The First Date: 8 Terrific Topics for Conversation

You've made a restaurant reservation, switched in and out of three different outfits, and inspected your appearance so many times you've lost count. You're about to spend your first evening ever with someone with potential, but you feel tongue-tied. What can you find to talk about that will be mutually interesting?

"Keep it light, fun, entertaining and interesting," advises Stacy Kaiser, licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert. "Stay away from heavy, serious and boring."

Tips for Great Conversation

Here are some ideas for great conversation starters.

Recent vacations. Talking about a trip you took could quite naturally then segue into crazy (and humorous) travel experiences you've had, or a trip that you've both taken and that you both really enjoyed. You may find out that the two of you love the same New England vacation spot, or that you both hate snowboarding. Travel talk can also help you see if she or he is open to new vacation adventures.

A hobby you love. "This is a great way to connect," Kaiser says. "You may find that you both love going for long walks or something else that you might enjoy doing together on the next date."

A recent news long as it's not too politically or emotionally charged. You don't necessarily want to start talking about national politics, health care reform, or who you voted for in the last Presidential election. But if it's about a new smart phone application, the latest shenanigans of some celebrity, or some interesting sports news, that's perfectly okay.

What's happening around you. "I don't mean what is going on between the two of you, but with other people," Kaiser says. "Say you are in a restaurant and the waiter has an unusual quirk, or the menu is way too large. This might give you something to laugh about. You are trying to connect with the person on different levels." Talking about your surroundings and seeing if the other person has similar responses to a situation may clue you in as to whether the two of you share a similar sense of humor, and this can be very important in a longterm relationship.

A movie you have seen or want to see. Discussing a film keeps the conversation light at the same time that it lets you figure out if you have similar tastes and interests in cultural areas. And if there's a movie that you have both been wanting to see, it could make a great destination for your next date.

Siblings. Don't get into a discussion with your date about her or his parents (a divorce or separation might make this topic get depressing), but if you mention sisters and brothers, it shows that you have a caring side and an interest in her life. Plus a mention of sibs often can trigger positive feelings.

Food. Unless she's got issues surrounding food and alcohol, this is a fairly safe topic that can turn lively and enjoyable as you debate the merits of various types of cheese, what kinds of wine you prefer, and what your favorite types of cuisine are.

Friends. Most people enjoy talking about their friends, how long they've known them, where they met and how much their friends mean to them. With minimal prompting from you, your date will probably be able to talk endlessly on this topic. And let's face it, when it's your turn to share about your friends, you'll enjoy it just as much.

Topics to Avoid

Not every topic is so approacable on the first date. Here are some examples of what to remain mum on:

  • Past lovers
  • Divorced parents
  • Whether or not she wants a big wedding
  • The fact that you've got 5 cats that you'll never give up
  • How many children you want to have