First dates can be quite nerve-wracking and you could run out of things to say which lead to that moment of awkward silence. Fact questions like “Where are you from?”, “What do you do?” “How many siblings do you have?” are the most common questions people ask, but can be quite boring and feel more like an interview than a date.
Also, fact questions don’t reveal who the person really is. It doesn’t give you insight into their personality, beliefs or passions. A first date should also not feel like an interrogation. So while you may ask a question, also volunteer information about yourself. Remember the reason you are here is to figure out if this is someone you could get into a relationship with; so you want to get to know them better. Goal one is to see if they qualify as a friend. Ask higher quality questions and keep the date fun, light and interesting.
Avoid general questions like “Tell me about yourself”. Seriously, that’s a tough one to answer in 2 minutes with a virtual stranger. Also stay away from questions about politics, religion, ex-partners, why their last relationship didn’t work or questions about salary. Also don’t spend your time dumping your “stuff” on them. One of the worst questions I’ve heard is: “Why are you still single?” Isn’t that the point of the date? What answer are you expecting anyway – that they give a list of their flaws?
So what questions keep the conversation fun and light while you still get to know the person well enough to decide whether you’d like to see them again?
- When someone tells you about their job, follow it up with questions like: “What’s the most interesting part of your work?” “If you could change something in your work environment; what would that be?”
- “What’s your big passion?” If someone doesn’t have an answer to this question, it could be a red flag. If they don’t have anything that they’re passionate about, they could prevent you from following your own passion later if you get into a relationship. If someone answers: “My family” or “travel” or “My church” or “sky diving”; it gives you insight into the type of person they are.
- “If you could trade lives with one person for a day, who would that be and what would you like to experience?” This keeps the conversation interesting and also reveals more about your date.
- “What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?” You can gauge the depth of a person’s character by their answer.
- “What is your most valuable possession?” This helps you discover their priorities and what is really meaningful to them.
- “What’s the best meal you ever cooked?” Boiling an egg really doesn’t count.
- “What makes a perfect day for you?” This will tell you what future dates would look like should you decide there’s enough of a connection to see the person again.
- “Who or what are you most grateful for?” If this answer comes easily, you know you won’t be taken for granted in the future. I would run a mile if they can’t come up with an answer to this one. Most narcissists cannot give credit to another person.
- “If you found out today that you only had 3 months to live; how would you spend that time?”
- “If you won a R5 million jackpot, what would you do with the money?”
- “What makes you laugh uncontrollably?” You may need this information to change the mood at some point.
- “If you could relive one day in your life, which day would that be?”
Now you certainly shouldn’t ask all these questions on one date but select the ones that feel natural to you. A successful first date has lots of laughter and makes you feel glad you took the time to dress up and get out of your home.
If however, despite your efforts, it felt awkward and you didn’t have much in common; let the other person know gently. It’s much better to politely tell someone you didn’t feel the connection than leading them to believe you want to see them again and then ghosting them later. Rather say: “While I didn’t feel the chemistry; I think you’re a great person and I hope you find the right person for you.” Polite but clear.
So if you’re single, take the leap; put yourself out there and most of all, have FUN.
Kas Naidoo – Relationship Coach and Matchmaker