Episode II of the What To Tawk About Series. Catch up on Episode 1 here.
So what SHOULD you talk about? Everything else! The best relationships begin with a conversation--a two-way conversation. They unfold naturally, organically, as two people introduce their best selves to one another, discovering along the way, and hopefully developing an appreciation for who that other person actually is. (Which is why the very idea of “choosing” a potential mate from a photograph or basic profile is so wholly ineffective.)
Good date conversation starters can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”, but are open-ended, with the power to spark a conversation that might last for hours. Some examples:
Where have you never travelled, but have always wanted to and why?
What was the last really great book you read?
What kind of foods do you like?
Who is your favorite band… what kinds of music do you like?
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
What is your favorite movie, or the best one you saw lately?
Tell me about your best friends, why are you two such good buddies?
Do you have pets? Tell me about them.
What’s the last thing you did that surprised you?
If those don’t suit your fancy, Googling first-date questions returns a wealth of question lists from the sublime to the ridiculous. The trick is to come up with questions that aren’t too negative or awkward, but will induce substantive conversation. An OKCupid analysis from 2011 boiled down it down to the top 3-questions long-term couples asked (and agreed on) during their first date:
Wouldn’t it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat?
Do you like horror movies?
Have you traveled around a foreign country alone?
Intriguing, although the same analysis also revealed that if what you really want to know is, “how likely is my date to have sex on a first date,” the question you should actually ask is, “Do you like the taste of beer?” Because, they purport, a penchant for brew is the single-most corollary trait to being a first date putter-outer.
If all the dos and don’ts have you feeling more perplexed than prepared, keep in mind a study done by researchers from Stanford University and UC Santa Barbara which showed that a host of behaviors and conversation signals were more responsible for whether or not a couple felt they clicked when first meeting than actual topics of discussion or specific questions.
They found that women generally felt more connected if a man took active interest in their conversation, by focusing on her and chiming in to ask questions about what she was saying – interrupting, but in a good way. Women also liked it when men laughed right after they did, and when they said complimentary things. Men, on the other hand, felt more connected when women shared stories about themselves and used direct language rather than equivocal words or phrases such as “maybe” or “sort of,” possibly indicating that sensing interest in the woman leads to interest in the man?
The data also showed that, while things like height or shared hobbies seemed “important” to the subjects before they started talking, with “each additional minute the couple spent together” these factors often used to predict compatibility “became less important and the flow of their conversation became more important.”
So show up to each new introduction positive, open, and interested - and just get to tawking already!
Listen to your heart,
Author of The Heart Beat series