Understanding what to talk about on a first date is tricky because you want to keep it light, but you don’t want to seem shallow or disinterested.
First dates will always be nerve-racking. A first date is an unknown. You don’t know if you’ll get along or click or have anything to talk about. Not to make you more nervous, but those are all valid worries. But knowing what to talk about on a first date can help.
Now, you don’t want to go into a first date with note cards of conversation topics because well, that’s insane. But, having an idea of what you might talk about if the conversation comes to a lull is always helpful. [Read: How to behave on a first date and make a really good impression]
The thing is, there isn’t a list of perfect topics for a first date. What you talk about depends on a lot like if you’re dating casually, wanting to get into a relationship, if this is your first time meeting, or your first date after knowing each other.
All these things come into play when figuring out what to talk about on a first date. Choosing first date conversation topics isn’t about making a list, but about reading the room.
[Read: 20 fun questions to ask on a first date for the best conversation]
That can be a scary idea for those of us with social anxiety. Social cues are not everyone’s thing, but when you’re on a first date, picking up on the vibes your date is giving off is important to where the conversation goes and how it gets there.
What does it take to impress someone on a first date
Impressing someone on the very first date can be a difficult task. But if you know what to talk about on a first date, you’ll see that impressing a love interest within minutes can be very easy.
For most men and women, the hardest part of a date is knowing what to talk about on a first date, especially during those first few minutes, when it’s all jitters and one-foot hops. And the worst part, we’re all familiar with the fact that the first few minutes is all that it takes for your date to make an opinion about you!
Life can be easy if you know how to keep things easy. You don’t need to be a charmer to make your date like you, if you know how to be considerate, nice and sweet.
[Read: 18 things you HAVE to avoid doing on a first date]
What not to talk about on a first date
I don’t particularly like to speak in definites because everyone is different. For instance, many people may tell you to avoid talking about exes on a first date while others want you to put it all out there.
This is entirely up to you and what you feel comfortable with. It also depends on if you’re dating just to have fun or if you are trying to make a deeper connection.
[Read: How to get over dating anxiety and get out there!]
With that being said, avoid sharing your deepest insecurities or saddest stories on the first date. Pretty much anything The Bachelor franchise encourages people to talk about on their first dates should be pushed to at least the fifth date as a general rule of thumb. Unless you want to get engaged after six weeks, which if so, you do you.
Apart from that, I don’t really have any first date conversation topics that are off limits. If the conversation goes there, it goes there. Limiting the things you’re willing to talk about may prevent you from being yourself.At the same time, if there are topics you don’t feel comfortable discussing that early on, like family or your past dating history, then you don’t need to go there.There are no topics I firmly think should be a no-go for first date conversations. It is really up to you, your comfort level, and your date.
[Read: 14 signs you’re ruining your first date without even realizing it!]
What to talk about on a first date: AT FIRST SIGHT
Be warm and friendly. If you’re meeting this person for a first date, or even if you’ve met them previously, smile warmly. It can do you a lot of good. A warm smile makes everything comfortable and relaxing. Let your date know you’re happy to be spending time with them.
What to talk about on a first date: THOSE FIRST FEW MINUTES
If you’ve always wondered what you need to talk about in those very first few minutes *which is also the most awkward part of the entire date conversation* here are a few things that can help you. And if you know how to work your way around these simple questions, you could probably have enough to keep the conversation going, for the entire date. And wouldn’t that be impressive?
#1 Are you glad to meet them? Excited even? The first thing you need to talk about as soon as both of you sit down is this one single line, that makes everything feel more relaxed. Talk about how happy you are to meet your date, or how nice it is to finally meet in person. It’s just a sentence, yes, but one that warms both of you up for the good things to come. [Read: How long should an ideal first date last? The guide to timing it right]
#2 I love that! So you think your date looks great? Compliment them for the effort they’ve made especially for you. Saying “you look great!” is a dull compliment. Go one step further.
Is it her hair? Is it his cologne? Or is it something else that you can comfortably mention on a first date without embarrassing your date? Complimenting your date tells them that the effort they’ve taken for you has been noticed and appreciated. [Read: 25 worst things you can ever say or do on a first date]
#3 Did anything interesting happen on the way? Did you have a long day at work, or were you unexpectedly delayed? Or did you notice anything fascinating on the way to the date? Talk about anything interesting that happened to you on the way.
That’s a few good minutes that’ll keep the conversation light and easy, and keep the conversation going. And your date too might add in a few details about anything interesting they saw on the way to your date.
#4 How was your day? Show your interest in their life within the first few minutes of the date by speaking about their day. Not only will that keep the conversation light and friendly, it can open up details for a lot more things to ask as the date progresses.
#5 Look around you. You’d probably have a lot of things to talk about by now, but in case you still haven’t been able to pick any more conversation topics, look around you and talk about something interesting. If you’re at a restaurant, you could talk about why you like the place, an incident that occurred there, about the ambience, or just about anything else.
Likewise, talk about something that’s taken your fancy wherever you are, even if you aren’t at a restaurant. But don’t ever talk about other people who are around. That would only sound nosy and gossipy. [Read: Texting before a first date – The complete guide to timing it right]
#6 Funny anecdotes. Can you recollect anything interesting or funny? Remember, as much as knowing what to talk about on a first date is about letting your date feel comfortable, it’s also about blowing your own trumpet. Discreetly, of course.
