Why Do Guys Talk About Themselves SO Much on a First Date?

How "First Date Braggers” turn a potentially fun time into a torturous, never-ending story about themselves.

Why Do Guys Talk About Themselves SO Much on a First Date?

How “First Date Braggers” turn a potentially fun time into a torturous, never-ending story about themselves.

-Faye Brennan

man on a first date

I was wondering how he was able to breathe. He had been talking non-stop for most of the night, covering every topic under the sun: his job, his family life, where he vacations, how big his apartment is, what languages he can speak, and now, as if he’s finally running out of things to say, what he was like in high school. Which was 10 years ago.

I smiled and nodded as he went on and on and on (“I was captain of the baseball team and was awarded top honors in National Honors Society…”), but really, I had tuned out about an hour ago. If there’s one thing I can’t stand on a first date, it’s a guy who talks way too much about himself. I don’t know if it’s caused by nerves or the desire to impress, but if I have to wonder about your ability to breathe, then it doesn’t matter. The date is NOT going well.

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I’d like to say that my encounter with this “First Date Bragger” was the first of its kind, but unfortunately, there have been plenty of guys before him who’ve done the same thing. The date starts off well until I realize, wow, he hasn’t asked me one question yet and his eyes are roaming around the room in disinterest when I finally have a chance to say something. Am I on a date or cramming for a pop quiz on his life story?

Maybe it’s just me, but I think conversation on a first date should come naturally. It should be a languid back and forth where one person shares something, then the other relates to that story, asks a question, or offers up something new. I’m not expecting to learn everything about you right then and there – it’s just a chance to feel one another out to see if we hit it off or have romantic potential.

And, nothing crushes romantic potential faster with me than a guy who brags about himself. I don’t want to hear about how big your apartment is, how much money you’re making, or how popular you were in high school. It makes it sound like you’re trying to prove something to me, which goes against the “natural” feel of the date. Talk to me instead about what makes you tick: the things you love to do on the weekends, what music you listen to, something funny that made you laugh yesterday… and then pay attention when I tell you about the same things.

That’s my biggest qualm about “First Date Braggers” – if you’re doing all the talking, you’re not learning anything at all about me other than the fact that I happen to be a great listener. So, when you say at the end of the night, “I had a great time,” and “would love to see you again,” I smile and nod like I’ve done for the past hour, then have to laugh the whole ride home.

I could’ve been a brick wall that you were talking to all night, and yet that was “a great time”? That’s truly funny, because it was not for me.

Tell us: Have you been on a date with a guy who talked too much about himself? How did you handle the situation?

Faye Brennan is senior editor at BettyConfidential.

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9 thoughts on “Why Do Guys Talk About Themselves SO Much on a First Date?

  1. Great subject, Faye.

    I just talked about this on my recent video blog about Five First Date Mistakes. It is classic male behavior. They do it partly because they are nervous and trying to impress, and partly by they are conditioned by society to be selling themselves, to be confident, and to convince others they are right for the job. It is easier for me to count the number of dates who have NOT talked all about themselves than the ones that have. If you want to impress your date, you need to listen to her and ask pointed questions that relate back to what she was saying.

  2. It is my biggest gripe about men and the biggest turn off. I am at the point where I am convinced they all do it. If they have someone whom they think is attractive, will listen to them, cook for them, clean up after them, and have sex with them, then that is all they need. Who are you as a person? It just really doesn't matter.

  3. I went on a horrible date earlier this week. When we first met up we were both fairly nervous and excited. I was driving us to a coffee shop and at first he kept talking about what he's been up to then he'd ask me what's been happening/ changing with my world. Half way through the car ride i started to notice how he'd just talk about his experiences that are OH-SO-HILARIOUS… And i really noticed his dramatic, boastful personality when he said, "YEAH! so that's MY story." I was like, wtf at this point thinking damn he's egotistical so i didn't say anything or look at him. He saw that i didn't give him the reaction he's used to which is "oh you're so funny, and great and sweet" so he said it again, "That's my story!" with an emphasis on the my…for fucks sake.

    At the coffee shop everyyyything we spoke about always went back to being about him. I'd say i travelled to this beautiful city and described to him the adventure i had there. He'd say, "That's cool…I went to Switzerland last year etc etc" That was basically his response every time i told him something. He'd say thats cool, thats nice. To top it off he looks to the ground and not at me when i'm speaking. When he's speaking then he'll look at me. Our conversations had no content- it was like he was talking at me and not with me. I couldn't help but to notice more and more of his boastful personality. Theres a fine line between talking about yourself because you're nervous and you want to impress the girl you're seeing and then the guy who boasts out of insecurities.

