, so couldn’t care less. Or she keeps talking and talking, saying little of consequence, perhaps even repeating herself.

I’ve noticed this in a lot of women, and fight hard to not fall into this behavior, although I’m sure I do sometimes. But twelve years ago, I had an experience that made me realize how much frivolous talk I contributed. It cured me of much of it.

I attended a 9-day residential personal growth workshop. We’d been told that this workshop could be life-changing if we followed the guidance of our facilitators while we were there. I decided to participate full out —- no holding back or deciding which processes I’d participate in and which ones I wouldn’t. I trusted these leaders so I did the exercises fully.

The first day we were told there was to be no frivolous talk for the next 3 days. In fact, there was to be no talk at all outside of our workshop room, other than to discuss logistics issues (e.g., car pooling). We were to be silent.

I was struck by how many times I’d think of chatting with my classmates about unimportant things —- the weather, her pretty jacket, could he pass the salt. I saw how much “noise” I contributed. These things weren’t really important, or I didn’t need to speak to communicate them.

By forcing us into silence, we saw how little of our usual babble really needed to be said. When the silence was lifted, we were much quieter than we’d been before. When we did speak, it was to ask a deeper question, or to share a meaningful insight.

Although I’ve drifted back into some chatter, I talk less now than before. If someone asks me to repeat something that I then realize was unimportant, I say, “I’m just talking here —- not saying anything.”

Why don’t you try observing and curbing your frivolous talk? You don’t have to be silent, but think about what you say before you say it. Ask yourself “Does this really need to be said? Will it make a difference to my listener?” If not, then button it up!

Men appreciate silence — especially if he’s driving in heavy traffic or bad weather, or when first sitting down at a restaurant. Your smile will tell him you aren’t giving him the “silent treatment,” but just enjoying his company.

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12 responses to “Avoid frivolous talk on a date”

  1. sd Avatar

    Well, hell, if I were to be like that on a first date…

    That would be the MOST misleading thing I could DO to the poor guy!

    If I failed to talk much to my date, I would likely learn VERY little about him, he would learn practically nothing about me and form some false impressions for sure, and then neither of us would have a clue as to where to take it from there…

    I talk, I like to talk, most people like to listen when I talk and tell me so, I like to listen to other people talk- it is bonding, relating, sharing emotions, sharing info, sharing opinions, debating opinions, providing amusement or entertainment in the form of a story.

    OK, so I am a very typical woman – and Celt! – that way.

    But the LAST thing I need to do is not be myself around prospective partners- I tried that for the first 14 years of adulthood to please a man, and it was the worst thing I could have done for my self-esteem and personal growth.
    Never Again!

  2. Kvetch Avatar

    I hate frivolous talk among women…but find that on a date…a little banter goes a long way into determining what direction a conversation can take. A little of this and a little of that can veer off in a direction you’d never have thought of. And like in sd’s comment, not talking would be very misleading. I want to have people in my life to talk to. Even about my friend’s cousin’s girlfriend’s dog.

    You’re not going to have meaningful conversations 100% of the time. Chit chat, especially when you first meet someone, is an indicator of how future important conversations might flow.

    But I do agree that you don’t have to talk incessantly about anything at all — but uncomfortable silence is not good either.

    Just my .02

  3. JET Avatar

    Hello – I’m a long-time reader, first time commenter…..

    At first glance, it looks like a man wrote this blog. It seems like we should put the “man’s” needs and feeling first instead of a woman’s. A relationship has to be equal. If we have to deal with (some) men’s insulting behavior (as you stated about your last bad date), why can’t women just talk about something they want to talk about?

    That’s my .02 as well. 🙂

  4. Gray Ghost Avatar
    Gray Ghost

    Just a small note to add to this, I just finished a seminar about relationships and marriage, and one of the major points that they tried very hard to make is that men and women are different in temperments and lifestyles. One of the ways they made the point about it is the differences in how we communicate and connect with others, men don’t talk much and value time spent together but not necessarily talking during that time, while women want to talk things through to ‘connect the dots’ and make connections. As the course would put it, “It’s not wrong, just different”

  5. REM Avatar

    As a guy I would rather have my date chat a little bit much than me have to pry and words from her. At least I know that she can talk and I can make an assesment of of what she is like by what and how she talks.

    different stokes, different folks

  6. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Based on the comments, it appears my point was not clear.

    My point, for those of you who missed it, was to be *conscious* of behaviors that are off putting, especially early on. And I am not suggesting you *don’t talk*, but to be aware of if you are prattling on, as in the examples above. I don’t like babbling from men or women as it tells me the person isn’t conscious. Granted, there are times we just need to get something off our chest, but that is typically saved for people we are in relationship with, not for someone we’ve just met.

    No need to not be yourself, unless you talk incessantly about what you had for breakfast, and every turn you made to get to work, or a blow by blow of your last shopping trip. Just as you may be bored with a detailed replay of the last football game unless you are a rabid fan. This “be yourself” business has to be balanced with where you are in the relationship. Yourself gets revealed in stages as you get comfortable with the other and trust is built. The guy from the “bad date” posting could argue that he was just being himself and we saw how inappropriate that was for a first date.

    Also, no need to make the guy pry words out of you. That is not what I said at all. The key word here is *conscious* which people often aren’t when nervous on a first date.

    Jet:I never said to put the man’s needs ahead of a woman’s. I’m saying if you don’t know what can be off putting to the other sex, you unknowingly do things that you could have easily modified. And I don’t think ou should ever have to “deal” with insulting behavior — you just leave.

  7. C Avatar

    Remember a little show called “Seinfeld”? Every conversation they had was about “nothing” and it was the funniest show on TV. I need to know that a guy has a sense of humor, and that it’s in syche with mine. You don’t get off really good one-liners within Deep conversations. Usually.

  8. Dating Goddess Avatar

    C: I was never a Seinfeld fan, now that you’ve mentioned it. I loved Jerry, but George was just too much of a snivler for me. And it was written by professional comedy writers, so even though it was “about nothing” (according to Jerry), it was written to be amusing. Most of us don’t have those skills.

    And if one has a knack for one liners, you can make them in nearly every conversation.

  9. hunter Avatar

    …in my younger days, I couldn’t take much “talking,’ time has gone by, and I lost count of how many therapist, and seminars later, it is alright for me to hear a woman babble, she can do that all night, and I’ll be fine……….

  10. Christine Avatar

    Not to trivialize this issue, but isn’t it true that for some men, ALL talk is frivolous!!!

  11. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Christine: I’m sure some men (and some women) would feel that ALL talk is frivolous. See the posting about the need for affiliation. But most people, I would guess, feel some talk is needed, and indeed welcomed. It is when it is too much it becomes off putting. And I know it is not a PC opinion, but my experience is more women go overboard on frivolous talk than men.

  12. Ellen Avatar

    I think you have to consider that people talk for different reasons. Some people talk to relay information. Some people talk to connect. Some people talk to be entertaining or impressive. Some people talk because they are nervous and or it’s habitual or it’s what they learned growing up in their families or cultures. And some people talk because it’s an addiction, a means by which they can avoid feelings. For whatever reason, men are more frequently in the first category (talk to relay information) but that’s also where I am. I’ve known know both men and women in the last category(addictive personalities, whether it’s booze, gambling, or talking)

    Sometimes what’s offputting about frivolous talking is not the talking per se, but the listener’s feeling that the talker is in some other zone–not really there with the listener, not talking TO the listener; it’s self-serving talking, verbal masterbation. If that DOESN’T turn someone off right away, it will.