You do have to impress your date, right? So recollect a few funny incidents that you could narrate to them, and maybe they too may have a few stories to add. But never let that drawl on and on past the appetizer, the main course, and the dessert. No fascinating anecdote should be longer than a minute or two, unless of course, your date’s eyes have lit up like the floodlights at a football game. In which case, a minute longer should be adequete unless you want to see their eyes glaze over!
What to talk about on a first date – DURING THE DATE
Other than avoiding the topic of your biggest psychological trauma, there are endless topics to talk about on a first date. As I said, it all depends on what type of first date this is.
If you’ve been friends for a while and are making the switch to more than friends, you have a lot of history to build on. If you’ve been set up by someone, you also have a mutual friend guideline to follow. [Read: The first date with a friend – How to go from friends to a lot more]
But if you’re meeting through a dating app and have talked for a couple of weeks already, the conversation may be easier to navigate. You have a frame of reference for your date’s sense of humor and interests.
If you just decided to meet up after matching, starting a conversation and keeping it going might be a little more difficult. Going into a first date like this can be filled with unknowns.
If you barely know this person, it can be hard to come up with an engaging conversation right off the bat. You don’t want to necessarily have a go-to conversation starter because everyone you date is unique. Nevertheless, having some idea of what you’d like to know about them and they you, will help.
Instead of working off a list of topics that seem safe for a first date, think about what you want to get out of the date. [Read: 20 ways to perfect your first date conversation]Do you want to know more about their traveling experiences? Do you want to know about your passion for working with animals? Also, consider what makes you feel comfortable.
You may have intense political opinions. Even if something like that is a dealbreaker for you, if talking about it makes you anxious or uncomfortable, especially with strangers, that may not be a great starting point.
For those of you who struggle to come up with what to talk about on a first date, I can offer some neutral ideas to get you started. Just be sure to make it your own. You want to focus on getting to know this person and connecting with them, not making sure you tick off every topic on this list. [Read: 15 first date rules everyone should follow for a really memorable night]
#1 Ask about their job. Don’t simply ask what they do for work, but if they enjoy it. Ask how they got into that line of work. This conversation can lead to discussions about both of your job histories or education. It can also lead to a conversation about your dream job and ambitions.
Work may not be the most romantic topic, but it is good to hear about someone’s passions and what they spend the majority of their time doing.
#2 Explore their questions. Hopefully, you’re not the only one trying to keep the conversation going, so interact with your date’s questions too. Don’t just answer them and move on to something you want to talk about.
Having a smooth conversation on a first date isn’t about asking questions back and forth, but listening and responding to each other so you can actually connect. [Read: First date red flags that’ll reveal a lot more than what your date says]
#3 Talk about your hobbies. We can all debate the best streaming service and favorite movies, but go a bit deeper. Talk about what you do in your free time. Do you do DIYs around the house or volunteer with animals? Share the things that keep you going.Specifics might seem personal, but this is what makes a first date interesting and memorable. If you are general and say you spend a lot of time with your family, that goes under the radar. Instead, share that you go fishing with your dad every weekend or have been helping your mom re-do her patio.
#4 Family. This can be the perfect thing to talk about or can be a no-go zone for some. Start a conversation about family by simply asking if they’re close to their parents and go from there. You can talk about siblings, how often they visit their family, any traditions, etc.
Most of us can talk about our families for a long time. There is a lot of overlap. Maybe you’re both children of divorce or both middle children. Having similar childhoods or just some things in common offers a lot of comfort when on a first date. [Read: How to tell if a first date is going well – 15 signs you should be able to see]
#5 Other dates. Many people would say to never talk about an ex on a first date. Now, I wouldn’t get into the nitty gritty of your last breakup, but sharing first date horror stories is a fun way to calm the nerves.Knowing you’ve both been dealing with the ups and downs of the dating world can bond you. On my first date with my boyfriend, we shared our worst first date stories which included being called the wrong name after a kiss and being left at the restaurant. It definitely helped us connect.
#6 Deal breakers. If you are dating to get out there and meet people, you don’t need to bring up your must-haves or must-nots on the first date. But, if you are looking to settle down eventually, avoid wasting your time.For me, these non-negotiable include: politics, smoking, and the fact that I don’t drink. I’ve had issues with these things in the past. Sorting them out early on is important to me. If you know you want a relationship with someone who shares your religious beliefs or passion for traveling, bringing that up early. [Read: The dating checklist: What it is and why you should make one]
#7 Break the ice. If you’re trying and things still feel off, it could just be a lack of chemistry. But if you’re nervous and things feel awkward, call it out. You don’t need to beat around the bush. If there is an award silence say, “well, that was awkward,” and move on. Laughing about it will ease both of your nerves.
With these first date conversation tips, go into your next first date feeling a bit more calm and sure of yourself.
[Read: First date nerves? How to be yourself when your heart’s pounding]
First dates are never easy, but knowing what to talk about on a first date can help you go into it feeling less worried. Remember these tips, and instead of feeling stressed, start enjoying your dates instead!
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