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What Should We Talk About On A First Date?

Are you unsure what to talk about on dates? Worried that the conversation might get boring? Not to worry, here are 7 simple tips that will make it easy!

“I don’t know what to talk about,” is one of the most common problems my coaching clients bring to me.

For some of them, it’s a universal problem, but for most, it’s related to dating.

So to help you out, I’ve compiled a list of the 7 tips for keeping a conversation going that tends to make the biggest difference for most people.

Let's dive in!

#1: Find out what you are truly interested in learning about them.

Write a list, an actual bullet-point list, of things you would genuinely be interested in learning and talking about with someone who might become a big part of your life.

And I’m talking about things that go a little deeper than what they do for a living, or what they're favorite food is.

What are things you’d like to know about them as a person?

Some examples might include:

  • What are they passionate about?
  • What are the most important things in their life?
  • Do they value spontaneity or planning most? 
  • What makes them truly, genuinely happy or excited?
  • What does their social life look like?

An easy way to start this list is to write down anything you can think of off the top of your head first.

When you run out of things, make a list of which qualities, values, habits, personality traits, and so on that you’re looking for in a partner. Then create more questions around those.

It can be a good idea to keep this list on your phone so you can easily review it. But the most important thing is to start practicing.

And you can practice this with anyone, including your friends and family. Just think about which of your questions you’re not completely sure you know the answer to, and start asking them.

It might feel awkward at first if you’re not used to asking about things like these. But keep doing it as often as you can, and before you know it you’ll be an expert.

#2: Ask follow-up questions.

A lot of the time it’s good to not stop after you get the first answer. Instead, ask follow-up questions to invite the other person to go deeper into what they're talking about.

The first answer people give tends to be a little superficial and less personal. But when you follow up and they see that you’re genuinely interested in learning more, the flood-gates will often open.

Examples of follow-ups can include:

  • “Tell me more about …”
  • “That’s really interesting, please, go on.”
  • “What is/was your favorite thing about …?”
  • “What is it about this that makes you inspired/happy/etc?”

Check out this article about the everybody's favorite conversational topic to take these two previous tips to the next level.

#3: Listen to every word your date says.

And I mean listen.

Listen to every single word the other person says before you start thinking about what to reply.

You see, when you start thinking about what to reply while the other person is talking, two bad things happen:

  1. You stop paying attention and might miss important information or seem uninterested.
  2. You become less connected, and again that might make you seem uninterested.

Trust that if you simply listen to everything they say, you’ll almost always know exactly what to say when it’s your turn. At least if you follow the next advice.

#4: Stop trying to say the “right” thing.

Or the “funny” thing, or the “interesting” thing, or whatever.

When we put that kind of pressure on ourselves, it only makes it harder to actually think of anything to say.

Become comfortable with the simple fact that not all parts of a conversation will be great.

Some parts will be boring, uninspired, even annoying. And that’s fine. It actually helps create a more emotional experience. And that is important in potentially romantic situations.

So practice “blurting”. Say whatever pops into your head whenever it does.

And remember, the more you practice the other techniques in this article, the bigger the chance will be that one of them pop into your head just when you need it.

#5: Talk as if you were already close.

One of the major reasons so many people have trouble talking to strangers is because they believe they have to act differently than they do with friends.

But in reality, when you talk to someone the way you would if the two of you were already close, they get to see the real you. And that, after all, is who they'll fall for - not someone who speaks to them as if they're a stranger.

In fact, this is mostly what people mean when they tell you to "just be yourself".

They mean, “be yourself like you are with me”. However, most people take it to mean “be yourself like you are with strangers.”

And I bet you rarely have any trouble talking to the people closest to you, right?

You don’t worry too much about what to say. You’re not afraid of a little silence. You’re probably even funnier and more interesting with your best friend than you were on your last date. Am I right?

So imagine if you had all of these things going for you on dates too?

Practice speaking to your dates as casually and openly as you do with the people you're already the most comfortable with.

It will not only make you appear more genuine and let them see who you truly are – but you’ll also more quickly discover if the two of you will get along down the road. Better to find that out now, than after investing months of your life in them.

#6: Use silences to your advantage.

It is perfectly natural for a conversation to have a few silences in it.

It doesn’t mean you’re boring. And it doesn’t mean it’s a bad conversation.

But most people panic when silence happens. And when they panic they either make things more awkward – or run away.

Instead of doing either of those, you can turn a silence into your advantage in two ways:

  1. Build flirty tension.
    When silence happens, smile and look into your date's eyes. Then hold that eye contact for as long as they do. This will build what we call sexual tension (also called often “chemistry”). If you feel your heart beat a little faster when you do this – so will the person sitting next to you. And is a very good thing. (This will also, sometimes, turn into the moment of your first kiss;).
  2. Kill the silence with attention.
    When the previous tip isn’t appropriate – or your date quickly looks away – all you have to do to kill an awkward silence is to talk about the awkward silence. Saying something like “wow, I couldn’t think of a single thing to say there for a moment!” with a smile and a bit of laughter will usually turn an awkward silence into a fun thing.

#7: Smile & eye-contact.

Speaking of smiles and eye-contact, make sure you give your date plenty of both.

Smiling shouldn’t need any explaining. And improving your eye-contact is extremely simple. All you have to do is practice making eye-contact while you are speaking.

It’s easier to maintain eye-contact while we’re listening. So that’s what most people do. Which, of course, means that the amount of time we both look into each other’s eyes is short, since we both tend to look elsewhere once we start to talk.

So practice maintaining eye-contact while you speak. It will both increase the connection, the sexual tension, and convey confidence.

More tips for great conversations.

While these are 7 of the most important things you can master for better conversations, there is a lot more to learn, of course.

Here's my collection of dating related articles on this website. And if you want some help improving your confidence on dates, my course The secrets of confidence and communication will help you get there fast.

Hi, I'm TJ Guttormsen.

Since 2009 I’ve coached clients ranging from Olympic gold medalists and billionaires, to people who simply want more out life.

I’ve done over 100 national media appearances, published books, and created online courses that have earned several “Highest Rated” titles from their 11 000+ members.

Today I coach clients from all over the world, and teach seminars for business and events from my home in Las Vegas.

Come join me in my Facebook group, follow my Instagram, or subscribe to my YouTube channel for fresh content on a regular basis.