First Date Conversation Starters
So you’ve finally convinced that person you’ve had your eye on to go out with you—but what do you do when you’re sitting together over dinner or a drink? What’s a good conversation topic to break the ice? What topics should you avoid?
Ralph from Yonkers, New York writes:
“I’m going out with this amazing girl next week. She’s in my class and I’d been working up the courage to ask her out for a year. I’m excited to go out with her but it’s occurred to me that I have no idea what to talk about. How do I break the ice without making myself look stupid? What do you talk about with someone you barely know, but want to know? I don’t want to stay single forever. I want her to be my girlfriend!”
Hi Ralph. Congratulations on your date! And congratulate yourself on having the intelligence to think about this in advance. At least that reduces the odds of you doing something foolish, right? Seems like a pretty good start to me.
Another good start is to just go with the obvious. If you’re sitting down to lunch, dinner or even just a drink, you can certainly talk about the menu. You won’t want to stick with this topic for long, but it’s still a way to start talking about preferences. Another idea is to add to the agenda—consider going out to see a movie. Dinner and a movie may be cliché, but it’s cliché for a good reason. If you start with the movie, you get to skip the awkward conversation part and get used to each others’ physical presence a bit; and after the film you may be a little more acclimatized for a chat. Plus, you’ll have something to talk about—the film you just saw! Sharing perceptions on a film can tell you a lot about each other and also break the ice in a comfortable way. You can find out personal things without asking personal questions.
Asking about friends, family and work are usually fine ideas—though if you ask about family, you may want to ask about siblings and not parents (in case the parents had a poor relationship with each other—that’s the last memory you’d want to trigger on a first date). If she volunteers information on anyone in her life, you can let her talk about those people. This is a good way to ascertain not only what qualities she values in others, but also how she conducts her relationships, and what kind of qualities she may prize in herself. Not only will she be glad you’ve shown an interest in her life, but you’ll learn a lot about her.
Finally, whatever you do, don’t ask about the past unless it comes up. Some people bond over their pasts—it’s quite common. But other people want a fresh start, and the last thing they want to bring along is their baggage. Unless the person you’re with starts talking about the past, it’s usually a bad idea to ask. The past isn’t really your business, and asking about it can make you look judgmental and invasive. Hopefully these ideas for what to talk about and avoid will get you off to a great start with your first date conversation!