Whether you’re engaging in a lunch date, heading to an art gallery, going to a concert, or simply taking a stroll on a beautiful day, the point of a first date is to get to know someone and you can’t do that without conversation. There’s an old Buddhist saying about conversations called “Right Speech” that basically means the following: speak warmly, friendly, and gently and you can make friends and avoid war. For our purposes, we’ll extend it into use on first dates. According to our annual It’s Just Lunch dating survey, over a third of singles mentioned easy conversation as an important component of compatibility. So what does this mean? You can dress to the nines, exude physical attractiveness, and even share a similar outlook on life; but if you can’t carry a conversation and verbally express yourself, you’ll have a hard time getting that important second date.
If you struggle with conversation on the first date or simply aren’t sure what to say, there are several tips we can help you with in order to get you going. First: know your current events. You don’t need to dive into the details of politics or the intricacies of a celebrity’s private life, but having a cursory knowledge of what’s going on will help drive conversation. Remember, ignorance isn’t necessarily bliss. Second: ask open-ended questions. Avoid asking questions that may just have a yes or no answer. That said, third: remember something your date said and come back to it later on in the conversation if possible. Everyone loves a good listener; it means you’re interested in what they have to say. Fourth: throw a few jokes into the conversation if appropriate. But please, make sure they are clean and inoffensive. Finally, five: be positive. This is probably the most important element to a first date conversation. While self-deprecation can be cute, it’s rarely a turn-on or a chemistry builder. The majority of people react well to positive thinking, so roll with it.
So what are some good topics of conversation for a first date? There are lots of options, but generally speaking the vast majority of singles polled in our survey said “hobbies and interests” are among the easiest conversation topics to tackle. After that came travel, followed by family, movies, and food.
It’s easy to come up with ideas of what to talk about; however, what people often have problems doing is avoiding topics that shouldn’t be brought up in the first place. You’re best served by not bringing up any past conquests. In fact, the majority of respondents cited conversation along those lines as a major turn-off. You may also want to avoid talking about money, health problems, politics, and the future. Now, some may say it’s disingenuous not to bring up discussion topics like those on the first date. What if politics, religion, money, physical ailments, or even an ex plays a large role in your life? The difference between good conversation topics and bad conversation topics is simply, common ground. First dates are opportunities to meet people halfway and see what they are all about. Often times, the topics under the “avoid” column are there because they might alienate a date or are deeply personal. Remember the goal of a first date is to get to know someone and make them feel comfortable!
Now that you’re engaged in a brilliant conversation with your date, it’s time to inject a little flirtation into the mix. Why? Because while good conversation will help strength a bond between two people, flirtation can help enhance chemistry; besides, you don’t want to get stuck into the “friend zone”, especially on a first date.
So what signals can you give off that mean you’re interested? Simple. Pay undivided attention to your date. Almost 50% of It’s Just Lunch survey respondents mentioned this as being a surefire sign the date went well. This means big things like actively listening and engaging in the conversation and little things such as turning your cell phone off, or not being distracted by what’s going on around you. Remember, a little attention can go a long way. So ride that wave and make your partner feel special. If the date is going well, they’ll return the favor.