Few things can be more nerve-wracking than a first date. From dressing right to choosing the right venue, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when you’re trying to make a good impression. One of the hardest things to tackle is getting the conversation started once you’ve got the opportunity to get to know each other. Choose the right path and you can practically be guaranteed a second date. Drop the ball and you’re likely ending your relationship with a handshake and an awkward farewell. Here are some tips for starting a conversation naturally, without sounding forced or creepy.
There are some tried and true questions that are pretty safe to start with, but they’re questions that most people see coming. The key to deploying them successfully is to simply use them as building blocks to ask more interesting questions. For example, asking someone where they come from is a pretty safe starter, but what do you do with the information once they answer? Take a genuine interest. Ask them what it was like to grow up there as a kid. What is something that a visitor should not miss if they visit their home town?
Another standard question is “what do you do for work?” You can follow this up by asking if this particular line of work is your date’s dream job. If it isn’t, what is? What kind of hours do they normally put in? (not only does this info keep the conversation going, it can also be used in planning future dates!) If they have a particularly stressful job, what do they like to do to unwind and relax? (again, vital info for future date planning)
Another great conversation topic is music. While asking someone what kind of music they like isn’t exactly original, you can easily follow up by asking what was the best concert they’ve ever been to. Have they always liked this kind of music or have their tastes changed? If so, what made them change?
The key to asking these questions is to not sound like you’re following a date checklist. Common questions are fine to get the ball rolling but plan on following each one up with a few related questions that are a bit out of the box.