If you are still in the initial stages of dating then you need to know what NOT to say on a first date to keep the conversation free of those long, awkward pauses!

1. ‘My dad has the same shirt!’ (Or pants, shoes, etc.)

You’re essentially suggesting that your date has the fashion sense of a grandpa. Never mind if your father has an impeccable taste in clothing—he could be a retired GQ model or Calvin Klein himself. The comment is more likely than not going to instill a sense of insecurity in your date, making him self-conscious of his chosen attire… which means he’ll be paying more attention to his clothes than to you!

2. ‘You remind me of my father.’

In keeping with the previous subject: on a first date, you probably shouldn’t say anything that’s going to make him feel like your father. Like, at all. We know about the old adage ‘girls marry guys who remind them of their dad,’ but really? No matter how you defend the comment, your date is going to be a little freaked out, or at the very least, feel uncomfortable. Think of it this way: how would YOU respond if he said that you reminded him of his mother? Awkward.

3. ‘Do you always hold your knife and fork like that?’

If his little quirks and oddities are off-putting, why not try to change your perspective? So, okay, he holds his knife like a dagger and twirls his fork like a miniature parasol—he’s unique! You get dinner and a show.

4. ‘Your pants look a little tight.’

Even if you’re going for humour, saying something like this to your date might make him self-conscious about his weight. Many women think that men are more impervious where self-image is concerned, or that they’re more blasé about their own weight issues, but the truth is men are just as susceptible to insecurity and low self-esteem about their appearance as women. So consider risky comments carefully before unleashing them, and if it’s something that yourself would be offended by, then it’s safest just to hush.

5.‘Is that what you chose to wear?’

The unfortunate facts of dating say that in the nascent stages, you’re going to have to let a few things slide. So he shows up looking a little shabby—that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s fashion-challenged or poor. There might be another reason (i.e. maybe he didn’t have time to change after work).

6. ‘Wow, the waiter is smoking hot!’

Some women mistakenly play this card, thinking it will make their date jealous. Bad move! If this is your first or second date, you need to be entirely focused on him, asking him questions and getting to know him better. He’s probably not invested enough yet to get jealous; in fact, he’s more likely to be annoyed that you’re not paying attention.

However, if you’re hanging out with your gal pals, flirting with the waiter is a fun and wholesome game, and we totally approve!

7. ‘Are you going bald?’

Just like with their weight, men are extremely sensitive about hair loss, so if he does seem to be sporting a receding hairline, believe us: he’s already well aware of it. Instead rubbing salt in the wound, give him a self-esteem boost by pointing out his good features—does he have nice eyes? Tell him so!

8. ‘We need to talk.’

Men have been programmed to go on the defensive when they hear these four words. You may not realize it, but you inadvertently come across as antagonistic when you address an issue this way. Try a more direct approach that’s candid but polite, too. For example, if he has been consistently late meeting you due to work, school, home obligations, etc., suggest moving the time back or having more casual dates that can be easily rearranged at the last minute.

9. ‘My ex was good at…’

Unless it’s a good horror story, your past relationships should not be brought up—‘best let sleeping dogs lie,’ and whatnot. You’re dating the current guy with hopes to start anew, so why bother with old bones? Talking about your ex conveys insecurity and will make you seem like you’re on the rebound—something your current date will not appreciate.

10.  ‘Have you considered waxing?’

It’s true: some men prefer to be smooth and others like to rock the au naturale ‘grizzly man’ look. Regardless, it is his choice, so if Hairy Harry’s not your type, maybe the two of you could reach a compromise. Find out if he likes waxed women, and take it from there.