How To Make Sparkling Conversation For A Great First Date
There are few things more awkward than a first date when conversation stalls. You’ve forgotten your rehearsed topics, she isn’t saying anything, and suddenly you’re staring down the barrel of a 4-minute silence! Luckily, we have some tips for you on how to ignite a great first-date conversation that will leave her wanting more.
1. Ask good questions
Asking questions is an essential part of any good first date – but they have to be thoughtful, fun questions. Far too many first dates resemble painful job interviews: “What do you do?” “Do you enjoy that?” “Have you been on this dating app long?”
Although these are essential things to know about the other person, don’t fire off these questions in a row! She’ll have to sit there and politely answer each as if she were filling out a form: not exactly the stuff of great chemistry.
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Instead, try and ask more unusual questions. People love to talk about their hobbies, so go off what you know. Did she have “CrossFit enthusiast” in her online dating bio? Did you meet her at a salsa bar? Ask her questions about how she got into X or Y: her face will light up immediately and she’ll remember how thoughtful you were on the date afterwards.
2. Do ask questions that open into larger topics
It’s easy to fall into the trap of playing conversational tennis on first dates. If you ask questions that have one-word answers (“Do you like seafood?” “Do you have any siblings?”) the conversation can feel a little strained and mechanical.
Instead of asking dead-end questions and getting stuck in a rut of small talk, ask large questions. These don’t have to be obnoxious (you don’t have to ask her opinion on modern philosophy!) but they do have to stimulate discussion.
You: “Have you been here before? Is this the kind of place you normally go to?”
Her: “Hmm, not really. My friends and I normally go to karaoke, in these dive-y bars.”
You: “Karaoke? I love karaoke. What’s your go-to song?”
A healthy, interesting conversation between two people bounces back and forth and covers a variety of topics without ever getting bogged down! Ask questions that aim to get a sense of her as an individual (and what her tastes are) that aren’t hyper-specific. Vague questions give her more room to talk, and that’s something you can both benefit from.
3. Don’t discuss previous relationships
“I used to come here with my ex all the time. What about you – when was your last relationship?”
This is one of the most terrible conversations you could be locked into. There’s a time and a place to discuss relationship histories, but the first date isn’t it. Focus on the future! If you talk in nostalgic (or angry, or depressed) tones about your ex as you order another drink, it’s going to seem like you’re not over that relationship.
“What kind of activities would you like company for?” is a much better question. Ask your date about her future plans — remember, this is a fresh start for both of you in the dating game, not a time to complain or rehash the past.
4. Don’t tell too many stories to impress
Yes, you may have a great story about saving a man’s life in Portugal that you’re dying to tell. You may want to talk about how you acquired such a wealth of expertise on red wine. But remember, this isn’t necessarily the most impressive thing you could do on a date. And in fact, impressing her shouldn’t be the goal at all. Talking too much about where you’ve travelled, or showing off what you’ve learned, is always secondary to how you’re making the other person feel.
Pay attention to what they’re saying. Are they comfortable? Are you cutting them off to hold forth? Are you making them feel heard? A good listener is the rarest commodity to find on the dating market, so it’s best to hold back sometimes. (Besides, we can sense it when you’re trying too hard.) She should feel like she can be herself with you: that’s what chemistry is all about.
5. Make good use of an awkward silence
So you’ve discussed world politics, early upbringing, your respective careers, and all the Netflix shows you binge-watch. You’ve both fallen silent at the same time, and you’ve completely forgotten your emergency conversation starters. What do you say?
Well, this is a great time to pay your date a compliment. She’s probably made a real effort with her hair and outfit: what woman doesn’t want to feel appreciated for it? You don’t have to be corny or over the top. Keep it simple: “I meant to tell you — you look lovely tonight.” Suddenly, the awkwardness vanishes and is replaced by a more intimate, romantic vibe. Hey, it happens in all the best rom-coms.
6. Don’t get into an intellectual debate
One of the most common mistakes men make on dates is confusing abrasiveness for banter. Say she voices a common opinion that you happen to disagree with. Don’t arch your eyebrow and challenge her to prove it! This isn’t a contest of wits, and you’re not a teacher asking her to justify her conclusion.
So often, these friendly debates leave women feeling exhausted. (There’s nothing sexy about feeling exhausted.) Don’t make her feel like she has to prove herself right. Instead of being drawn into an hour-long heated conversation about YouTube stars, simply divert the conversation into more productive channels. Ask her what the weirdest pet she ever wanted was. Talk about your go-to snacks that other people judge you for. There are a lot of fun, flirty, teasing conversations that you can have with your date that don’t create a low-key hostile vibe. Good luck, and be sure to follow up your date with a nice thank-you text!