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What Conversations are Good for First Dates?


That’s actually a very good question. The short answer: it could be anything. Seriously, it depends on the person. With me, a friendly conversation about politics is okay for a first date because I’m a friendly conversationalist, but the moment that turns into a heated discussion I’m out the door. Because during the first few dates you’re walking on eggshells as it is, finding a good conversation started is tricky, to say the least.

One question to avoid: tell me about yourself. It’s too open of a question, and it leaves the other person floundering. Instead, ask something like: so, tell me something about yourself that I’m going to pick up on right away. Then you can talk about that, or why they picked what they picked, or you can tell them one thing about yourself that they probably already noticed. That way you can explain why you’re so awkward; “Hey, I’m a little awkward because I’m nervous. I don’t do very well on first dates and I don’t want to mess this up.”

A good question to ask is about hobbies. Usually you’ve either met the person you’re with somewhere and had struck up a conversation previously or you met on a dating website, like or, where you probably chatted or exchanged emails before deciding to meet. Hobbies and pets are good subjects because they can lead to hours of conversation and tend to lead to different subjects.

Asking questions is always a good way to start a conversation, but what if someone asked you that loaded question: “tell me about yourself?” Don’t go on a thirty minute rant about how you’re perfect. I love to be the one to take you down a peg and say you aren’t perfect, because I don’t think perfect exists. Instead, pick one thing, and lead into it with something else. For example, “I’m a barista and I work at Sac State.” Then that leaves the other person open to ask, “Oh, do you go to Sac State?” to which you can answer by saying, “No, I graduated in 2009 with my BA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship.” “Cool, what do you plan to do with those…?” You get the idea.

There aren’t any no-no topics unless there’s something that you or your date are uncomfortable with. When you hit one of those topics, its a good idea to back off on the topic and search for a different one. Sometimes there are no-no topics that are only no-no for the fist few dates, and that’s fine. Politics typically is one of those, until the other person knows more about how your views and opinions coincide with or oppose theirs. Sometimes, though, there is a topic that the other person truly sees as taboo, and depending on what that topic is it may be an issue that they won’t talk about it.

Here are a list of topics that typically are okay to remain taboo, for the short term (the first 6 months of the relationship):

  • a girl and her menstruation
  • deaths in the family
  • mental illness
  • physical disabilities
  • trouble with the law (but better told sooner than later)

Ultimately, though, if you want a long-term relationship everything will have to be talked about eventually. That will lead to some very hard conversations and some hurt feelings or concern, but I believe that for a truly good relationship there can be no secrets. With complete honesty only can there be trust. But we’re not talking about that right now.

Now, flirting is always good. Just be careful not to overdo it. A little flirting and some teasing is healthy, but there comes a time to be serious – which is different for everyone – and then the real conversation (where jokes are appreciated) should follow. But… don’t forget to have fun, too! And follow where the conversation will lead. It’s more fun that way.

I met this one guy once who just loved screaming metal music, and he wouldn’t stop talking about it. It was weird, because I met him at a swing dance club. I felt bad, but after a few minutes I had to tell him that I actually liked the music at the club, and I like Punk Rock and Country, too. He felt so embarrassed, he never called me back.

So, what conversation starters do you like? What has worked for you? What really failed?


From → Romance, Social

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