The Dos and Don'ts of First Date Conversations

Don't know what to discuss on your date? Here are the dos and don'ts of the evening.
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First dates are a nerve-wracking experience. You have committed to spend a few hours with someone that you're interested in and that you want to know more about. Between picking out a perfect outfit, wondering whether or not they like you back, and trying not to spill on yourself, coming up with things to talk about can seem impossible.

While there is no truly right or wrong conversation to have on a first date (after all, you have to go with the natural flow of the conversation), there are a few things that you should try to talk about on the first date. Read on to learn more.

Conversation Dos: 

1. Interests and Hobbies

Go beyond the basic questions of “What’s your major?” and “What do you like to do for fun?” when asking what they are interested in. Instead, try asking questions that will actually lead to a conversation. 

You can ask them a type of "would you rather" question, such as "would you rather be by a beach or mountain?" to gauge which sort of activities they like, or you can ask something more specific. 

The more you can get a date to expand on their interests, the more conversation topics will arise, and the more you can figure out if you actually like them!

2. Favorite Memory

This question can allow you to see what the person you are with values the most. Their favorite memory will likely include people they hold near and dear to their heart or will include something they enjoy doing. 

For example, my favorite memory was going to the zoo with my best friends before college. This shows that I like to do fun activities and that I am close to my friends. I value friendship and like to get out of the house. You might also find that you have similar favorite memories, or that both of you would like to have a similar experience (and maybe a potential second date?).

3. Goals

No one wants to be with someone who is unmotivated. By clearly asking what your date's goals are you can establish what type of person they are. The goals don’t have to be anything achievable, just something that they are striving for. 

Better yet, ask a follow up question of what they are actively doing to achieve those goals. Even if they have a goal to save every sea turtle, they might have already begun doing small things such as limiting waste or volunteering. That shows they are willing to go the distance. This also can lead to a glimpse of what they are most passionate about in life.

4. Things that Interest You

This date doesn’t have to be all about the person you are with. Make sure to include information about yourself into the conversation. Hopefully your date will already be asking questions or listening to what you have to say. 

This way, you will be able to determine their feelings toward what you care about and they will get to know you better as well.

5. Family and Friends

Ask them about the people they love the most. Are they close to their mother or a sibling? What is their best friend like? Again, these questions can also help you to determine what type of person they are. 

They can choose to go surface level or deep with this question, but either way, it gives you a bit of insight into their life.

6. Weaknesses

When you’re on a date, you may get so caught up on making yourself sound perfect that you forget to include elements that make you human. Ask your date what their biggest weakness is. This is a great way to determine how they view themselves and whether or not you will be compatible

For example, if they say their greatest weakness is that they are always late, but you are a very punctual person, then you may want to consider whether or not this can be something that you can accept in a potential partner.

With All the Dos, There Are Some Don’ts...

1. Don't Talk About Past Relationships

This may seem obvious, but the person you’re trying to date probably does not want to hear about the last person you dated quite yet. 

Don’t bring up a past relationship unless it’s relevant, and even then, try to stick to using the word “friend” if you’re recounting a memory, or try to leave out as much information about that person as possible.

2. Don’t Reveal Too Much

While it is important to be open and vulnerable with the person you are dating, this doesn’t mean you should be revealing your biggest secret on a first date. 

Wait until you trust the person enough to know they’re not going to share all the personal details of your life with someone else. Also, make sure this is somebody that you even want to be sharing this type of information with. 

Although you may be caught up in trying to let the other person know who you are on a deeper level, a first date is a little too early to be honest and open about everything.

3. Don’t Only Ask Questions

Question after question can make your date feel like they are being interrogated. Instead, try to share some of your own stories or answers in between. 

Allow the conversation to flow naturally. Only ask questions if there is awkward silence or if the conversation calls for one. Try to act like you are talking to a friend. 

A few more things...

Before your date begins, it can be helpful to have these conversation dos and don'ts in the back of your mind. They can help you feel prepared for the upcoming date as well as calm your nerves when it comes to what to talk about. 

The most important step, however, is to take a deep breath. Awkward silences are normal and expected. Remember that your date is likely just as nervous as you are and probably also has a list of questions and conversation topics that they want to share throughout the night. The pressure isn't all on you.

What do you normally talk about on a first date? Are there any suggestions you have to stay calm throughout the night?

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