You know that point on a first date where you both reach for your water glass?
In terms of conversation kick-starters, you’re empty. The conversation reaches an anti-climactic lull and, with nothing else to offer verbally, you reach for your water glass in a desperate attempt to waste three seconds.
Maybe four, if you’re a slow drinker.
Listen: Sick of dealing with disappointing Tinder matches? Try ‘masturdating’, the art of dating yourself. Post continues…
You sent your best players out to bat far too early. Now the bench is looking real bare and you’re wracking your brain for any interesting fact or nugget that might springboard the conversation from the metaphorical ditch in which it lies.
Here are a few questions to keep up your sleeve for next time this moment inevitably arrives:
1. “You can take one holiday anywhere in the world. Where do you go?”
Talking about travel has a few key benefits.
Firstly, it’s easy. It’s light conversation, meaning you don’t have to delve too deep into personal issues or opinions or life stories. You can dance along the surface, while simultaneously learning about your date’s preferences and personality judging by what they’re into.
It’s also really, really universal. Everyone has their travel idiosyncrasies: some like camping in the African Kalahari Desert, while others won’t venture anywhere without a bathrobe and lap pool.
While this will start a light-hearted discussion about the type of travel you most enjoy, it's also undoubtedly going to bring travel stories to the surface, taking the conversation down some interesting natural avenues.
Everyone loves a good travel story.
2. "What's your idea of a perfect Saturday night?"
This may just be the question which most accurately indicates how compatible you and your date really are.
If you're after someone to sit on the couch eating Thai food and sipping Chardonnay with - but your date divulges their ideal Saturday evening be spent in a sweaty club dancing to 90s hip-hop - alarm bells should be ringing.
This question gets to the point without sounding overwhelming or intrusive.
3. "What's the biggest goal you're working towards in your life right now?"
Learning someone's ambitions tells you a lot about who they are.
Maybe their biggest goal is personal. Maybe it's business-related. They might be saving up for a car or trying to figure out the best way to ask their boss for a promotion. Maybe they want to re-kindle their relationship with their sister.
If they respond with "Nothing, really...", or can't fathom an answer, well that speaks volumes in itself.
4. "Are you a morning or a night person?"
This little gem helps see if your schedules will align.
If you're a 5am riser, while your date prefers dozing until the early hours of the afternoon, it's best you figure that out early. It's no dramas if you guys are polar opposites - if one's nocturnal while the other's dreaming by 9pm - it just helps to know.
That way you can figure out what you're going to make them for breakfast when they spend the night.
5. "Which member of your family are you closest with?"
I'm a strong believer in the notion that you can tell a lot about a potential partner from the relationship they have with their family. Or lack thereof.
Red flags may pop up if you ascertain that the guy you're interested in doesn't really speak to his mum anymore, whereas a normal, healthy relationship with family members is a good indicator of stability.
In saying that, keep an eye out for those family relationships on the other end of the spectrum... those that might be a little too healthy. If your date is 30 and still lives with his/her mum - we're not saying get out of there - but at least figure out if there's a good reason why.
Use these as inspiration; conversation starters that not only lead you into productive topic territory but also give you early insight as to whether you and your date are compatible or not.
Better yet? Say goodbye to the awkward silence.
What are your ultimate first date conversation starters? Let us know in the comments section below.