First dates can be fun and nerve-racking at the same time. Between the shy smiles and the excitement of getting to know someone new, sometimes you aren’t quite sure what to talk about. Luckily, this list of first date conversation starters can get you off on the right foot.
To begin with, keep things light and gather some basic information. This question is a good segue to talking about the venue, your date’s hobbies and perhaps their friends and family.
For example, if you’re at a bowling alley, maybe your date will tell you they’ve never been bowling and have no idea what they’re doing. Then, you can engage in some playful banter and teach them how to bowl.
Another neutral question, this gives you some background info and serves as a basis for talking about shared lifestyles, childhood memories and what brought you to your current location.
For example, maybe you’ll find out you both grew up in Milwaukee but never ran into each other. That would be an interesting tidbit that could lead to further conversation.
Does your date love the city? Are they only here while they attend school, but can’t wait to get out? You should find this out on the first date.
After all, you want to date someone who likes living in the same area as you so you’ll get along if you end up dating. Even if they don’t like the particular location you’re currently in, maybe they love cities in general, for example.
This is a great way to ask about your date’s career. Maybe they dislike their job but work hard to pay the bills, or they barely make ends meet but have a fulfilling career that’s closely tied to their identity. Is their lifestyle compatible with yours? What about their work schedule?
It’s also a good way to see if someone will complain if given the chance to do so, or whether they’ll gloss over the less-than-stellar parts of their job as a nurse. Nobody needs all the details.
A lighthearted question that works best when you’re ordering food, a straightforward answer to this question doesn’t tell you much about your date’s personality. But, it can be a lead-in to things like whether they enjoy cooking, if they have any food allergies or they always loved the casseroles their grandma baked when they were a child.
You can find out if they’re the youngest, oldest, a twin or an only child. What was it like growing up with four brothers? Did your date enjoy being alone, or did they always wish they had someone to play with? You can also find common ground by talking about your own siblings.
Everyone loves to talk about what they wanted to be as a child. The answer might come out of left field — maybe your date wanted to be a mime or a horse wrangler — or it could reveal a yet-unmet goal that they’re still working toward.
Or, maybe they knew all their life that they wanted to be a gardener, and they finally started their own homestead. This first date conversation starter can reveal a lot about how someone’s personality changed or stayed the same over time.
Does your date watch movie marathons on the weekends or would they prefer to be hiking? Maybe they’d love to spend a day at the farmers market with you. A person’s hobbies can give you a clue about how active they are and what they value. Of course, it’s great if you have some of the same hobbies, but variety keeps things interesting.
Here’s a silly, playful query that doesn’t have a wrong answer. This can lead to an interesting story about why their friends call them Birdman, Pokey or Shades. What did they do to earn such a funny moniker?
The ball is in their court. The answers to this open-ended question could run the gamut from funny to sad, from interesting to a potential red flag. Oh, your date still lives with their ex? Yep, you definitely wouldn’t have guessed that. Or maybe they have a huge coin collection, and it turns out that you do, too.
Do they love warm, sandy shores or rugged mountains? Or is their dream vacation spending a weekend in Las Vegas, doing all the touristy things? You’ll never know until you ask.
This is a good one to get out of the way on the first date. Maybe you’re a cat person and they’re allergic. Maybe you’re both crazy about animals and each have four dogs already. Find out how compatible you are in the pet department with this first date conversation starter.
Maybe they got chased by a moose while hiking, or accidentally went into someone’s house thinking it was a store. This question is probably fun for your date to answer, and you can get an idea of what they consider to be an adventure.
Perhaps your definitions are different — you were thinking of the day you went skydiving, while they talk about the one time they left their hometown. Can you see yourself going on adventures together?
Your date might reveal that they see themselves living somewhere else, staying in the same line of work, having children or going back to school. This is another fairly open-ended question that your date could interpret in many different ways.
Keeping it lighthearted, ask your date if they have a favorite show. Maybe you’re both up-to-date on the same episode of the Simpsons, and you can plan to watch the next one together.
Maybe they’ll talk about going fishing with their dad, and indicate that they’ve been closer ever since that trip. Or, it could be something you also enjoyed doing as a child, like playing hide-and-seek.
You can almost always find common ground with this inquiry. It also helps you fill in your date’s background a little more.
Do they have any big goals they want to achieve? Maybe their idea of accomplishment is to climb every fourteener or simply bake a really nice cake. Or maybe neither of you knows what you’re doing yet and you can set a goal that you’d like to achieve together, like going on another date.
Here’s another one that can be lighthearted or revealing. Can your date lick their own nose? Are they actually a famous pop star that you didn’t recognize because of the wig? It’s a great opportunity for your date to make you laugh or impress you with their skills.
Try to find out the answer to this one early on. You might both enjoy doing watercolors or going to the same park in your free time. Maybe one of you is more active than the other. This question gives you a lot of info about your date’s personality.
If the sparks are flying, set up your next date with this inquisitive query. Who knows? Maybe they enjoyed bowling with you so much, they’re willing to be bad at it again next weekend.
Hopefully these first date conversation starters gave you some ideas to prepare for your get-together. If there’s a moment of awkward silence, you can ask a question to get things moving again.
Or, you can always pause and enjoy that moment of stillness, communicating without words for the first time. Years from now, you and your partner might remember it fondly.