Imagine that you’ve been on a first date with someone, and while everything went quite well, you’re still nervous about future dates moving forward. Why? Well, for a lot of people, a source of worry can be how to keep conversation flowing naturally and prevent it from drying up completely. It can happen in some cases as people exhaust their ideas on what to talk about.
If you’ve ever been worried about this very thing, then this is the article for you. Below we’ve put together some great talking points and conversation topics for when you’re on a date. We’ve also included a few ideas on topics to stay away from, and ways to keep the conversation flowing.
Tips for Stimulating Dating Conversation
Let’s start with a few simple ideas on how you can get a flow of conversation started on your date. A big mistake people make is to set themselves up for conversational failure by simply not creating natural talking points that both of you can seize upon:
See a Movie
“Dinner and a movie” might sound like a cliche date to some, but it’s actually quite romantic and enjoyable even in 2022, and more importantly, a movie before dinner will give you something to talk about during your meal. You needn’t worry about conversing during the movie, and a few simple ice-breakers beforehand will suffice. After the movie, you’ve got hours of great (or questionable) footage to discuss!
Visit a Museum or Gallery
If a movie isn’t your thing, then perhaps something more cerebral like a museum or an art gallery would be? Your conversation during the museum or gallery visit can focus on the exhibits more, which really helps thoroughly break the ice between you before going for a meal somewhere. You can continue to discuss the exhibits, and/or naturally pivot into more personal and general conversation. With the ice well and truly broken, nothing would be stopping you.
Attend an Event or Activity
One more alternative is to attend a pre-dinner event together: a concert, house party, charity gala, or perhaps something more physical like ice-skating or even horseback riding. Engaging in a pursuit you both like should provide a nice foundation for dinner conversation as you compare notes on your experience in that activity. A more physical or exciting activity will also work to remove any tension there is between you if it’s only your first date.
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Great Dating Conversation Topics
If you do one of the above either as a pre-dinner date activity, or even as the main part of the date itself, you’re sure to have a lot to talk about. Let’s go through great conversation topics for dating. These apply to virtually any stage of dating:
Food and Drink
You just can’t go wrong with food and drink as a point of discussion on a date. Virtually everyone has an area of food and drink that they feel strongly or passionately about, and it can make for great and enjoyable lighthearted conversation. Even when you disagree with each other, it can be fun, such as discussing your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavors, or the “weirdest” things you’ve ever eaten when you were traveling, for example.
Vacations and Travel
Another great and uncontroversial topic is vacations and travel. A well-traveled person on a date can impress with their stories of far-flung places, strange cultures and interesting food (see above), and a less-traveled person can still share much about where they want to travel in future, and places that might be featured on their travel “bucket list.” Any combination of experienced or novice travelers can easily work.
Hobbies and Free Time
Talking about what you get up to when you’re not busy is the perfect way to offer some insight into the real you to a romantic partner. All they may know about you is that you’re a doctor or a lawyer. Knowing that you also have a passion for flower arranging, or Chinese calligraphy, or collecting stamps, is a window into your more unique self. This conversation topic works on every level.
Family and Relationships
With this one, a little more care is needed so as not to intrude too deeply or too personally into someone’s life. However, some simple questions about brothers and sisters, what parents do for a living, whether or not they’ve been in a serious relationship before, or whether they’ve been dating much since being single again, are all pretty innocuous. If they say they don’t really want to talk about it, you can move right along to a different topic, but for most people family and romance can be fine topics when out on a date. Funny stories often make up a majority of our family and romantic relationships.
Sex and Dating
As with family and relationships, this one perhaps needs a little care and tact, and it’s probably not something for a first date. When you’ve been out with someone at least a few times, however, then it can be fun to start talkin about these more personal and erotic things, even when you’re out and about on a date.
Most of us have jobs, especially when we’re dating others. We might have met our date at work, either by working in the same place, or crossing paths in the same field. Even if not, most of us also care about our careers, and it therefore forms a relatable topic for discussion. The main thing is not to be overly negative about your boss or co-workers. That can come right back and bite you in the behind. Talk about your aspirations and goals, what you’d like to change in your job, or some exciting things that happened to you that week.
Finally, another fun topic of conversation is pet peeves, which some might have thought would be too negative for a date, but actually it usually works out quite well. The thing about pet peeves is that we all have them in common. Everyone is irritated by something, even if it’s something small and seemingly insignificant. It can therefore form a fun topic, and when 2 people discover that they share a pet peeve, it might just be the first meaningful thing that they find in their personal lives that they have in common, which in turn can set sparks flying.
Conversation Topics to Avoid When Dating
Now, let’s take a look at some of the less-than-ideal areas of conversation that will most likely lead to awkwardness or even an abrupt end to romantic proceedings:
A good example of a “date from hell” would be one in which you sit opposite a man or woman who does nothing but spout vitriol and spite against an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, maybe even an ex-husband or wife. These people are often consumed with their own hatred, and if it’s you doing the spouting, then all you’ll do is come across as bitter and jaded. Those are hardly qualities you want to bring to date. It’s best to steer clear of the topic of exes altogether.
Sometimes, bad date experiences can be funny to talk about, just so long as they don’t devolve into personal attacks on the ex in question. Keep it about the date, and not about the person.
Talking about money during a date is tacky and uninteresting. If you’re someone who usually shows off, talking about their income or recent spending history, then you won’t find an interested audience, not anywhere. There’s no way that you can come off as the interesting party when you are the one talking about money. Every eventuality leads to bad thoughts about you from the other person.
This seems odd to say since we included it in the previous list of good topics, but what we’re really talking about here is vulgar, hypersexualized talk. There’s no need for it when you’re on a date, and it’s especially unsuitable for first dates. When you get to know each other more, and your relationship starts to really take shape, you can work sex more naturally and enjoyably into the conversation, but even then it’s best left at home.
Politics and/or Religion
Finally, we have the classic pair of topics: politics and religion. We all have our feelings and thoughts on these 2 topics, and in almost every single case when you’re on a date with someone, you should leave these things at home. Even if you tend to agree on many areas of either politics or religion, you are bound to find at least some — but probably more — areas where you disagree, and early on in your relationship when you’re just dating, then you really can do without the strain, the resentment, the bitterness, and the divisiveness.