First dates are fun and exciting, but they often come with nerves and a little discomfort. In order to help you set the vibes for the evening and get the conversation flowing, we’ve pulled together a full list of things to talk about on a first date. This list covers a whole spectrum of subjects, so read through the list and pick a few things you’d like to learn more about. Talk about things that are important to you, while also learning what is important to the other person. Try to relax and enjoy yourself, that’s the most important part.
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Things to Talk About On a First Date
A first date is usually your real first impression of each other, so it’s important to keep the conversation interesting and get a general idea of who the other person is during your time together. While most of the conversation can be lighthearted and fun, it is important to learn some of the basic information and background about a person before you get too invested in a relationship.
Let’s start with a few of the important first-date questions that will help build a strong base. These should be touched on early, to avoid any bigger conflicts down the road.
Find Out the Basics
Dating apps and dating sites help more today with narrowing searches down to certain age ranges or locations. You can even sort by what kind of relationship people are looking for. This can help make the small talk on a first date flow into something a little more meaningful. But if you met through friends or a different connection, get some of that stuff out of the way in the beginning.
Most of the easy stuff will be organically shared while you’re making a plan for your date. What part of town do you live in? Do you have a way to get there? It’s typically pretty easy to get an idea of age range just by seeing the person. Just make sure that you have the basic information you want before you sit down.
1. Ask how they are feeling.
First dates can be a bit awkward, especially for someone who hasn’t done it in a while. Relationship experts say that it can be really beneficial to share how you’re honestly feeling with your date and ask them to do the same. It creates an open dialogue and can help make everyone more comfortable.
You don’t have to share all your deepest, darkest worries, but you can be honest about how you feel going on a date. If you’re struggling and a little anxious, sharing that can help you loosen up almost instantly.
2. Learn about their family and friends.
You can learn a lot about a person by asking about their family and close friends. Ask your date about their relationship with their parents and siblings. Find out if they are someone who has a large group of friends or a small, tight-knit group of close friends. Do they still keep in touch with their childhood friends?
The more conversation you have about family and friends, the more insight you’ll receive into how this person treats and views their relationships. Find out if they are an introvert that likes time alone to recharge or an extrovert who charges their battery by spending time with friends and loved ones.
3. Address any deal breakers.
Some people have some things that are a huge deal when considering starting a relationship. There might be religious beliefs that they want to share with a partner. There may be some core values that they need to align with. Maybe someone has a preference on what they are looking for that they want to make sure matches their partner’s.
First dates should be an introduction to make sure you’re both interested in one another and that you want to spend more time together in the future. If there are things that you feel that you personally need to ask about, get it out there.
Casual First Date Conversation Starters and Questions
Now, let’s move up to the fun stuff and review some date topics to help keep the conversation flowing. These topics are fun to chat about and will help you get to know each other. Most of these questions will spark some additional conversation, so you don’t need to bring the whole list. Just review it before your date and have a few things in your back pocket if you need a little boost.
4. Chat about favorite TV shows and movies.
Everyone has a classic sitcom that they are re-watching on Netflix or one of the other streaming services. Compare notes. Have you rewatched the entire series of Friends or Seinfeld? Share your favorite shows that you’ve seen and what you loved about them. See if you’re watching the same things right now where you could discuss. You could debate the endings of popular shows like Game of Thrones or Schitt’s Creek and brainstorm the ideal alternate endings.
Movies are similar. Share with each other your top three favorite movies of all time. Did you have any favorite animated movies as a kid? Are there special memories attached to those movies? You might find out that you both love the same 1980s cult classic that no one else has seen or maybe you both have a strange distaste for Nicolas Cage and anything that he’s in.
5. Share your top three bucket list items.
Bucket lists are a collection of things you want to accomplish before you “kick the bucket.” It’s not just before death, but some people come up with lists to complete before a certain birthday or life moment. Chat with each other about your bucket list items. Have you always dreamed of having a picnic under the Eiffel Tower? Do you want to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
You can have so much fun comparing your lists. It can be a great way to find out someone’s travel style. Do they prefer the beach or the mountains? Do they dream about luxury vacations or camping in the backcountry? You’ll also find out what experiences they value the most—history, art, food, culture, or scenery (just to name a few).
