Date Conversations — Discussing Your Childhood

13 11 2013

I’ve already admitted to you all that I enjoy reading things like Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, magazines that typically have at least one article about tips on dating every month. I enjoy reading them for laughs and giggles mostly, but it’s also good to get an opinion on topics concerning dating from people who are not just in your inner circle sometimes.

It’s also why I read some of the fun dating articles on How About We… and sites like IVillage.

But one thing I haven’t seen any of them discuss recently is topics of conversation that are good to have when you first start dating. Now, I’ve certainly seen topics of conversation not to have too early on – and those are some of your tried and true ones like politics, religion, etc… But articles on what can actually give you a good indicator of this person going forward? Not really.

Well a couple months ago, I found myself on a date with this guy, and we randomly started talking about our childhoods with each other. It was all cute and funny stuff (like the fact that there is a video somewhere of me and my cousin singing our little 3 year-old hearts out to Saving All My Love for You, hair brushes in hand), but when I took a second to step out of myself in that moment – I also realized just how much we were learning about each other. And in a fun and non-pressure way at that! FTW!

The moment was actually quite eye-opening for me for a few reasons, though. For one, I’ve known this guy for a while now, so it was really interesting to see how much we didn’t know about each others’ childhoods until that point. Like, I really found myself wondering — “wait, why hadn’t we talked about this stuff before?” But it also showed me just how much you can learn about a person as they are now just by hearing them tell their stories from their early life.

That seems like an obvious point, right? But I don’t think it’s something I’d really made an effort to focus on when dating guys in the past. Yet when you think about it, you can really learn so much from something as silly as a conversation on what your family did during the holidays when you were a kid.

Now, I’m not saying force someone into revealing some crazy childhood story he or she has been holding in for like 10 years. But if the moment presents itself, and it seems organic, I’m all about exploring and laughing about some of your favorite childhood stories with the guy or girl you’re interested in. You never know, you might find out that that person was just as much of a New Edition fanatic as you were and also knows all the dance moves to If It Isn’t Love. Or that you both thought Love Jones was the capstone of Black movies in the 90s even though you were both probably way too young to be watching it or understanding what was really going on. And if either of those things happen, listen — you gotta marry that person. (Okay, not really, please don’t marry someone just because they know the moves to a New Edition song. But you can at least smile within yourself knowing that your inner child may have found his or her inner child soulmate.)

So what do you think about the idea of discussing your childhood with someone you’re just starting to date? And have you found any other great conversations that help you learn more about this person you’re dating without coming off like a journalist digging into his or her background? Inquiring minds want to know.

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2 responses

13 11 2013
Erika

Childhoods are so iffy I think. I know for me, it’s no big deal b/c I had a pretty normal (I don’t even know what that means really) childhood. Nothing terribly traumatic, etc. So they seem pretty innocuous to me. But, I distinctly remember dating a guy who had a really, really traumatic upbringing. And, even though he never seemed to take issue with discussing it, I always felt bad or wondered if it came up too early in our relationship. That said, we ended up dating for quite a while, so he must not have cared so much. But, I treat childhoods the same way I treat talking about past relationships – very, very carefully. Only because everyone didn’t have the great experience growing up that I did and I’d rather someone reveal that part of me in due time, when they’re comfortable with it. But if he’s game then hey, go for it!

I have always found talking about sports to be the conversation that leads to a million other conversations – but I think that’s only because I am a true sports fan. I’ve learned everything about a guy from his favorite color to his hero to his proudest achievements by having a real conversation about sports. But, you have to take the convo further than “what’s your favorite team?” You have to ask the “why.” That’s when they tell you they’re a vikings fan because it was the only Starter Jacket left in the store or David Robinson is the reason they joined the Navy (both true stories).

I think either approach gets at what you want, though. Which is to learn about this new and awesome person in your life.

13 11 2013
dbaham

Hmmm, great counterpoint! I thought about the sticky factor of someone having a bad childhood, but I guess I just brushed it off thinking well there’s gotta at least be a few good memories, right?! But you’re right — it could be sketchy if you’re not careful. I think if it feels organic in the context of the conversation, it can certainly be a cute way to learn things still though.

And I absolutely agree on the sports conversation, as long as you actually like sports LOL. You can’t be that girl trying to carry on a sports conversation and all you know about basketball is Lebron James. No ma’am.

But if you can hold a legit convo about the topic and ask follow-up questions like you suggested, you can certainly learn a great deal about your potential cutie. For example, I learned that the NY Juvie was a big Texans fan because he liked being different from everyone else, and no one he knew was a Texans fan. That should have been my first indicator he would be a dude that enjoyed being a contrarian hahaha… well that and the fact that he was a Gemini *scrunches face* LOL

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