7 First Date Conversations You’ve Definitely Had Before That Are Relatable AF

Ah, the first date. It’s nothing if not a perfect fusion of fantasies about the future, awkward silences, and hesitant flirtations. Sometimes you ramble on about your 10th-grade horse riding championship while trying too hard to impress your date. Sometimes, you stumble over a question about your past and accidentally end up bringing up your ex. But if you're lucky, you find that you’re surprisingly comfortable with this person, meaning you’re already thinking: could this be future bae? There are endless possibilities when it comes to first date conversations — since you don’t know the person very well yet. What you talk about on a first date is pretty important, too: If you tackle the right topics, you can get a better sense of who they are, and ultimately, figure out whether you want to schedule that second date. (Admit it, you're already racking your brain for your availability next week.)

It's no secret that first dates can often be chock full of small talk. There’s a lot of ground to cover, from your careers and educations to your interests and upbringings. Ideally, the date doesn’t end up feeling a job interview, though (because TBH, it’s pretty tough to discern any chemistry when you feel like you’re being interrogated). Still, no matter where you go, what you do, or who you’re with, there are certain subjects — like loyalties to certain sports teams or music preferences — that are almost bound to come up at some point. How else are you going to figure out if you have a parter-in-crime to hit up the Rangers games this winter, or whether your date will be annoyed by your blasting underground hip-hop on long road trips? So, if you’ve been on a few first dates, these convos are sure to sound eerily familiar.

Lately, I’ve been really into bullet journaling.

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On a first date, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to be talking about yourself a lot (unless you're with someone who talks incessantly about themselves, never asks questions, and barely lets you get a word in edgewise — in that case, you have my full permission to bolt, sister.)

"I'm an ENFP." "I'm getting super into un-oaked Chardonnays recently." "I've taken up power yoga, and it changed my life." Yeah, all that "me" talk might feel a little uncomfortable (and borderline narcissistic) at first. But consider this: Not only does this offer your date an opportunity to ask follow-up questions that dig into your latest interests, but it helps them identify whether you have things in common, whether you happen to hit the same spinning studio or you're both dying to brew your own beer at home.

Wait, you drink mezcal, too?

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Whether you’re meeting for drinks, lunch, brunch, or dinner, you’re sure to notice what your date is ordering. Why shouldn't you? After all, what they like to eat and drink can give you an idea of whether you share similar tastes, which will definitely come in handy when you’re choosing a restaurant for the next date or ordering takeout on a rainy Saturday night down the line. And as it turns out, people are also more likely to feel closer to others who eat similarly, as well as trust them more, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

So go ahead, observe your date’s dish of choice and judge accordingly. Noticing these details can unlock a whole new conversation about, say, your affinity for Aperol or penchant for pancetta. Bonus points if your date happens to love cooking — in that case, you've pretty much got your next date lined up to whip up your mutual favorite dish. The only question is: your kitchen or theirs?

So, I’ve been binge watching Big Little Lies...

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Obviously, you’re eager to find out if your date is compatible with you when it comes to TV bingeing habits. So revealing the show you’ve been digging lately offers up an opportunity to determine whether they have similar viewing tastes.

If you happen to be fixated on the same series right now, you'll obviously have lots to talk about. But even if you don’t drool over the same show, you can still get a solid glimpse into your date’s personality with this conversation. Is reality TV their guilty pleasure? Do they only watch late night talk shows? Are they inexplicably obsessed with American Ninja Warrior? These are things you want to know now before you’re fighting over the remote on a chill Friday night in.

I just got back from Barcelona, and now I’m dying to go to Ibiza.

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Anyone with any degree of wanderlust is highly likely to tackle their latest trip or even muse about the cities that are on their travel wishlist. And research shows that this is actually a highly effective topic of conversation to address on a first date. In fact, Richard Wiseman’s studies, which are revealed in his book Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things, found that 18 percent of people automatically wanted to go out with their dates again when they talked about travel, compared to just 9 percent who talked about movies.

It makes sense, too. If you find that you’ve been to any of the same cities, you’ll have plenty to talk about. And if you discover that you’re both itching to hit up a particular country, well — you can start fantasizing about traveling there together if your romance pans out.

How do you feel about Trump?

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They say the two subjects you should never bring up at the dinner table are politics and religion. So it should seem like those two topics are definitely off limits on a first date, right? Well, some of us just can’t help bringing up the controversial stuff. Sure, you may get over-excited and nerd out. You may also be tempted to judge your date for their opinions — though it's always advisable to keep an open mind and try to stay level-headed that early in the game. However, it goes without saying that your date’s stance on certain issues will likely play a role in whether or not you are compatible, and whether you can realistically pursue a relationship. Besides, a study conducted by researcher Dan Ariely found that when participants were forced to tackle riskier subjects such as STDs and abortions, the daters rated their conversation as more interesting than when they stuck to small talk.

Some say it’s best to wait a few dates before digging into these serious discussions, but when it comes down to it, it’s all a matter of personal preference. Think of it this way: You and your date may disagree, but at least the conversation won’t be boring.

So, do you have any roommates?

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Knowing your date’s living situation is pretty important. If things work out, at some point, you’ll be heading back to their place (or, conversely, they may be coming home with you). So it’s helpful to get a sense of each other’s setup. If they’re living with their mom to save money post-college, that’s something you’ll probably want to know in order to avoid any awkward sex-related encounters. If they have some roommates, you can unlock a new conversation about how they met, and whether they’re close. After all, you’ll likely be meeting the roomies if this budding romance works out. And if they live solo, well, you may be less hesitant to swing by for a night-cap after an especially electrifying night.

How do you like data engineering?

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OK, sure — this one may seem a little yawn-worthy. But there’s a reason why "what do you do?" is what sparks one of the most common first date conversations. First of all, a person’s career path may reveal much about their values, work ethic, and aspirations.

Who knows? You may find that your professions have some overlap, and you share some common goals. Or, your date might be working in an unusual field that you know nothing about. Confession: I once went on a date with a guy who turned out to be an embalmer-in-training. Definitely made for some interesting first date fodder. In that case, you have the chance to ask plenty of questions and learn something in the process of getting to know your date.

The reality is that many of us — especially in our 20s and 30s — haven’t necessarily landed our dream jobs yet. And that’s totally OK. So if it seems like your date isn’t super enthusiastic about their work, consider asking them what they would be doing if they chose a different career, or what they would rather be doing. This can give you an even deeper look into your date’s real passions, which will uncover a much better glimpse into who they are than some humdrum 9-to-5 they landed merely to pay the bills.

Getting to know someone certainly takes more than one date, but there’s a lot you can glean from that first meeting. And there are reasons why these conversations are so common — not only do they reveal a lot about your date as well as yourself, but they can help bring you one step closer to determining whether this encounter is a bust or you've found your potential boo. Plus, if any of these topics are starting to feel a little stale, there's plenty of ways to spice them up. For example, instead of talking about their current job, ask them what the weirdest job they've ever had was. Or, instead of talking about your living situation, steer the conversation toward your dream abode.

Remember: There's no right or wrong when it comes to first-date chatter. Try to relax while embracing the inevitable nerves, listen intently to what your date is telling you, and don't try too hard to pose revealing questions. When the conversation is flowing freely, you won't have to force it — each of you will naturally let your guards down. And that's when the real fun begins.

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