6. Discuss any pet peeves.
Pet peeves can be so silly and small, but it’s a sneaky way to give someone a heads up about the things that bother you. You can share some funny stories from your life where someone has just pushed your buttons. Someone might have a story about a coworker that did something that drove them crazy that they can share. Pet peeves are unique to each person, so ask your date what one of theirs is? Hopefully, you don’t have any of the qualities that irk them! Either way, it’s good to know early.
7. Describe your perfect day.
This is a fun conversation topic for any conversation, but it’s a great way to find out more about your date’s daily routines and share yours. Are you a morning person or a night owl? What would your ideal meals or cuisines be for your food on a perfect day? What activities would you want to do?
This can be valuable information for planning future dates as well. You’ll know what activities would be part of an ideal day and you can do those things on a date. It’s also a fun way to find out what things a person values the most.
8. Talk about your hobbies.
Sharing hobbies is a great way to open up the conversation and find some additional topics to discuss. This can be anything from an instrument you want to play to a sport you follow. Not only might you find things that you have in common, but by listening to someone else discuss their passions, you might find something you want to try out yourself.
Another important thing you’ll learn is how much free time your date has and how they choose to spend it. Some people are much more laidback and don’t plan out their weekends and evenings. Other people have a full calendar of activities and plans including their hobbies, which leaves very little downtime. You want to find someone that has a similar lifestyle as you to make your relationship work.
9. Tell each other stories from childhood.
We mentioned the importance of having a conversation about family and friends, but you can also ask more about where your date grew up. Find out what memories stick out for them growing up. You can share your own memories of your favorite birthday parties and things you remember about being in school as a young child.
It’s so endearing to hear funny stories about things you did as a child, but it can also help people learn more about your family and your hometown. Where you grew up is a big part of who you are. Different regions can have impacts on your view of the world. Did you move around a lot or live in the same small town for your entire life? There’s no wrong answer, it just gives a little bit deeper of a view into who you are.
10. Describe your dream jobs.
Career chat can be a little boring, especially if you are trying to relax after a long day at the office, but you can still chat a little about your dreams and ambitions. What did you want to be when you were growing up? How did that change as you moved from elementary school to junior high to high school and even to college?
If you are working your dream job, what led you there? Ask your date those questions and find out a little more about their aspirations and what phase of their career they are in or if they even care about what job they are doing as long as it pays the bills and helps them enjoy other important things in life.
11. Discuss your favorite books and podcasts.
Similar to a discussion about movies and tv shows, chatting about books (and podcasts) can tell you a lot about a person and if you have much in common. If neither of you read much now, ask what their favorite books were growing up. Ask if they listen to any podcasts. Maybe they are news or politics junkies or maybe you’ll find out that they are into True Crime.
If you’re both card-carrying fans of libraries, see if you’ve read anything in common in the last few years. Find out what type of books they like and recommend some that you think they might like. It’s another way to connect and celebrate a love for reading.
12. Come up with a shared playlist of favorite music.
Music is a very personal thing. It brings forward memories of moments in your life, places, or people. Spend some time diving into your musical tastes. Talk about your first concert or your favorite concert. What song do you sing karaoke to or dance to whenever it comes on? What would your desert island albums be if you could pick just three?
Sharing music can be a very intimate thing as well. If you have similar tastes, set up a shared playlist that you can both add to in the future. This is a fun way to connect even when you aren’t in the same place and discover new music as well. Try Spotify for an easy app to do this.
13. Does your best friend have any nicknames for you?
A unique but great conversation topic is nicknames. Ask your date if they have any nicknames from their friends or even their families. Sometimes you’ll uncover some gems about your date that would not have come out for months if you didn’t ask.
There may also be some things that you don’t want to share because they are embarrassing, so you decide what you’re comfortable with. You can always give them a teaser and tell them it will take a few more dates before you share those crazy college stories.