  4. This situation just happened to me a few weeks ago. I met a guy and we started texting. During our texting sessions, it seemed I was doing more of the talking. I initiated most of the conversations and would only get one to five worded responses. I thought maybe he was too nervous to call me and wasn't much of a texter, so I scheduled a date. We met up and to my surprise, he was FAR from shy.

    The "date" lasted for four hours, but by the end of it I felt I should have been paid for our four hour counseling session. He did nothing but talk about himself, his family, his friends, his hobbies, his career, his interests, his feelings, blah blah blah. Not one time did he ask me anything about me until he finally ran out of things about himself to talk about. When this did happen, he whipped out his cell phone, took selfies, posted these selfies on facebook, and then texted his friends. I said I was getting tired and we called it a night. No kiss, not compliments, no future plans.

    Since this was the first date I went on in a long time, I thought maybe I was just too shy and quiet. I thought I needed to work on my personality. However, after reflecting the truth was so simple…

    He was nothing more than a self-absorbed asshole.

    I had friends try to tell me all about how people have different "conversation styles," but I just can't buy into that jive. Here's the deal. When you go out on a date with someone, it's because you want to get to know THEM. The time they're giving you is an OPPORTUNITY, not a SPOTLIGHT. It's extremely rude to talk only about yourself. It makes your date feel unimportant, unattractive, and boring. After all, would anyone who doesn't meet these categories get this shoddy treatment? Hell to the no. You should only talk about yourself when your date ASKS a question about you. Period.

    A few days after the date, the jerk texted me again and told me he had a great time, but that I was too quiet and serious and needed to learn how to have fun. I broke my cell phone after smacking myself in the face with it from reading this trash.

    If your can't see the worth in getting to know you, make a hologram of yourself sitting at the table and then slip away to place that will make your night worthwhile. It's a huge red flag. If your date can't take you or your time seriously, then he/she clearly won't take any relationship with you seriously. Just walk away. There are billions of people on this planet so stop wasting what time you have left in this life on one.

  5. Its a relieve to read this information here. Last year I started calling this male behavior, "Talk-show-host syndrome". It happens on first dates…and all the rest of the time I was together with this type of man. It just happened again today. The first question was from him to me, about my unique career, my answer took as long as it did for the tea to cool enough to drink. That was the only question he asked me the four hours we were together. We didn't talk about me or my career again, unless I interjected some short snippet of information. He doesn't even know if I am a mother. But when this happens, I become happy that they don't know anything about me. I wouldn't want them to know me, and I know too much about them, including their ex-wives….sometimes even intimate details of their lives together. I agree with the woman who wrote before me, about wanting to charge for counseling, and he didn't even offer to buy my soup after I had driven the two hours round trip to meet him.

  6. Just had a blind date with an older man. He didn't write much in some emails we exchanged prior to meeting for lunch, which I thought was odd. Like Matt, I thought we could get to know each other a little bit, but I just got short responses in return. He wanted me to call him, but I emailed instead. I figured he was one of those men who prefers to meet in person. We emailed for an extra week because he called in sick when we were supposed to get together for dinner last weekend. I suggested we meet for lunch instead of dinner in case he had a case of nerves, figuring it would be less stressful. (I think this was his first date after his wife passed away years ago.) I dreaded today's lunch, already feeling like something was off with him. I thought there was the possibility I would not like him at all – I have been on a lot of first dates. He turned out to be a bragger and a know-it-all. The bragging was not limited to his own extensive education (way better than my 2 measly Master's degrees), extensive travels to Europe, the number of expensive cars he's owned by make, his prestigious jobs with huge expense accounts (both of us have CFO experience), his huge boat, expensive suits – but extended to his brother's and 4 kids' amazing educations and careers. He was visibly surprised I had been married to a diplomat since he and his family couldn't top that.I just sat there every time he boasted, saying nothing because I was not impressed, and was in pain from the "conversation." Very draining and boring. What's more, I kept dodging politics landmines (I could tell right away we are political opposites) and red flags. I inserted information about myself, even though he didn't respond. He tells me about his favorite car after I ask what it is. No corresponding question back to me such as, "What kind of car do you drive?" I learned to respond as though my date did ask me the same question back at him on dates with poor conversationalists. He did not respond to what I said, but at least he didn't act like I was interrupting him. He just seemed surprised that I said something. He turned the conversation back to himself immediately each time. I could have used the word "wife" as a drinking word game. I learned more about her than he learned about me. I know her religion that he converted to but he wasn't interested in mine. No lingering lunch. We were out of there in 45 minutes. He wants to go out again. I am trying to process what is making me feel so bad about the experience. I am normally not insecure about my education and career but I was after this. Maybe he reminds me of my narcissistic mum. He seemed lonely and awkward, like there could be a nice guy in there somewhere. Unlike Tricia's date, he did pay "because it was his idea." Normally I pay my own way on a first date. He says he is wealthy but drives a 15 year old car and lives in an inexpensive condo.

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