For those of you in the Seinfeld generation, you might remember George Costanza’s no-fail strategy for a pre-date phone conversation: an index card of talking points. WHAT A JOKE! A basic rule of thumb for dating? If the conversation doesn’t come naturally, it’s just not meant to be. Very few healthy and successful relationships can blossom from a dry, dull conversation. Unfortunately, we’re not all stellar conversationalists. So, here are a few starter topics for great discussions.
- Reel Your Date In
February is a great time of the year for film lovers, especially since the Oscars took place last weekend. Talk about the most controversial new movies – as well as any controversial Academy Award winners. You can get a taste for each other’s pop culture preferences. Is she into foreign films, like last year’s Best Picture winner The Artist? Is he a Quentin Tarantino fan, crazy about the new Django Unchained? This relatively safe discussion topic gives you plenty of room to get a better sense of your date’s likes and dislikes. Just try to stay away from more polarizing discussions, i.e. anything directed or written by Michael Moore.
- Tell Travel Tales
Travel is another great way to see if you two have similar goals. Maybe it’s always been your dream to go backpacking through Europe. Meanwhile, your date may have grown up in London before moving to the U.S. Or, if your date is more domestically inclined for travel, you two could share some really exciting adventures. Do your best to avoid some of your saucier travel stories, like your spring break trip to Cancun. Some stories are just better left untold.
- Be an Open Book
If you’re a total bookworm, you can get a feeling for your date’s intellectual level too. Don’t write them off as totally cliché if the first name they drop is “Michael Crichton.” Maybe your date is a closeted science nerd; you could stand to learn a lot from somebody with a strong sense of curiosity. Similarly, your match doesn’t need to hear that you read the entire Gossip Girl series after getting hooked on the show. Instead, think about something intriguing, but not so over-hyped. You can score serious points by recommending a book you really care about — one that your date might not have heard of before. Also, offer a book swap… it could create a sense of community, which is a great trait to foster during a first date!
- Dig Down Deep
Your goals and aspirations might seem a little heavy for a first date, but you can really learn a lot about your date if the topic manages to seem light and inspired. Perhaps your match feels trapped in his finance job and he’s really looking to start a business with his college friends. Or maybe the girl you’re meeting is happy in her position at a PR firm, but really dreams of writing her own book. It can be really motivating and fascinating to see a different side of your date. Just remember: this is a date, not a therapy sesh! Try to keep this discussion on the shorter side initially, and if the convo really picks up, you might be on your way to fostering a killer connection!