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Interesting Date Conversations Don't Always Happen Naturally, So Here's How To Spark Them

Whether it's your first date or your 10th, making conversation with a date isn't always effortless (and if it is for you, then please teach me your ways). Especially in the early stages of dating, convo can be filled with banalities about what you do and where you're from. When you're going on a lot of dates, covering these rudimentary topics over and over is about as fun as explaining to your relatives at holiday parties why you're still single. If maintaining interesting date conversations feels impossible to you, I've got some suggestions that will make interacting with your date feel less like an interview and more like an easy chat with a friend.

I spoke to online dating expert Julie Spira, and she says that the thing you should remember, first and foremost, is that neither you nor your date should ever feel put on the spot. "A date is not a deposition," she points out. "It’s a friendly way to strike up a convo with someone and learn about their passions and life experiences." Rather than starting off your next date with, "So what was your major in college and how is it relevant to your career?" you might try one of these approaches instead.

Share Travel Stories

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It's doesn't matter whether you've visited all seven continents or have never left the country — travel is something that anyone can discuss with a date regardless of their own experience. To get a convo going, you can ask your date about the travel destination they've always dreamed of visiting.

"Everyone has a dream trip on their bucket list," says Spira, "so ask your date — if they could hop on a plane to go anywhere with their passport — where they would like to go." You can then follow up by asking the reasoning behind their choice, as well as sharing your own dream travel spot.

"If they’re stumbling for an answer, ask them where they went on their last vacation," Spira adds. "Everyone has a travel story in their life, and it’s a low-pressure topic to bring up on a date." You two may end up discussing your whirlwind trips abroad or your childhood trips to the beach, but either way, you're sure to give each other some great insight into your interests and passions.

Discuss Topical Events

While it's probably not the best idea to ask a date you don't know very well about their favorite candidate in an upcoming election, not all current events are off-limits. From sports to tech news to reality TV shows, there are endless topics for you and your date to explore, and though they may seem impersonal, you can actually learn a lot about a date through their knowledge and opinions.

"There’s something very sexy about being with someone who is up on what’s happening in the world," Spira points out. "Whether it’s following their favorite sports team, engaging in the political debates, or reading film reviews of movies that are topping the box office charts, it shows you have a life and are interested in world and cultural affairs."

By bringing up headlines from the news cycle, your aim shouldn't be to defend your position or offend your date. It should be about learning what they pay attention to (and showing off your own news savvy as well).

Show Your Enthusiasm

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Conversations that aren't bolstered on both sides can easily peter out. To be an effective conversationalist, you shouldn't just supply interesting conversation starters and then rely on your partner to respond accordingly. You should also show some enthusiasm to help your date feel confident and to subtly let them know what interests you as well.

"When your date tells you something they’re passionate about, from taking flying lessons to going to spin classes, show your enthusiasm," Spira suggests. "Let them know you’d be happy to join them in the air or on a bike, or even suggest another fun dating outing — such as going on a hike — together."

I'm not suggesting you should be disingenuous, of course. If you really don't care all that much about your date's favorite contemporary art museum in Prague, then there's no need to egg them on. But if they do stumble upon a topic that really piques your interest, make sure that you indicate that so you can keep the conversation going. "If you find that you share similar values or similar activities, it’s the perfect opportunity to schedule a future date," says Spira.

Get Engaged

No, not that kind of engaged. A date is all about making a connection, and how can you make a connection if you don't engage yourself? A great conversation can take you and your date far, but a really captivating conversation usually involves an open expression and plenty of eye contact as well to make it clear that you're intently listening.

"Chemistry is something everyone desires but doesn’t always happen on a date," Spira says. "Having a killer smile can make someone melt, so be happy, look into their eyes when they’re speaking... [and] see if the connection grows."

Just as when you show enthusiasm, things as simple as nodding and smiling can allow any conversation to feel more interesting (and probably a lot less nerve-wracking for both parties).

While you can show up to your date armed with 100 different convo starters, the best date conversations usually happen when both parties are relaxed, engaged, and genuinely interested in the topic being discussed. The point of conversation with a date is to enjoy it, not endure it, so find a topic that gets you both excited and roll with it.