The get-to-know-you process during a first date is riddled with awkward conversation lulls and nervous laughter. That’s natural. You know what’s not? Asking inappropriate questions or saying things that aren’t first date-approved. What we mean is there are topics of conversation better left untouched when you’re getting to know someone.

With Valentine’s day right around the corner, what better time than the present to prepare for your date? (Need some ideas? Here are 25 fresh Valentine’s Day date options.) Here, Adam LoDolce, dating coach and the founder of, talks about five topics to stray from on date number 1 (and probably two and three as well.) Feel like all your clever talking points just got ruled out? Dont stress. Soon to come to 50 First Date Conversation Starters.

1. “My ex used to…”

If you’ve recently gotten out of a longtime relationship, you’ll probably find yourself starting conversations (no matter who you’re talking to) with “Christie and I used to always…” or “I remember when Tiffany…”. That has to stop—immediately. For starters, a potential love interest doesn’t want your former love interest brought up in conversations right off the bat. This is about the two of you. And if you can’t stop talking about your ex, it’s obvious the feelings are still there.

“Talking about your ex is an immediate sign that you’re emotionally unavailable, LoDolce says. “If you’re still hung up on her, then you probably shouldn’t be dating anyway,” he adds.

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2. “The type of relationship I want is…”

If you follow up a conversation about your love of caramel corn or sneaker obsession with, “The type of relationship I really want is…”, you’ve gotta pump the breaks. She’s not mentally prepared to delve into what she wants in a man and when she’d like to get married when you haven’t even decided on an appetizer. You can’t rush into deep conversations without having a certain level of familiarity, comfort, and—this is a big one—reciprocal interest in talking about it in the first place.

“It’s great to talk about relationships as you start to get to know one another—but the first date is definitely not the place,” LoDolce says. “It’s too early.” You’ll probably scare her off.

3. “This waiter sucks…”

Even if your waiter took 35 minutes to get you water, don’t criticize the service or have a short-fuse with restaurant personnel. It’s a major turn-off for a woman—even if you think your anger or frustration is justified.

“Your date is judging you on how you treat the staff,” LoDolce says. “Be polite… and in general, don’t hate on the wait staff.” You don’t want your first (and lasting impression) to be impatience or rudeness. Having patience and compassion toward strangers goes a long way in indicating your values.

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4. “I would never date a Republican/Democrat”

You know bringing politics up at the dinner table during the holidays is a sure-fire way to start an explosive argument, so don’t do it at a restaurant… in public… with a girl you just met five minutes ago. “If political affiliation is important to you, ask her about her politics before making any strong statements,” LoDolce recommends. (Read: Do NOT lay into your views on [insert hot debate topic here].)

Unless political affiliation is your top deal-breaker in a relationship, stay away from hot-button topics.

5. “I’d love to be with someone like you…”

She’s got great hair, a gorgeous smile; she’s intelligent and seems to like your jokes; she went to the same University as you and has the same penchant for college basketball. Done. You’ve found your soul mate and you’re having the realization at Olive Garden. Then all of a sudden you find yourselfing proclaiming: “I’d love to be with someone like you.”

She might laugh and deflect the comment, changing the topic of conversation, or she’ll stare at you in disbelief and disengage from the rest of your night. “You don’t know her yet, so stop getting ahead of yourself,” LoDolce stresses.

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