In this day and age, when you tell a friend you’re going out on a first date, there's a good chance it's with someone from an dating app. Although you and the person have likely been messaging back-and-forth for a while — and have maybe even had a phone call or two — you still need to see if your conversation flows in person. So
how do you break the ice on a first date?
Varsha Mathur, dating and relationship coach at
KnowingLuxe Coaching, says to start with a light topic. “Be interested in them and ask questions about the light-hearted stuff, such as how they got into the city or where they found parking,” Mathur tells Bustle. “Asking questions that require black and white answers are a great way to start deeper conversations.”
And if it's an online date, make sure you take another look at their profile. “To ease the stress, it’s good to take a screenshot of your date’s profile and review it before you meet for a date," Julie Spira,
online dating expert, tells Bustle. "Believe it or not, some singles show up on dates who suffer a temporary loss in memory, and don’t remember their date’s name or what they look like.” She says that this can be embarrassing and will signal that you’re either a serial dater or one who doesn’t care much about the date you’re going on. But, by reminding yourself of the person you’re meeting, it’ll help you when it comes time to conversation-starters and icebreakers, too.
If you’re stumped on
what to talk about on a first date — but don’t want the conversation to seem forced either — here are some icebreakers you can use.
Ask Them Something About Their Dating Profile
If you met online, an easy go-to icebreaker is asking your date about something specific from
their dating profile. “Being sincerely interested about something that caught your eye on their dating profile can show your date that you are intrigued and want to know more,” J.L. Kirkwood, certified relationship coach and author of , tells Bustle. “If you are able to relate to something they’ve done, you get bonus points.” Love Is A Business
He also suggests asking open-ended questions about their profile or something you discussed previously, like “Tell me more about your love for hiking” or “What did you like most about your trip to Cancun that made you say you would love to live there?” “The secret sauce to icebreakers is creating a safe space for you both to open up, which will hopefully lead to a second date,” he says.
Spira agrees. “It’s great to have a fool-proof cheat-sheet of three specific questions to always ask on a date that relate to their profile,” she says. “Ask your date about a photo you liked, ask about their work if it’s listed, and ask about what it was like growing up in their hometown.”
Ask If They’re A Cat Person Or A Dog Person
It seems that many people are cat *or* dog people, not both. Well, now’s the time to find out which one your date is, David Bennett, counselor and relationship expert with
Double Trust Dating, says. “I find that people love discussing pets, and it’s a great way to break the tension — because who doesn’t love discussing cuddly animals who purr, lick you, and walk on your face when you’re sleeping,” he tells Bustle. “It’s also a good way to get a conversation going, because it lends itself to a lot of follow-up questions about pet names, breeds, and even showing photos.”
He adds that it’s also a great way to see if any pet issues are
potential deal-breakers for you, such as you being allergic to cats or that you can’t date someone who doesn’t like animals. “The cats-or-dogs question will get those out of the way,” Bennett says.
Ask About The Last Concert They Went To
similar taste in music can help you and a date bond, and if you ask them about the last concert they went to — or even the best concert they ever went to — it can help you learn more about them. “Remembering a fun time and sharing that with a new person is a great way to learn insight about a date,” says. “Then, allow their answer to lead into your story about your last concert — share what you liked about the music and whether you bought indoor or outdoor tickets, packed a cooler for a picnic, what you packed, etc.” She says to also make sure to ask follow-up questions, but don’t make it seem like an interview; instead, get to know about their experiences.
Ask Them What They’d Do If They Had The Day Off From Work Tomorrow
Everyone spends their free time differently, and when you ask your date what they’d do with a spontaneous day off, you can learn a lot about them. “Now, depending on when it is in the week, their day might involve weekly errands and chores, catching up on a personal project (taxes, anyone?), or a weekend day-drinking with friends,” Thomas Edwards, founder of
The Professional Wingman, tells Bustle.
However, you can also ask them not to choose an answer like “errands.” “Overall, it’s a fun way to peek into your date’s day-to-day lifestyle,” Edwards says.
