First date conversations can be tough. Nerves might have left you feeling a little shy, or maybe you don't want to seem like you're interrogating your date by asking all the questions you're curious for answers to.
We often get asked here at Spark Of Love for our tips on first dates, and our advice is always "relax and be yourself". Smiling and eye contact are great starters for ten, but mobile phones and talk of past relationships are definitely big no-nos.
Where asking questions is concerned, we're advocates for a common sense approach; don't ask your date anything you wouldn't be comfortable answering yourself.
But it did get us wondering what the Internet and all its many dating advice websites might have to say on the subject. So we've done some digging…
Alice Boyles, a social psychologist writing for Psychology Today takes a very matter-of-fact approach to first dates, advising that we use them to suss out potential compatibility issues. For her, that means asking questions like:
What types of people do you usually become friends with?
Are you a dog or cat person?
Is there anything you're really passionate about?
Is there anything you don't eat?
Relationship expert Sheila Bragg, meanwhile, has a slightly different approach in her Huffington Post blog on first dates. She prefers open-ended questions, designed to encourage your date to really express themselves:
What is your greatest passion?
What's your biggest dream in life?
What or who has been your greatest influence?
She cautions against asking questions leading into past relationships, religious or philosophical debates, intended future commitments (marriage/children), salary, or anything sex-related.
A discussion around first date questions on the website Quora threw up a response which was voted highest by thread-followers:
"Conventional boring first-date questions will yield conventional boring first-date answers (What do you do? Where do you live? How do you like it? Blah blah blah).
"My go-to question on first date is some variant of 'If you could be guaranteed success at just one thing in life, what would you attempt?'
"This question accomplishes several things - reveals your values, dreams, fears. It's fun, taps into our imaginations. It's just a spark for a genuine and meaningful exchange of core values in a fun and playful way."
Then there are the downright bonkers suggestions. Ali Segal in her hellogiggle.com article plumps for a more unconventional list of questions she uses to grill future partners.
Did you cry when Dobby the House Elf died?
Are toes important to you?
What would you do if you found out I'd lied to you about a food allergy?
We're not sure about those! But it did make us think about what other bonkers conversation-starter ideas might be out there, and we came across this hysterical Buzzfeed video, featuring such gems as:
Do you take bites of other people's food without asking?
Do you frequently ask questions about the movie you're watching?
Does your dog have a wardrobe?
Remember, you're only responsible for 50% of the conversation on a first date. The more natural you can be the better you're likely to enjoy yourself and come across well. But if you sometimes get tongue-tied or are uncomfortable with silences, it's a good idea to have a few icebreakers up your sleeve. Good luck!
Image: Cécile Graat; www.gracedesign.ni