Whether your parents set it up, your friends or yourself – the first date usually causes a lot of stress when it comes to conversation. Horrific tales of silence punctuated by coughing or desultory talk of politics leading to a no-holds barred argument resound in our heads. So what are safe yet fun ways to start a conversation?
Choose safe topics. Movies, books, music – everyone has these in common. Start off either by asking if they’ve seen the latest flick or describe one you’ve seen and why you liked it. The other person will normally at least smile – and you’ve broken the ice!
Ask open-ended questions. Do you like soup? Yes. End of story. Asking open ended questions means that you get longer responses that could lead to better conversations.
Try to be your best self. Someone beseeched taciturn former US President Calvin Coolidge to be more loquacious by saying, “I made a bet today that I could get more than two words out of you." Coolidge famously replied, “You lose.” Wit makes you more attractive.
Do something. Plan your date around a movie or an art show or even a walk. Having something else to do takes the pressure off from making conversation.
Put away your phones. If you’re looking at your screen, then you won’t be talking. While we love our phones, put them away on a first date and you’ll be less distracted and freer.
Choose a favourite space. Choosing a restaurant or a café that you particularly love means that you’re in a familiar space, and you can also delve into stories of what you did previously there – a great conversation back up.
Go on. Chat yourself into a fun time!