What to Talk About on the First Date

If you’re wondering what to talk about on the first date, check out these five tips for making conversation.

These aren’t just tips for dating new partners; they’re effective conversation starters for anyone: established couples, work colleagues, and casual acquaintances…

Before the tips, a quip:

“No one can understand love who has not experienced infatuation,” writes Mignon McLaughlin. “And no one can understand infatuation, no matter how many times he has experienced it.”

If you wonder about the difference between love and infatuation, read 5 Ways to Tell If It Could Be True Love.  Sometimes we think we’re in love when we’re really just twitterpated. :-)  Below are five things to talk about on the first date — and these conversation starters are from Leil Lowndes’ How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships.

What to Talk About on the First Date

1. Parrot the key phrases. Repeating certain words is a sure-fire way to keep conversations going! For instance, if your date says something like, “The last time I saw a live concert was in the 90’s, when I won tickets to Elton John.” This is the perfect time for you to say “Elton John?” or “concerts in the 90’s” or “live concerts.”

More often than not, your date will keep talking about that topic. Try it — it works!

2. Throw “you” around. “Start every appropriate sentence with you,” writes Lowndes in How to Talk to Anyone. “It immediately grabs your listener’s attention. It gets a more positive response because it pushes the pride button and saves them having to translate it into ‘me’ terms.”

The fewer times you say “I”, the more attractive and friendly you’ll appear.

3. Practice “echoing.” Echoing isn’t the same as parroting key phrases. Echoing is using your date’s jargon or way of speaking. For instance, if he’s a pharmacist, he may not use the word “drugstore” to describe where he works (pharmacy is used more often by pharmacists). Or if she’s a skier she might use the words “chalet” instead of “cabin” or “ski lodge.”

The idea with echoing is to forge common ground by paying attention to the words your date uses – and to use those same words to keep conversations going.

For more tips, read 10 First Date Conversation Starters.

If you have any thoughts on what to talk about on the first date, please to comment below…

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10 thoughts on “What to Talk About on the First Date”

  1. I’ve been married for almost 7 years, and I think these tips are helpful whether you’re on your tenth anniversary or your first date! Making conversation is an art and a skill, no matter how well you know your conversation partner.

  2. These are interesting tips. They all seem to be about establishing some sort of common ground and common language.

    There’s a flip side to this, which is that just as you should try to find common ground, you should also avoid things that might immediately alienate you from your date. That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid political discussion (unless you met via membership to a certain political party, of course!).

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I agree that gimmicks aren’t good for first dates…but sometimes it’s good to have an idea of what to talk about before the date happens. It may help you feel relaxed, and ready to enjoy the date.

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Moses,

    Have you read 10 First Date Conversation Starters, here on Quips & Tips for Achieving Your Goals? Here’s the link:
    10 First Date Conversation Starters

    Also, I encourage you to be yourself! Talk about how nervous you are, or even how much you want to make a good first impression on her. Being authentic and real is a great way to keep first date conversations going — and to make yourself real and likeable to her.

    And I also suggest you ask genuine questions. Really TALK to her; listen to what she says, and be curious about who she is and what she likes. Don’t just ask questions for the sake of asking questions — be sincere in wanting to get to know her.

    I think the best way to stop being nervous and make great conversations on the first date is to forget about what impression you’re making or how you sound. Instead, focus on getting to know your date for who she is.

    Good luck — and I hope you come back and tell me how it went! :-)


  5. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your thoughts, Flora.

    Whether I liked or hated dating depended alot on my dating partner. Some guys were great to date, while others were torture!

    And I think attitude matters, too. You have a great attitude: getting to know someone without trying to impress him. I wish I would’ve included that as a way to keep the first date conversation going, because I think the relaxation that comes with that attitude will keep the conversation easy.

    Happy dating!

  6. Thanks for these first date conversation tips. I think they’re great.

    I love dating now but I used to hate it at first. What turned it around for me was realizing that I’m getting to know my date as a person, not trying to impress him with how wonderful I am! That makes starting conversations alot easier.

    I like dating so much, I don’t think I want to be in a relationship :-)