It can be uncomfortable to have a silence on the first date during the middle of a conversation. You start to wonder what the other person is thinking, you get self conscious about your own thoughts, “Should I ask her this?” “What about this?”
First dates don’t always turn out like the one in Pulp Fiction between John Travolta and Uma Thurman’s characters where they are both ok with sharing an “uncomfortable silence.”
However, you can focus on being prepared for silences and knowing what to say in advance. Does it feel weird preparing for a date by thinking of things to say? Yes. Does it feel even MORE uncomfortable being unprepared KNOWING that an uncomfortable silence might happen? Most definitely.
If you aren’t comfortable with meeting new people and going on dates, the flow of a typical interaction probably looks something like this:
Meet -> Small talk -> Drag out small talk -> Uncomfortable silence
That’s no fun.
Today we are going to take a look at 4 ways to have more meaningful conversations on the first date, and avoid uncomfortable silences. I have also put together a free PDF on 12 great questions to ask on a first date for a deeper conversation.
You may have learned a few interesting things about the other person prior to your first date. You can use those things during your interaction, and also branch away from them to learn even more about your date.
Tip #1: Ask “why” questions instead of the typical “job interview” questions
One common mistake a lot of people make is treating a date like a job interview. This is incredibly boring for your date and will suck the energy out of it.Asking the basic questions (Where are you from? Where did you go to school?) certainly has its place and serves a good purpose on developing a safety and comfort during the interaction. Instead of asking people so many interview questions, try digging a little deeper with a few “why” questions.
Boring Job Interview Questions
Him: “What do you do?”
Her: “I’m a pastry chef.”
Him: Where did you go to school
Her: Culinary Institute of America.
Him: What year did you graduate?
Fun, engaging Questions:
Him: What do you do?
Her: “I’m a pastry chef.”
Him: Interesting. Why did you decide to pursue that?
Her: I grew up baking in the kitchen with my mom. We used to bake every Sunday night and it was such a fun time for me. Notice how “why” questions dig deeper into someone’s personality? From this one question you can:
- Ask what her favorite dish to bake is
- Ask about the most memorable or funny time she experienced while baking with her mom
- Ask if there was a particular moment when she knew she was going to become a pastry chef
From these branch off questions, you are able to learn more about the person and can switch into statements instead of only questions.
Tip #2 – Prepare your “story” During the natural flow of a conversation you will in turn get asked a few questions. If you take the time to prepare you answer to be fun and engaging, you will make it much easier for the other person to learn more about you, and have a better conversation.
A typical response to, “What do you do?” is usually, “I am a ________.” There are a few ways we can improve this answer.
“I grew up in a family full of compassionate people who really cared. I wanted to find a way to give back to the world the same way they did to me, so I moved to California to go to medical school and here I am today living the dream.”
“I always loved art classes in school when I was a kid. At a young age I learned that being creative was a way that I could express myself. Today I do graphic design for a local ad agency and I get to help people tell their stories in creative ways.”
One framework for preparing a story is: Think about the first time your current job or passion made an impact on you. Chances are it happened earlier in life, or you always had an interest in it.
Example as shown above: “I always loved art classes in school when I was a kid.”
Next, why was it important to you? Why was helping other people important? Why was being creative so important? Why was helping people with their money so important?
Example: “At a young age I learned that being creative was a way that I could express myself.” Finally, how do you use that today in the world?
Example: “Today I do graphic design for a local ad agency and I get to help people tell their stories in creative ways.”
Tip #3 – Make a statement about the person
One powerful way to show that you have been listening is to make a statement about that person. This is best done during the middle of a conversation when you have spent some time actively listening to the other person and allowed them to open up a little.
You can say something like, “You know, it seems like you are a _______ kind of person.” Remember to be nice with your statement. If you feel undecided about the person or you aren’t connecting, keep the statement to yourself. People love hearing nice things about them, and when you show that you have been paying attention it will be well received.
Tip #4 – Ask open ended questions
Ask anyone of the following questions and you will have several different ways to branch into a deeper conversation.
- What are you really passionate about?
- What was your big win for today?
- How do you picture your life in ten years?
- What motivates you in life?
- What would your superhero ability be if you could have one?
- What’s an accomplishment you are really proud of?
All of these methods will get you on the right track to having a deeper conversation. I’ve put together a PDF with X more tips you can use to have a deeper conversation on your first date. To grab that, click here.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of the tips above.
Want to know how to set up your CMB profile to get better dates that are right for you? Check it out here
About Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB): CMB is a free dating service that helps members make meaningful connections. It’s designed for busy singles who want to find something real with little or no effort.