Top Ten First Date Questions: How to Get the Conversation Started

man enthralled by woman asking great first date questions

A first date can be incredibly exciting (and the beginning of something wonderful), but it can also be very nerve-wracking.

No matter how much you have been talking to someone online, actually meeting them in person is different. After all, this is the first real chance to test out your compatible chemistry and, with that kind of pressure, getting tongue-tied is only too easy!

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To help keep conversation flowing, we have compiled a list of great first date questions: light-hearted ones to get you started and some more serious ones to give you insight. Remember, this time is all about establishing a friendly connection; you want to see if your lifestyles could work together, but don’t want it to feel like an interrogation! It’s all about finding a balance. Enjoy – and good luck out there!

1. What can I get you?

Whether you are off for a coffee (the most popular first date for our female members) or out for dinner (the male favourite),1 there is a good chance that there will be a bill to settle. And why should you offer to pay (or at least go halves)? Well, not only does it make your date feel special, it also shows kindness and dependability: two of the top ten most attractive traits for both men and women.2

2. Dogs, cats, both, neither?

You love nothing better than throwing a tennis ball for your beloved pug Rodney but find cats unnervingly haughty. Your date, however, is allergic to dog hair and comes as a package with Mr Tibbles the British Shorthair. Obviously, it’s not going to work out – and it’s best to know early. The flip side, of course, is that you both discover a shared delight for dogs or craze for cats, in which case the night just got better!

3. Where have you lived?

This one is a bit of a sneaky way to find out someone’s life story without seeming like you’re grilling them. Not only that, you get to find out if you share a passion for travel or if you both prefer the comforts of home. All that and the chance to hear a (hopefully) interesting anecdote or two? Yes please.

4. Are you an indoor or outdoor person?

Again, this is one of those first date questions designed to test whether you two have harmonious lifestyles. After all, shared leisure time is a big factor in any relationship. It’s a good idea to establish early on if you two prefer to spend Sundays with a duvet and an afternoon film or if it will be off to the Cotswolds at dawn with a rucksack, walking boots and a map.

5. What makes you laugh?

In a 2013 survey, we asked EliteSingles members about their first date expectations. The number one hope, for both men and women, was that their date would make them laugh.3 And what easier way to fulfil this wish then by knowing what it is that gets them giggling?

6. Tell me the best thing about being in (his or her profession)?

If you’ve been chatting online you probably already know what your companion does for a living, and even if you don’t, it’s bound to come up eventually! To avoid cliché, put an interesting spin on an old question. Asking your date what makes their job great gets you more interesting answers and gives them a chance to open up – a brilliant way to bond.

7. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever willingly done?

When you and your date share stories that don’t often get told it can create a feeling of intimacy. Start by dishing up your own tale, then ask your partner about a time when they successfully faced a challenge. This allows you both to feel a certain type of vulnerability that is ideal for forging connections.4 Just remember to try and keep it light-hearted: that story about the white-water rafting trip is perfect – tales about your ex are not!

8. Do you have a No.1 on your bucket list?

If you think that mentioning past challenges runs the risk of dredging up baggage, it can be a good idea to flip the question and ask them instead about something that they are really looking forward to. You get the same chance to build a rapport by sharing intimacies, with the added bonus of building friendship through encouragement.

9. What’s your happiest memory?

As with the first date questions above, this works for building a connection as it requires your date to tell you a story. That calls for you to listen – and, as it turns out, good listeners make extremely attractive relationship partners.5 As Dale Carnegie says in How to Win Friends and Influence People: “To be interesting, be interested.”

10. How much does a polar bear weigh?

Enough to break the ice! OK, this is a bit of a silly one but sometimes silly can be good. If all else fails, take a deep breath and remember that a date is, ultimately, about seeing whether or not you can have fun with someone. You don’t need to force anything. Relaxing and being yourself may not always guarantee a second date but, if you do get one, you will know it is because they truly want to be with you.

So there you have it. Ten first date questions that can give you some insight into your date’s life and passions without getting too intense. Of course, while these questions can be a good way to ease into a meeting, they shouldn’t be treated as gospel. Remember this above all – the right topic to talk about is the one that feels natural. These questions can get you talking but a natural connection? Well, that’s magic. Happy dating!

Want to find someone like-minded to take on a first date? Join EliteSingles today.

Do you have any great first date questions that we might have missed? Comment below or email us at [email protected]


1 EliteSingles ‘First Date’ survey, 2013
2 Lippa, R. A. (2007). ‘The Preferred Traits of Mates in a Cross-National Study of Heterosexual and Homosexual Men and Women: An Examination of Biological and Cultural Influences’. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, Vol. 36, 2, pp192-208.
3 EliteSingles ‘First Date’ survey, 2013
4 Maura Kelly, writing for Marie Claire, 2010. 7 Tips to Help You ‘’Click’’ with a First Date.
5 Susan Heitler, Ph.D, writing for Psychology Today, The Art of Listening: How Open Are Your Ears?


About the author: Sophie Watson

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