First dates are the room temperature coffee of the dating world. But knowing what to say on a first date can make them a whole lot easier.
Going on afirst date is like walking into the unknown. You want it to be light and fun, but don’t want to fall into the friend zone. You also want it to be flirtatious, but not uncomfortable. So, what to say on a first date to find that happy medium?
Do you talk about politics and religion? What about your family or your exes?
What NOT to say on a first date?
Before we get into what to say on a first date, we should mention something you probably should avoid… your ex. It is one thing to mention you recently got out of a relationship or a funny story about your ex, but when it gets to the point that you rant about them, that’s a major red flag.
Not only would this make your date think you’re still hung up on your ex, but also that you’re quite judgmental. So if you can’t keep the ex talk to a minimum, just avoid it all together.
Go in with a plan
I’m not saying you should go into a first date with a script at the ready, but a few talking points on standby is always good. Especially on a date that could potentially get awkward.
Not all of these will work for everyone. There is no secret formula for the perfect first date conversation. There are some topics and things you can say to make the awkward moments less awkward.
So pick and choose what catches your fancy, and take it from there.
#1 Remember your manners. This may be common sense for many people, but forgetting to say the magic words *please and thank you* can really turn someone off. Whether you say thank you to your date for holding the door or your waiter or bartender, politeness goes a long way.
It is nice to see your date being respectful to service workers, even by simply saying thank you for bringing your food. When someone is rude to a waiter, it shows their true colors and can be a major red flag. So mind your manners, even when you’re not on a date. [Read: How to make a good impression and leave them wanting more of you]
#2 Compliment their passion. On a first date, chatting about your jobs is pretty normal. And although you don’t want that to overtake the conversation, throw in a compliment or two. Your date will appreciate that you are actually listening to them talk about what could be a job that makes no sense to you.
Saying something like, “Wow, it must take a lot of dedication to be in that position,” or “I can tell you’re passionate about it because your face just lights up when you talk about it.” These comments show that you’re in tune with them and appreciate what they do. [Read: Decoding compliments and understanding what they actually mean]
#3 Share a funny story. Having a go-to anecdote is perfect for a first date. Whether you use it to fill an awkward silence or throw it into the conversation naturally, laughing always helps a date go better. And connecting over a shared sense of humor is something we all want.
Whether it is an embarrassing moment that shows you can laugh at yourself or an awful first date you’ve had before, this could help break the ice.
#4 Bring up your deal breakers. This is totally personal preference and depends whether you feel comfortable or not. In my opinion, when it comes to knowing what to say on a first date, throwing your deal breakers out there from the start is useful, especially if you want a serious relationship. If you just want to have fun and aren’t too serious, you can skip these.
Some would say to avoid topics like politics and religion, but if you know you could never date a Republican or someone that didn’t believe in God, bring it up. Why avoid what will come out eventually? All that will do is make it more difficult to end things later on. [Read: 13 warnings signs to keep an eye out for in the first few dates]
#5 Say something nice about your family. Obviously if you have a strained family life, this may be something you want to wait on until later. But family values are important to a lot of people. Simply talking about how you’re close with your parents or talk to your siblings daily can show your date that family is important to you.
And the same goes for their family. If they bring up their parents, siblings, cousins, or what have you, let them know that means something to you. Make sure they know that family is also a priority for you.
#6 Ask about their past. You can go serious or deep with this question. You can even make it more fun. Talk about having braces as a teen, where they shopped during their awkward stage, and even bring up nostalgic topics like cartoons and 90s candy. This way you bond over something lighthearted. [Read: 40 first date questions that’ll work like a charm, all the time]
#7 Talk about pop culture. Now whether this is the Kardashian’s latest drama or the newest Netflix release, this shows what you have in common. It is one thing if you both love traveling or hiking, but 9 times out of 10 you’re at home. So knowing you share some downtime hobbies is always nice.
Even chatting about your favorite shows or celebrity crush are fun topics that keep the pressure off.
#8 Bring up future date ideas. Obviously this is only something you want to say on a first date if you want a second date, but if you do, bring up some ideas. Mention a restaurant you’ve been dying to try. If they love a specific actor, offer to take them to their next movie.
#9 Chat about your childhood dream job. Since a lot of work talk can turn into a sort of interview, talking about your dream once upon a time can be refreshing. It can also lead into some discussion of the future. Do they still have plans to make this a job?
#10 End the date with the truth. What do I mean by this? Well, usually by the end of a date, you know if you want to go out with this person again or not. S0, make it clear you will see each other again. You don’t have to pin down plans there and then, but say something like, “I’ll call you about next week.”
The same goes if you don’t want to see them again. You don’t have to blatantly reject them. But avoid saying I’ll call you or I can’t wait to do this again. There is no need to lie. Just leave it at “it was great to meet you” and part ways.