Real talk: First-date fodder can be daunting AF. You know what’s even more challenging? Trying to suss out whether your date is down for something serious without coming off too intense. Sure, you’re trying to go with the flow and trust the process, but why should you waste your time if they’re only seeking something super casual? That's why there are certain questions to ask on a first date if you're eager to assess whether you're on the same page.
Asking lots of questions is undoubtedly the key to a successful first date. After all, this is your first opportunity to get to know as much as you can about this person, which will then help you figure out if you want to get that second date in the books. But as for asking the right questions, it’s a little easier said than done. Dig too much into deep topics this early on (like, say, their last breakup) and your date might start to feel more like an interrogation. But if you play it safe and only ask lighthearted, surface-level questions about their favorite fro-yo flavor or what they’re currently binge watching, you likely won’t learn much about your date besides shallow tidbits.
Looking for a serious relationship? Ask these revealing questions to figure out whether your date has long-term bae potential.
What do your days off look like?
This question is a great one to ask for several reasons. For one, it can reveal whether you have any common interests — without asking the humdrum, oh-so-obvious “so, what are your hobbies?” question. Also, how someone spends their free time can tell you a lot about them — and whether there's potential for a lasting bond between you two. While all couples have their own unique passions, it’s important to have at least a couple things in common.
If they tell you they’ve been doing a lot of rock climbing lately and you’re about as outdoorsy as Paris Hilton, that’s something important to note. While it doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance, it does mean you may not be as compatible as you thought. On the other hand, if they tell you they’ve been doing some home brewing and you happen to be a huge craft beer nerd, then you have a shared interest on your hands — which means you not only have lots more to talk about but also some no-brainer date ideas for linking up again.
Where do you ideally see yourself in a few years?
You’re having visions of settling down with someone and staying put in your current city. Meanwhile, they’re fantasizing about backpacking around Europe and living the nomad life while doing freelance photography. If you have very different ideas of the future, that’s something you want to know, as it's a major indicator of compatibility.
That’s not to say that they won’t change their mind in a year or two — but it’s obviously a lot easier to pursue a serious long-term relationship with someone who sees themselves on a similar track to you in terms of their living situation, career milestones, having a family, etc.
What are your top priorities right now?
This is another question that’s sneaky revealing. Knowing what’s most important to your date will give you a solid idea of whether they’re interested in pursuing a serious relationship — or whether other aspects of their lives are making that unrealistic right now. Plus, you’re likely to be far more compatible if your priorities line up with theirs.
Maybe they tell you that finding “the one” is a priority — in which case, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Not only are they sure they want the same thing you do but they’re confident enough to openly share that with you. If they say that their family and friends are really important to them, for example, that’s also a great sign. Obviously, their relationships are a high priority. If all they talk about is advancing their career or making more money, that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t looking for a serious relationship, but it does mean you may have to accept some flakiness or rain checks on future date nights when they’re grinding away at the office.
How do you feel about [insert dealbreaker]?
You might have heard that it’s a bad idea to dive into serious topics like politics and religion on a first date. But IMHO, there’s one very key exception: If your beliefs or opinions on a particular topic are so important to you that you consider it a deal breaker if someone doesn’t share the same stance, then feel free to bravely bring it up.
Asking it in this way is far less intimidating than voicing your opinion outright and then putting them on the spot by asking if they agree. Plus, this way you’re more likely to get an honest answer because your date won’t be swayed by your stance.
Keep in mind that two people with different views can certainly still make a relationship work, so try to keep an open mind — it’s easy to make snap judgments this early in the process and your date may actually surprise you. Still, if there’s an issue that you feel super strongly about, you might as well get it out on the table before you try to pursue a serious relationship with someone who has a vastly different perspective.
What are you looking for?
You can try to subtly suss out whether your date is down for something serious all you want, but the best way to figure it out is just to straight up ask them about it. Sound scary? Consider this: If they freak out because they’re faced with that simple question — well, then you pretty much have your answer.
One of my BFFs makes it a habit of sneaking this question into a first or second date on the regular. She’s had a mixed bag of responses, but she insists it’s been worth going out on a limb. On those occasions when her date says he’s looking for a committed relationship, she knows she can relax a bit — she no longer has to play detective, and better yet, she doesn’t have to play any games, because they both confidently know they’re on the same page.
Before you invest in someone emotionally, it may be a good idea to assess whether someone is looking to settle down or are just casually playing the field. By discussing this in a very open, honest way, you minimize the chances of any misunderstandings and thus, hurt feelings.
The best questions for a first date are revealing and thought-provoking without being overly probing or intimidating. Of course, you want to allow details about your date’s life to naturally unfold (that’s the fun of getting to know someone, after all), but you also want to make sure your intentions line up before you fall for them. These are not only the questions that will uncover important info on what your date is looking for, but they’re also the ones that will hint at whether or not you’re compatible, all while bringing you closer. Quality bonding on the first date? The possibilities for the second are endless.