THE BLOG
05/30/2014 12:51 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2014

The 5 Best Things to Say on a Date

Jamie Grill via Getty Images

While trawling the Internet in search of entertainment, I often get sucked into a black hole. Every morning, I get these 'daily roundup' newsletters filled with an even balance of highly relevant news and meaningless crap (read: pictures of stars sans makeup). To compensate for my secret love of this tripe, for every piece of crap whose link I can't help but click on, I'll open at least one tab filled with something worth reading. Problem is, even though I have this great system worked out, once I click on crap, I can't stop. The 'makeup-less' article takes me to one featuring "11 Reasons Why Jennifer Lawrence Is Your BFF in Your Head," which takes me to "Breaking News: Kimye Wedding Photographs" and so on and so forth until I look up from my computer and an entire hour has been wasted filling my mind with nonsense.

Fortunately, every once in a blue moon, while in my black hole, I stumble upon some gem of an article that actually makes me step back and think for a moment.

My most recent find was an article titled, "The 5 Best Things to Say In an Interview." Now, I know what you're thinking: These top anything lists are also crap, how does this qualify as a worthwhile read? Or, you can't learn how to give good interview by reading an article. Or, Why am I taking advice from a website that shares space with articles on how big Beyoncé's booty really is? All valid questions. Fortunately, I have an answer.

I read the article because in keeping with my belief that searching for a perfect job and finding a perfect mate are similar processes, I wanted to see how this advice column would compare to the "five best things to say on a date." So here we go.

1. Ask Good Questions
This is sort of a no-brainer. A wise friend of mine recently taught me the importance of active listening. People like to hear themselves talk. So giving your date (or interviewer) the chance to speak -- and actually listening to what they have to say -- is always a good idea. I'm serious. Try it sometime.

2. Be flexible
Given the context of where this article is located and the interesting choice of words, this statement could easily have been misinterpreted. But I have a sneaking suspicion that they didn't mean this in a remotely sexual way. Either way, I don't really agree with this advice either professionally or personally. Some degree of flexibility is important in any situation. But, if you are too amenable, you often end up either not really getting what you want, being seen as a pushover or putting yourself in a situation where you can never really voice your opinion without being difficult. There's nothing wrong with being firm when it comes to the things that are important to you.

3. The Company's Own Words
I think what they mean here is "do your research." Get to know the company before you speak with them. The more you know about their process, culture and work, the more impressive you look. And, it seems like you care enough to have taken the time to read up. When it comes to dating, this one's a bit tricky. I've been on many a date where after a few drinks, my date says "Oh yeah, you ran track in high school, right?" and I respond "Huh?" And then he says sheepishly "Oh yeah... I looked you up online." My first reaction is: stalker. My second reaction tends to depend on whether or not we're having a fun time. It's sometimes flattering. Sometimes, it's just plain weird. Use discretion as needed.

4. "That's a Good Question"
This is apparently to be used in place of "I don't know" when asked for a response to a difficult question. My problem with this is that I'm incredibly stubborn and don't like to appear unintelligent about anything. So when someone asks my opinion on a topic I think I should know about, I'll try to draw on any little smidge of knowledge about said topic and expand upon it. Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn't. On a date, you have much less to lose if they think you are full of sh*t. On a job interview? Sort of a different story. Feel out the situation and if you think you can sound reasonably intelligent, go for it.

5. List Reasons You Want the Job
Although some people may definitely advise against this, and I'm FAR from a dating expert, I don't think there's anything wrong with being a bit less than subtle about what you're looking for in both a job and a partner. If you like that they have their sh*t together, tell em. If they can't handle hearing the truth, they're probably not worth wasting your time on anyway.

So though a job interview column may not give precisely accurate advice for how to approach a first date, I can see where some of these pointers might be useful the next time I venture out into the dating jungle. And who knows? Maybe treating a date more like a job interview will have the desired results.

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