1. Plan Ahead
Now don't go and write cue cards for all the awkward silences, but you can have some topic ides of things you'd like to talk about stashed away in your brain. Go prepared to avoid all awkward silences and keep conversation flowing smoothly.
2. Start with Action
Rather than beginning with the traditional "dinner and a movie" date where you are forced right into conversational times, start with something like the local fair or circus, or the rodeo. This will allow you to get to know each other a little better before you have to start talking a lot.
3. If All else Fails, Tell a Joke
Nothing like a little laughter to loosen the tense mood of an awkward date. Have a few in reserve for this situation, and make sure you're not going to offend your date.
4. Practice Tactfulness
There is a right way and a wrong way to say everything. For instance, if your guy's breath is beyond stinky, rather than blurting out, "Gosh! When's the last time you brushed your teeth?" say "I bet that burger made my breath stink. I'm getting myself a mint, would you like one?" By putting yourself on the same level as your date, and making it less embarrassing for them, you will avoid major awkwardness!
5. Be on Time
Nothing aggravates a guy more than to have to wait an extra hour for his date to get ready. It's permitted for a girl to be a few minutes late, as beauty can't be rushed, however, try to avoid pushing this unwritten rule too far. Keep your eye on the clock, and try to be early!
6. Ask Lots of Questions
Dates are a chance to get to know that special someone, so don't be afraid to ask questions about their life, what they want for their future, etc. Not only will you be opening doors for more conversation, you also learn great information to help you decide whether you wish to pursue this person further or not.
7. Have a Back-up Plan
Should everything go sour, or you find this date is a creep, have a plan to get out. Maybe have a friend waiting on standby and text "help!" (once you've excused yourself to the bathroom, of course!) and have someone "stop by" to take you someplace else. It doesn't hurt to be prepared for the worst, right?
Top Photo Credit: phlezk