First Date Questions that Spark Conversation and are Backed by Science

By 20 June, 2021 June 24th, 2021 Blog, Dating Tips
first date questions

Do you want to know what first date questions actually work? I have the answer for you and best of all they are proven by science!

When you first meet someone, you want them to see how wonderful you are and you don’t want your nerves to get in the way. You dread those awkward silences and wonder what first date questions work.

A great way to deal with your dating anxiety is being prepared with your first date questions. Now, I am not suggesting you have a script or have index cards with prompts on them but having some idea of what to talk about will help you deal with any anxiety.

I am sure you have heard that good conversation builds a connection with your date and awkward silence can kill it. You also hate the very idea of small talk. So how do you have a good conversation and what are good first date questions to ask?

I am going to let you in on some first date questions that are backed by science and that work. Who knows it could even be your last first date and the last first date questions you ever have to ask!

The Science of Intimate Relationships has found that the type of communication that works the best is using engaging questions, being flexible, open-minded and one that easily goes back and forth. Think of it as a great game of tennis.

It is not just what you talk about but how you have the conversation that matters. When you ask your first date questions, they shouldn’t be interview style – thrown at the other person one after another without their input. You don’t want to dominate the conversation but you also don’t want to stay silent either. A wonderful conversation is about having a genuine interest in the other person’s answers and them having a genuine interest in your answers. This is a conversation that is fun to have and is full of warmth.

Good first date questions will:

  • Allow you to work out if you have a connection.
  • Let you get to know each other and find out if you are compatible.

A good conversation is natural, flows easily and can even go off track from the first date questions.

Build on What you Already Know and Use the Obvious!

If you have been chatting online, build on the information you already know about each other. It gives you a good starting point and shows that you have listened, remembered, and are interested in them.

If you are not sure how to start the conversation, use something from where you are having your date.  You know use the obvious and talk about the environment! Then you can build on what they answer – maybe it is about the location or how they like a type of coffee or whether it’s their go-to place. Pick up on the queues and go with it.

Make Sure you Listen!

It can be all too easy to get caught up in worrying about what you need to ask someone that you forget to listen to them! It is easy to assume what people think rather than finding out what they actually think. Be genuinely curious and listen to what they have to say.

Maybe you get so busy talking about how you want a relationship that you don’t take the time to listen to what they are looking for!

Research Around the Types of Things to Talk About!

1. First Date Question – Share Personal Stuff

You want to get out of just sharing ‘factual’ information because facts do not build that powerful attraction or wonderful connection between you. An interesting fact is that for women you can increase their attraction to you through an engaging conversation.

 Women fall in love with their ears and men fall in love with their eyes!

Share personal stories! When you share emotional, personal information it builds stronger feelings of relating to each other. You want to get the other person feeling someone and into their emotions when they talk to you. It makes you memorable. Research by Arthur Aron, a psychology professor,  backed this up, with the 36 Questions to Fall in Love.

It found that being vulnerable and asking deep questions allowed a stronger bond of attraction and rating the other person as more attractive than you initially did.

2. First Date Questions – Small Talk Leads to Deeper Conversations

No one likes small talk but you have to start there to get to a more interesting conversation! A study found that small talk sets the foundation for deeper conversations that people want.  Think of it as the opening or bridge to the conversation you want to have.

3. First Date Questions – Controversial Subjects over Boring Topics

One of the biggest complaints I hear from single people is that their dates and conversations are boring. No one enjoys boring! They tell me they would like to have interesting and surprising conversations.  You want to memorable for the right reasons! Having interesting but controversial conversations do just that. Research backs this one up!

The Research

Dan Ariely did a study where they gave online daters a list of pre-set questions they could talk about that were controversial rather than the standard, “How are you?” All the questions were interesting and revealing! For example, “how many romantic partners did you have?”, “When was your last breakup?”, “Do you have any STDs?”, “Have you ever broken someone’s heart?”, “How do you feel about abortion?”). They had to choose questions from the list and couldn’t ask about anything else. The questions were asked face2face (I would be careful in messages as it is too easy to take the questions the wrong way because I am not sure anyone wants to be asked if they have any STD’s)!

The study made the daters have these risky conversations that just aren’t seen as “acceptable” first date conversations!  The other person had to answer the question and it resulted in much more animated interactions than when they came up with their own questions. I do wonder if knowing you were in a study make it easier to relax and have fun with these questions.

Instead of talking about the weather, they shared their inner fears!   They found that these types of questions created more of a connection between the two people and surprisingly both were happier with the conversation. They found when people chose what to talk about they often gravitate towards something that is easy to maintain, but they found that one really enjoys or benefits from that.

4. First Date Questions – Do you Like the taste of beer?

It is the answer to this question that may interest you! Information from data from OkCupid found that this question was the best indicator of if someone would have sex on a first date. Weird, right! No matter what gender they found that 60 per cent of beer lovers were more likely to have sex with someone they had just met.

