10 Topics to Talk About on a First Date

These are the conversation starters you need to remember.

A man and a woman on on a coffee date

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First dates can be fun and exciting, but they can also be a bit uncomfortable and intimidating. The goal is to hit it off with this person and potentially find someone special, but what if you run out of things to talk about during the first few minutes of the date? Or what if, in your attempt to keep the conversation alive, it starts to feel like a job interview? You don't have to deal with dreaded awkward silences or uncomfortable pauses any longer, because we've come up with 10 great first-date conversation ideas. They'll not only improve date number one and help you connect with each other, but will also up your chances of snagging date number two.

Read on for the best things to talk about for your first date from initial background information questions, ice-breakers, and creative and out-of-the-box prompts.

Start With the Basics

While they may not be the meatiest of things to talk about on a first date, you have to start somewhere, and the basics aren't a bad place to do so. Once you know more about your date's background, you'll be able to guide the conversation to more interesting places and preemptively avoid those awkward lulls. Discussing things like how you spend your days or where you live and whether or not you enjoy the environment sets a great foundation for conversation building. You can even gush over things you enjoy doing to set a positive tone and inject some excitement into the flow.

Be sure to avoid asking rapid-fire questions—it may feel more like an interrogation. Instead, engage their responses with follow-up questions or offer pieces of information about yourself.

Talk About Where You’re From

When you and your date share your experiences from your childhood, it can help increase the bonding between the two of you, as well as help you learn more about each other. Whether you come from very similar or very different backgrounds, talking about where you’re from, your family life, and details from your childhood can help reveal new insights about one another. For example, you may find that while you're the youngest of four and they're an only child, you still watched the same shows, played the same video games, and went to similar summer camps. Try framing the questions in a creative way rather than sounding like a census questionnaire. A simple "What were you interested in while you were in school?" "What's your family like?" or "Do you have a favorite childhood memory?" can jumpstart the conversation.

Delve Into Preferences

If family matters and childhood experiences feel a little too deep for the first date, you can divert to simple anecdotal questions for a glimpse into what their personality is like. These can always lead to discussions about overlapping interests, qualities, and preferences. You can ask this-or-that type questions like "Are you an early bird or a night owl?" or "Are you a dog or a cat person?" or even "Are you an idealist, a pessimist, or a realist?" For more open-ended responses, consider questions like "What's your perfect day?" or "What do you and your friends do for fun?"

Discuss Your Favorite Movies, TV Shows, and Books

In today’s world of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Audible, there's definitely no lack of streaming services or access to movies, shows, or literature. With this in mind, talking about the different TV series you're watching, dishing on must-see movies, and telling them more about your all-time favorite books can help keep the conversation flowing while you and your date reveal more about your respective personalities. For example, if you love Stranger Things, can’t get enough of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, or have read everything by J.K. Rowling, these can be great starting points for first-date conversations. As you discuss what's binge-worthy and what's hot right now, it can help you to see if there are any sparks between you and your date. You can broach the topic by saying something like "I just finished my favorite TV show and need something new to watch. Have you watched anything good lately that you'd recommend?" Or, you can add a nostalgic flair by asking "What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?"

Open Up About Your Hobbies

When you’re on a first date, it’s important to talk about your favorite pastimes and passions and share what makes you who you are. If you’re a guitarist, a yogi, or an avid football fan, opening up about your interests can help to create new opportunities for you and your date to get to know each other on a more meaningful level. By talking about what you like to do for fun, you’re teaching your date more about you and opening the door to find out more about them in return. You'll learn about their preferences while also gauging how much free time they actually have and how they spend it.

Have a Conversation About Travel

Speaking of hobbies, do you consider yourself a jet-setter? Are you hoping to visit Greece one day? Did you just take a trip to Hawaii? Talking about travel is a top first-date conversation because it enables you to share your travel stories (both the good and the bad), open up about places you'd like to go one day, and discover any potential incompatibilities. You and your date can learn more about each other's interests and passions as you open up about your ideal types of vacations and favorite travel spots.

Discuss Your Favorite Music

Since you can learn a lot about a person by talking about their favorite music, it's definitely a great conversation topic for a first date. While you may learn that you and your date enjoy the same types of music and may have even seen the same bands or festivals live, you can also expand your own music repertoire as you learn about the genres and bands that your date likes. A first date can be a great way to get new band recommendations, and sharing about music and concerts can help the two of you bond. You can open up about the best (and worst) shows you've ever been to or talk about the different artists who you'd love to see live.

Chat About Your Ambitions

Where do you see yourself in five years? How about in 10 years? When it comes to these bigger life questions, being able to candidly talk about your goals, hopes, and desires on a first date can be a great way to get to know someone better. Your goals don’t have to be just career-oriented—the key is to share what you’d like to accomplish, whether it’s learning how to play guitar or mastering French cooking, as this can help your date learn more about your interests and priorities. Start on a positive note by asking "What's an accomplishment you're proud of?" Or, cut to the chase with "What's your dream job?"

Talk About Food

Since first dates don't always involve food, talking about food can be a great way to set the stage (or set the table) for a second date. As you open up about your favorite restaurants, cuisines, and bakeries, you and your date can discuss the best places in town for a bite, as well as the best meal you've ever had. Here's a great starter: "I'm looking for some new restaurants to try in the area for a work dinner next week. Do you have any suggestions?"

Talking about food is a great way to bring up the idea of a second date since you could easily suggest going to one of the restaurants you mention.

Keep Things Interesting

If small talk bores you, consider getting more creative with your questions. You could end up finding out more about them than you expected, for better or for worse. But, of course, only ask the questions you're interested in learning the answers to. These are typically more open-ended questions that shy away from the usual template. Here are some of our favorites:

  • What are the little things that always make your day better?
  • If you could relive any day, what would it be?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • What were the weirdest quirks and habits you had as a kid?
  • What item in your bedroom do you most represent or personify?
  • What's one quality you wish you had?

Know When to Call It

Even the best first-date questions and most impeccable timing can't save an awkward match. If the chemistry isn't there, you'll likely know it after deftly delivering those questions. If things are going badly and you still feel really awkward or you aren't sure how to fill the silences, you could give it one more shot with an open question or subtly put things to an end. Graciously end the evening with something along the lines of "I have a pretty long day tomorrow and need to be up early. Let's grab the check?" or "I didn't realize it was getting so late! I promised my roommate we'd grab dessert, so I should be heading back soon."

Likewise, if it's going really well, you could extend the date or end it on a positive note. Keep the positive momentum alive with "There's a really cool bar around the corner. Want to switch scenes and check it out?" or "Should we get another round, or are you ready to split the bill?" If you'd prefer to call it a night and schedule another date, try a subtly leading question like "How's the rest of your workweek looking? Do you have any fun weekend plans?"

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