Ask Them Who Their Role Models Are, And Why
Many people have
mentors and role models, and asking your date about theirs can give you a glimpse into their character and being. “Whether it was a boss in a previous job, a mentor, or a relative, asking your date about their role model(s) lets you sit back and listen as someone talks about someone who’s meaningful in their life,” Spira says. “Plus, you’ll see how it carved out the foundation of who they are today.”
Ask Them What They Love So Much, They’d Do It For Free
A lot of
people have passion projects that they do for free, so now’s your chance to see what your date does in their spare time — and what they’d do as a job for free. “This is so much fun because the answers are endless and likely silly, which allows vulnerability to come into play,” Edwards says. “For instance, you and your date can laugh about the ability to binge-watch a TV show in a day or work with Elon Musk on his next intergalactic mission. Whatever it is, it serves as a way to play fantasy a little bit, and you each get to reveal your fun sides.”
Ask Them About The Best Vacation They Ever Took
Everyone has a different vacation style — while some people are beach people, others prefer anything but lying in the sun all day. “Helping your date think about their fun vacations will put a smile on their face, and you’ll learn if they’re a sun worshipper, if they prefer to go museum-hopping in other cities, and so on,” Spira says.
Ask Them About The Most Inspirational Thing They’ve Read Lately
With all the articles that fill our social media feeds and phones, asking your date what they’ve read lately — and what moved them — is a great icebreaker. “Find out what interests and inspires your date by asking about their last great read, whether it’s an article or a book,”
Antonia Hall, psychologist, relationship expert, and author of , tells Bustle. The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life
Ask Them About Something They’re Wearing
What is your date wearing that stands out? A ring? A fun shirt? A cool hat? “All too often, people make the mistake of complimenting someone’s obvious physical good looks,”
Carmelia Ray, matchmaker, online dating expert, and dating coach, tells Bustle. “So stand out and compliment their style, their swagger, their shoes, earrings, jacket, or whatever really gave you a positive first impression."
Plus, then it will lead to other stories and questions, such as telling you about the flea market where they got the ring or how they went to every cool T-shirt shop in L.A. to track down this one vintage shirt — have you been to any of those shops?
Ask Them What’s On Their Bucket List
Everyone’s probably traveled at some point, whether it was road trips during their childhood or jetting to Europe after high school. But now, you can ask your date what *else* is on their travel list, too. “Whether someone has traveled, wants to, or doesn’t want to, it’s a simple way to find how cultured and worldly someone’s personality is,” Edwards says. “Their answer alone can trigger a whole new set of conversations to be had, now and in the future.”
Hall, too, believes
asking your date where they’d like to travel makes for a great icebreaker. “Dream destinations can give you a great peek into someone’s lifestyle, goals, and is a good conversation-starter,” she says. “Plus, asking what’s on their bucket list will allow you to get to know the person better and to find out whether or not your interests align. Most people are happy to share their bucket lists, unless they don’t have one, which is another clue about them.”
Ask Them What They’d Do A Podcast About
The whole point of a first date is getting to know someone better, and if you ask them, “If you hosted a podcast, what would it be about?” you’ll get a lot more insight into who they are, Bennett says. “I like this one because not only could some people say, ‘Well,
I actually *have* a podcast’ (as I do), which would score a lot of first-date ‘points,’ but it also can help you quickly discover what a person’s passions are without asking that question outright.”
Ask Them To Play “Two Truths And A Lie”
If you’ve never played
Two Truths and a Lie, don’t worry — it’s easy; plus, you and your date will get to know a lot about each other. “Basically, you and your date have to say three things, but one of them has to be a lie,” Kirkwood says. “Leave it up to your date to figure out which one is the lie. Not only will this add some spice to your conversation, but it also allows you to get to know one another in a fun way.” He says that by doing something creative and fun, it’ll help loosen any tension while also bringing you two closer.
As you can see, you have several options when it comes to
icebreakers to use on a first date with someone you’ve never met before. “Icebreakers are great to have in your back pocket to keep first-date conversation flowing, but they’re also a wonderful way to get to know the person better,” Hall says. “Just remember to match your questions with your own interests, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.”
Plus, the above will probably inspire you to think of even more first-date icebreakers, and the more, the merrier.