Here are the First Date Questions to Ask

These questions are not interrogation type questions and will reveal interesting sides of the person you are spending time with.

1. What are you doing that you are passionate about?

Everyone lights up when they talk about what they love or what they are passionate about. It can easily fit into your conversation especially when someone talks about being busy.

It can lead to a conversation about how they spend their time and It is much more interesting than asking what someone’s interests or hobbies are.

An over asked question is, “What do you do in your spare time” or “What are your hobbies?” The problem with these questions is people feel pressure to come up with something to look more interesting than they feel they are. Yet everyone has something they enjoy or are passionate about.

2. What’s the best present you ever received or have given?

This question can be used around Christmas or if you are talking about birthdays. It could also come up if you are somewhere where someone else is celebrating their birthday. You get to discover how they feel about gifts, giving, etc.

3. What does your regular day look like?

No one wants to talk about work or what they do for a living.  It can lead to assumptions and judgement.

It’s much more interesting to ask them what they do on a regular or typical day. It gives you a sneak peek into their lives and you will learn a lot more about the other person!  Like do they like to sleep in or get up early; is exercise a part of their day, what they like to do after work and their job will also come up more naturally.

You could also build on the conversation by asking what they dreamt of being or doing when they were a child.

4. Talk about what you are reading or watching

This could be articles, books, films or series. You could use –

I was reading this _____ and in the book, they said____ what do you think?

I was watching this _____ and loved it. Have you seen anything you would recommend?

I personally love reading and learning and this can bring up interesting conversations. You could even talk about your favourite books or movies and the reason why.  Another question is asking with character in a book or movie that they related to the most. You can learn a lot about someone this way and it is indirect.

5. What’s your favourite food and is there anything you don’t enjoy eating?

Or you could ask if you had to only eat one type of meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

If you are out for dinner this is a very natural subject to talk about and you can have fun with it This can also lead to asking if they have eaten out anywhere they would recommend. It can lead to what they feel about eating out – are they into fine dining or prefer a pub meal. Are they a foodie?

6. What type of holidays do you like to have?

You can ask what is on the top of their bucket list to travel to, but that doesn’t give you a glimpse into what they actually like to do. This question allows you to find out if they are more into the camping holiday or the overseas trip. It also creates a great conversation.

Did you know research found that when you talk about travelling on a first date, you are more likely to get a second date? Professor Richard Wiseman conducted a study and the results were that 18% of those who talked about travel went on a second date whereas only 9% of those who talked about movies did.

7. Did Anything surprising happen today?

The standard first date questions people ask is, “How was your day?” Which people answer automatically and give the standard response of, “Fine”. It is a conversation killer at best and at worst can remind them of the bad day they just had! Asking what was surprising about their day leads to a much more interesting conversation.

8. What’s the best advice you have received?

This is a deeper question and it can lead to interesting, new conversations. You also use it when they give you advice!

9. What are your friends like or who are the special people in your life?

You can naturally use this question if they are talking about their friends and it’s a good question to use to build on the conversation you are having. It also gives you another sneak peek into their life. You can find out who someone is by the way they talk about other people.

10. What were you like as a child?

Instead of asking about someone’s family you can have more fun and get more insight by asking what they were like as a child. It can lead to funny and interesting stories. It also gives you a glimpse into how they feel about their family.

Maybe you could also chat about whether they were the firstborn, middle child, the spoilt last-child or the ignored last child. Find out what that was like for them and how they felt.

11. What gets under their skin or bugs them?

I don’t recommend having “negative” conversations. However, you can have a fun chat about what gets to them, those little things that are annoying. Maybe it’s eating with your mouth open, continually being on your phone or talking in a movie.  You can have fun with this. This gives you insight into what makes them tick!

12. What is something you would like to learn or wish you were better at?

This question shows you a lot and is a better one to ask than what are your dreams and plans for the future – which sounds like a job interview!

13. What’s your favourite place?

Do they have somewhere they like to go to relax, to escape the stress and pressure of daily life? What’s their happy place where they can be themselves. 

14. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?

Can be a fun conversation but it also shows if people can laugh at themselves when things don’t go to plan.

15. What are you most proud of in your life?

Highlights what matters to them. 

16. What are some fun, random facts about you?

Is fun and gets you outside of the standard questions. On the bottom of my About Page, I share mine  – have a look, they include a mix of silly,  fun and tell a lot about me. Like  I like Brussel sprouts, cheese and cucumber sandwiches (there is a cool story behind this, just ask me about it).

First Date Questions Conclusion

Have fun and try not to take it all too seriously! Get out of your head and overthinking and be genuinely curious. Practice makes confident when it comes to dating and first date questions. The more you get used to talking to new people the easier it will become.

A word of warning, please don’t fire off question after question. You want to listen to what they say, build on the answer as well as give your own input. If you are struggling to do this, why not book a call?



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