Going on a first date is never easy, and one of the things many people worry about is what to talk about. Luckily, researchers have actually studied the things you should talk about on a first date, and knowing these hot topics can not only help break the ice, but they can even create a lasting intimacy that extends just beyond your first night together. Of course, there's no magic way to make someone fall in love with you, but there are a good number of conversation points that can make your night go much smoother.
"First dates are about getting to know one another in a general way to see if you have anything in common besides a physical attraction," says intimacy and relationship expert Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S over email. "It’s nice to have a first date in places that don’t distract from the goal of ‘getting to know,’ so I encourage walks in nature or coffee shops."
No matter where you are, what matters most is what you talk about — and how you talk about it! Next time you're feeling nervous before heading out to meet someone for drinks, consider these six things you should talk about on a first date, according to science.
It's OK to talk about yourself – in fact, it's encouraged. Research from the American Journal of Sociology found that men felt more connected to their date when they talked about themselves, including what they like to do and what they're passionate about. "Talking about hobbies and how you like to spend your time helps you see what you have in common and to learn what you find interesting about the other person," says Weiss.
2Places You've Traveled Or Want To Go
Been on a fun vacation recently? Talk about it on your date. Research from Richard Wiseman's book Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things, found that 18 percent of daters wanted to go out again when they talked about travel, compared to 9 percent who talked about movies. "Discuss each other’s traveling plans and dreams of where you would each like to visit," says relationship expert Audrey Hope over email. "Where did you vacation last and where do you hope to go next?"
Creating intimacy is essential when getting to know someone, and sharing personal facts about yourself can seem scary, but it's that vulnerability that will forget a good connection. Researcher Arthur Aron came up with a series of 36 questions that accelerates intimacy between strangers. In fact, he found that when two people reveal their answers, they form deep, close relationships immediately.
4Your Helpful Qualities
You don't want to get carried away and brag of course, but research from the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that people on a first date were highly rated when they talked about helpfulness and generosity. Showing you're a good person can show potential down the line, but keep it authentic and humble, of course.
Logic would have it that you should stick to safe topics on your first date, but it turns out that controversial topics actually make for a good first date, according to a study done by researcher Dan Ariely. When participants were forced to talk about conversations like abortion, STDs, breakups, etc., the daters found the conversation was more lively and interesting than when they stuck to talking about things like their favorite dessert or sports.
If the date seems to be going well, it’s smart to be clear about what you want from the relationship. "Do you want a couple of fun dates and some sex, or a casual but monogamous dating relationship, or a long-term commitment with an eye toward marriage? If you’re on a date with a guy who’s looking for a recurring booty call, but you’re interested in finding Mr. Right, it’s probably best to know that up-front," says Weiss. Research from the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that people are more responsive to directness, with subtlety being less effective in leading to future dates.