14. What were you like in high school?
High school is referred to as the glory days by many people, but why? A fun way to unpack a little history about your date is to take a trip down memory lane. Did they win any awards in their yearbook? Were they the class clown or the most likely to be successful or the quietest?
It’s important to remember that many people change a lot after high school, so you don’t want to make any quick judgments. Use this time to talk about that. What do you wish you could tell your high school self? Are there any classes you wish you would’ve taken in high school or extracurricular activities you wish you would have signed up for? Share some of your favorite moments from those formative years.
You can also learn more about what your date did after high school. Did they go to any college? What did they study? Anything they would change about those choices? It’s fascinating how much you figure out as you grow up and get further away from those decisions and years. Use that as a conversation starter on your date to really learn more about each other.
15. Tell each other about your best vacation.
Everyone has a favorite place that they have been to. Maybe it changes each year when you visit a new place, but that’s worth talking about too. Share your favorite vacations in the past and maybe talk about the places you’d like to visit next.
Ask questions about those experiences. What made it so special? What do you love so much about that specific place? It might be somewhere that you want to move someday or own a cabin or vacation home. One really fun way to talk about a special place is to describe each of the five senses. What did it smell like? What sounds could you hear? What were you eating? What was the view like? Describing a place like that can really help someone feel like they are there with you and it’s a great experience to share with someone you’re getting to know.
16. Share an activity worth talking about!
To help avoid any awkward silence and lulls in the conversation, plan your first date around an activity. By doing something with each other, you’ll have a more natural flow in conversation. There are plenty of incredible date night ideas, but consider something that doesn’t take more than an hour so you have the chance to bail if it isn’t going well or you aren’t connecting with each other.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
When you’re talking to someone new, it’s usually a little awkward and uncomfortable, but that goes away once the conversation starts flowing. There are a few red flags to watch for and trust your gut and your senses. If something feels off or negative, you can leave the date early and move on.
Feels Like a Job Interview
A first date is about showing interest in the other person. If they share information about their career, you can definitely chat more about it, but you don’t want the date to feel like an interview. It shouldn’t be important for them to know every step you’ve taken in your career.
If you want to learn more and their career seems important to them, you can ask questions about how they got into their line of work or if they have a mentor or someone they look up to in their field.
Constantly Hits on Uncomfortable Topics
First-date conversations cover a ton of topics. Old school advice would tell you to avoid politics and religion, but that’s not as relevant today. So much of it is intertwined with daily life and current events. That said, it shouldn’t consume an entire conversation.
If your date is argumentative or pushy about their beliefs and isn’t breaking from the intense topics to switch to something a little nicer, it might make you uncomfortable and cause some hesitation in wanting a second date. Make sure there are a decent variety of topics you cover during your time together so you can really get to know someone instead of just who they voted for in the last election.
Makes Inappropriate Comments
Is the person you’re on a date with bragging about the number of people they’ve dated in the last year? Is there a comment they’ve made that makes you uncomfortable? You don’t have to stay just to be polite. Trust your gut and if someone says something inappropriate, you can find your way out of the situation.
Spends the Entire Time on Their Phone
If your date spends more time staring at their phone than chatting with you, that’s a big red flag. We all spend plenty of time on our phones, but on a first date (or any date really), couples should be utilizing that time chatting with others and not getting distracted by notifications. You never know if they are swiping on Tinder or texting their friends.
Make sure you’re following this rule as well. Keep your phone out of sight and give your attention to the date. Turn off watch notifications if you think it will tempt you to grab your phone.
Frequently Asked Questions
When thinking of things to talk about on a first date, you can keep it pretty light. In addition to the basics, ask your date about their hobbies, favorite vacations, and what they have read or watched lately. You could even ask about relationship dealbreakers.
Dates are only awkward when the conversation isn’t flowing. Come prepared with a list of things to talk about on the first date so you have some ideas when there’s a pause in the flow. For a great first date, you should also try an activity worth talking about!