This is your permission to take the pressure off. First dates are just about trying to figure out if you want a second date. You don’t have to have a person all figured out; you don’t need to have all the big questions answered. Why? Because determining long-term compatibility is going to take a lot longer than a couple of hours. Instead, focus on enjoying yourself. Keep the conversation light, and be present.
Forget the checklist of things you want to know about the other person and avoid interview-style questions. Instead, get a good flow of conversation going. Here are five questions that will hopefully spark it off:
1. What passion or hobby lights you up?
Asking questions that elicit an emotional response creates a connection. Everyone has something that lights them up! You can also ask about what they used to do growing up. Did they have a favourite sport? Were they a big reader? You can then share what lights you up. Maybe there’s some common ground there!
2. Tell me your favourite travel story
Travel can tell a lot about a person. Do they prefer beach vacations, or do they prefer to go off the beaten path? Are they active and adventurous, or do they prefer to sit by a pool? Are they interested in history or exploring new cultures? Hopefully, you’ll get a good back-and-forth exchange of travel stories, favourite destinations, and future travel plans.
3. What do you love most about your job?
Instead of asking what someone does for work, ask what they love most about their job. You will get to learn more about what they do and more about what makes them happy (see question #1). And when it’s your turn to share, very important to keep work talk positive and avoid talking about the mundane details about what you do.
4. What’s your favourite movie of all time and why?
This is an oldie but a goodie. Everyone has a favourite movie (or two). Make sure to ask them why it’s their favourite (that goes back to eliciting that emotional response). Share your favourites, too. It can also lead back to favourite movies growing up and shared experiences.
5. What’s your idea of a perfect day or weekend?
Asking about their ideal day or weekend allows for a glimpse into their lifestyle and priorities. It’s also a great way to spark a 2nd date idea! Do they love to go for a hike on the weekend? Maybe you could offer to join them for their next one if the date is going well.
These questions serve as conversation starters that will help you learn more about a person without being intrusive. They are light and designed to elicit an emotional response. Moreover, they pave the way for follow-up questions, deepening the conversation and potentially building a stronger connection with shared experiences.