No matter how confident you are in everyday life, the first date can bring out nerves we were not aware of. A general rule of thumb is the more you like someone, the more nervous you can become. So unless you are extremely outgoing, there are likely to be times when the conversation is stilted. It is important to be prepared by having a mental list of conversation starters that will help keep the conversation flowing.

Men are very different to women and quite often they won’t ask questions about their date, but rather wait to be offered the information. This doesn’t mean they are not interested; it is simply just ‘a man thing’. It is also very common for men to dominate the conversation about themselves when they meet someone they are interested in, so keep in mind he is only doing this because he feels uncomfortable and this is the easier path for him to take. Try to keep the conversation even, it should be like ping pong but remember to remain genuinely interested in what he has to say.

Topics to Steer Clear of:

Generic questions are those bog-standard, boring, getting-to-know-you type questions that make you want to tear your hair out. Do you really care what street/part of town he lives in? Do you really care how long he’s been at his current job? We can do better than this.

Focus on questions that get to who he is, rather than what he does. What would he do if money wasn’t an issue? Would he rather travel for a year, or spend a year writing a novel? When you do that you’re going to get to the core of who he actually is.

We have so many options for inspiring conversation and never use them. If you find yourself tempted… Limit yourself to only allowing one or two generic questions per conversation. Train yourself to do without them. You’ll be amazed by your own creativity.

Religion, politics and finances are the normal no-go zones for first date conversation as a lot of people find these topics boring and the risk of saying something offensive is also high.

Conversation that is negative or too serious can be quite draining to anyone and will almost always guarantee no second date.
Past relationships are also off limits. Experience tells us 90% of people who discuss their relationship history on a first date simply don’t get a second date. How romantic would it be to have your ex on your date with you? Well that is what you are doing when you talk about them. Your date assumes you are still living in the past and perhaps you are? We all have a past but if you want to move forward – you need to stop discussing it.

If your date happens to ask why your previous relationships ended, there is a very fine line when answering this question. I call it the 10- second rule. If you talk about it for more than 10 seconds you are still emotionally attached and if you talk about it for less than 10 seconds you are avoiding the topic, so also still emotionally attached. Confusing? I know! The answer needs to be brief, honest, stated with eye contact, without emotion, and at precisely that moment you change the subject by asking your date a question about them. (Making sure you have a lovely warm smile to show your sincerity).

Some examples you may find helpful:

“We met young, were happy for a long time and then things changed but that all seems so long ago now. You seem far more interesting so tell me more about yourself”.

“We grew apart. It happens a lot. You seem far more interesting so tell me more about yourself”.

“They met someone else but I don’t dwell on it. I’ve also moved forward now. You seem far more interesting so tell me more about yourself”.

For your date to want to see you again they needs to think you are interesting. Interesting people do interesting things, so if you have been too work or family focused, get out there and try some new activities so you will have topics to talk about on the date. They need to walk away from the first date thinking they enjoyed themselves and you are someone they would be interested in getting to know more about. Always keep the conversation positive, upbeat and entertaining.

Interesting Topics of conversation

For those who need a little extra help with conversation we have provided some topics you may find helpful.

Travel – Favourite destinations or places you would like to visit and why. Type of holidays you enjoy?
Different countries you would like to live in and why?

Food – Favourite styles? Restaurants you have had great experiences at?
How did you get into cooking? Cooking classes – maybe it’s something you have already tried or perhaps would like to try. Who was the influence for your passion for food/cooking?

Music Genres – What did you grow up listening to? Concerts you’ve been to. Favourite artists that you would love to see.

Books – What types of books do you read? Favourite authors?

Career – How did you get into your field? What do you enjoy most about your job? Why are you passionate about your career?

Passions – What drives you? What are your goals for the future? When are you your happiest?

Also read: Is Your Partner Compatible With You?