By Amanda Arnold
Going into a first date, you typically have one main objective: To find out if you feel a spark with the other person. And while you don’t want to approach a first date like an interview, it’s not a bad idea to go into one with a few topics to get the conversation going, which can keep the awkward silences to a minimum and help you determine whether you might want to see them again. Here are five great conversation starters to try on your next first date that may give you useful insight into your Bumble match.
Bring up their interests and hobbies
Did your match mention a love of baking on their Bumble profile? Asking them about it is a perfect place to kickstart a date, with a question like, “what’s your go-to dessert to make?” Dating coach Amie Leadingham says “finding common interests helps create a connection, and people love talking about themselves.” Plus, Leadingham adds that it’s “a great way to get a sense of your date’s personality.” For example, if your date often spends their free time volunteering for political campaigns and canvassing for local elections, you can deduce that politics are quite important to them (and they’ll likely want you to share at least some of their values).
Ask about what their ideal Friday night looks like
Inquiring about their typical weekend plans with a question like, “What do your Friday nights normally look like?” will give you a sense of their lifestyle and an opportunity to swap stories about what you both were up to the previous week. While it’s not necessary that two people have identical social needs for a relationship to flourish, you probably want to lead somewhat similar lifestyles. “You might have a great date filled with easy conversation and even instant chemistry,” says self-love and dating coach Evin Rose, but she says that a relationship could face significant challenges in the long run if, for example, “one of you lives a super-extroverted, party-hard lifestyle, and the other would rather be curled up at home with a good book seven nights a week.”
Talk about your professional and creative pursuits
Work isn’t always the most exciting conversation topic, especially if you or your date aren’t particularly passionate about your jobs. Still, relationship and sex therapist Jane Greer thinks it’s an important subject to tackle on a first date, partly because it’ll let you know “how much time they may devote to their work and how available or unavailable they may be in a relationship.” When the topic inevitably comes up, ask open-ended questions so the conversation doesn’t turn dry. “Think less ‘resume’ talk and more asking about what they love or like about what they do,” says Rose. For example, questions like “What drives you in your career?” or “What’s the most fulfilling part of your work?” Or, if your date doesn’t seem very connected to their current line of work, you could ask, “If you could have any job in the world, what would it be, and why?”
Share a recent memorable experience
“Whether it is a simple road trip or going to a music festival, sharing your memorable experiences can help you better understand what brings a person joy,” says Leadingham. It’s a fun conversation starter (who doesn’t love recounting their wildest adventures?), and can help you and your date connect on an emotional level. “When we share something or listen to someone tell a story that brings in humor, levity, excitement, or adrenaline,” says Rose, “we feel connected to that person.”
Ask what their dream life looks like
If you want to have a “fun and expansive conversation,” says Rose, playfully ask your date what their dream life looks like. Just make sure you don’t go in too hot. Rather than asking “What’s your five year plan?” try opening the conversation with a question like, “If you woke up and had everything that you really wanted, what would that look like?” suggests Rose. Not only is this subject thrilling, but it may also give you crucial insight into your date’s values, which you’d ideally want to share.
Once you’ve landed on a fun or fruitful topic of discussion, try your best to relax and let the conversation flow. Remember, you’re there to enjoy yourself and you want your date to feel similarly! And if the conversation feels too forced or awkward, then maybe that’s your sign that there shouldn’t be a second date.