(WGHP) — Dating can be tough.

Things have changed over the year. People who have been out of the dating game for a while, especially middle-aged or older adults, might be a little rusty now. But there are ways to navigate through the awkwardness and get you that second date!

One thing that hasn’t changed is why you’re dating. Don’t date because you’re afraid of being alone. Be okay being by yourself before you put yourself out there and you’ll have a much better time.

So when you decide that you’re going to put yourself out there, remember five things to avoid on a first date.

Old relationships or marriages

It can be really easy to slip into talking about old relationships if they took up a big part of your life. On a first date, you want to try and avoid it, just so things don’t get awkward.

If you do mention an ex or a former spouse, try to frame it in a positive way. Sharing stories about your past is usually not off-limits on a date, but spending twenty minutes dumping on your ex might make your date search for the exits.

Family issues

It’s easy to get comfortable chatting about your kids or siblings or parents, but much like previous relationships, it’s good to keep this positive and light.

No one you just met wants to hear about your issue with this relative or that. A first date is a little too casual for anything so serious. Someone might decide your family baggage is a little too much to deal with on a first date.

People your date doesn’t know

This ties into the first two points really well, but is its own thing. Spending a lot of time talking about people they’ve never heard of can be a little weird for someone you don’t know that well. Focus more on finding common ground and shared experiences.

Discuss mutual friends if you have them, or keep your stories about friends vague and light. You don’t need to give someone your best friend’s life story while you’re on a first date. Seems more like third-date conversation.

It’s just polite to avoid making your date feel lost with lots of stories and jokes about people they’ve never met!

Politics and religion

While it’s important to know where you stand with one another if you decide to pursue a full-blown relationship, it’s not a good idea to get into polarizing topics right out of the gate. It can make people feel a little weird.

For casual dating, getting into heated political debates probably won’t endear you to anyone you meet. It’s best reserved for when things progress.

Topics like food, movies and music are slightly less likely to garner really heated reactions from your date.

But maybe only slightly.

Money

Definitely advice you got from your mom growing up, and it’s still true today. Like religion and politics, money might be just a little too personal for someone who’s basically a stranger.

Complaining about your own money woes can be a turnoff, especially if you start talking about how much the date is costing.

Bragging about your money can be just as bad. Really, talking about how much money you do or don’t have at all can be off-putting.

Regardless of you or your date’s gender, don’t expect the other person to pay for the date. Go into it being ready to pay for your own portion, but be gracious if someone offers to pay for your meal or coffee.

You’ll find someone who matches your crazy eventually.

All of those things together seem like a minefield of “don’t do this, don’t do that” but relax. Context matters. Apply these guidelines loosely to your social interactions. If you know the person well prior to your date, you’ll know better what topics to avoid and what topics to dive into.

If the person is a stranger, these topics are a good roadmap until you get more comfortable in their presence.