Dating for the first time since lockdown? 11 ideas for what to talk about on a first date

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  • As search for what to discuss on a first date rises by 600% year on year.

    Did you know? There’s been an 600% increase in search year-on-year for what to talk about on a first date.

    And understandably so. Knowing what to talk about on a first date can seem daunting at the best of times. But pair that with an ongoing global pandemic and sixteen months of nothing but the best sex toys for company, and it’s no surprise that your dating game may feel a little off kilter.

    “Feeling apprehensive about stepping out into the big, bad world and meeting new people? Don’t. The great thing is, everyone likely feels equally as clueless and overexcited to be in new places and doing things again – you could quite easily bond over being socially awkward, in a social, sweet way,” shares Emma Clark, co-founder of new video-only dating app, Qemistry.

    “Nerves before a first date are natural – try to think of it as spending some time with another human being and seeing if you connect”, continues Qemistry co-founder Sachin Karia. “If you don’t, don’t worry about it. Bad happenings make good stories.”

    We’ve asked three relationship experts to share their top tips and ten fail-safe conversation points that’ll make any first date stress-free. Don’t miss our guides to the best dating sites and best sex apps while you’re here.

    What to talk about on a first date: 11 fail-safe topics

    So, you want to know what to talk about on a first date. First things first, a date shouldn’t feel like an interview, shares Clark.

    “Once your date opens up, try and stick to that topic for a while – explore it, rather than running through a list of rapid fire questions or talking over them when they answer. Remember to listen,” she advises.

    Struggling to get a date at all? Our guide to how to make your online dating profile stand out might just help.

    What to talk about on a first date: Smiling couple whispering at bar

    1. Find out what their philosophy on life is

    Sounds simple, isn’t – but will be a good starting point for establishing whether you have enough in common to book a second date in, share the experts.

    “I’ve never really been one for small talk, and after this year in isolation we’re all looking for real connection. So your first port of call should be to finding out what their philosophy on life is – asking them what their beliefs are, what their passions are, how they enjoy spending their time, and how they see themselves,” shares Karia.

    2. Get the unpopular Covid conversation out of the way

    For some of us, Covid conversations are essential – yet, for others, it’ll be the very last thing they want to talk about, shares relationship expert Charly Lester.

    But fear not. “Nearly 1 in 5 people (18%) recently surveyed by dating app Inner Circle* said that discussions about Covid safety are a must before meeting up, and almost half (47%) say they’re happy to chat about this, if it makes their date more comfortable,” she explains.

    So: to ask before or after the first meet up? “I’d suggest broaching the subject beforehand, so you know where you stand. If it’s playing on your mind, at the very least it’s a good idea to establish if your date spot is outdoors and if you’ll both be taking tests.”

    3. Ask about where they grew up

    And where they live. Do they love the area, do they have dreams of moving abroad or living elsewhere?

    4. Ask about their family

    Do they have a big or small family? Are they in touch and are they close? You might be surprised by common ground here, or even open up the conversation to discuss your family dynamic, too.

    5. Ask about their friends

    Similarly, asking in about their close friendships might be a good conversation starter. You never know, you may even uncover some friends in common.

    What to talk about on a first date: Young happy black couple on picnic in the park.

    6. Ask about their job

    “What did – and do – they want to do when they grow up?,” asks Clark. While a job doesn’t always give away much about a person, it can be a good insight into their aspirations.

    7. Ask about their house, and their living situation

    Do they live with friends or family? Are they close to you location wise, and are they planning on moving soon? Don’t bombard them with questions, but it’s good to get a feel for where they’d like to spend their life.

    8. Ask about their hobbies

    And try to find common ground here. Do they love sport – are they into running, cycling or weight training? Do they like live music, theatre shows or art exhibitions?

    You’ll likely have something in common here, and even if you don’t, hearing someone speak passionately about a hobby is always quite interesting.

    9. Ask about how their last year has been 

    Recent stats from Inner Circle found that over half of the single people they surveyed feel that their flirting game has taken a hit because of the pandemic.

    “Many may feel their social skills are rusty or their confidence has nosedived – so expecting yourself to effortlessly turn on the charm may be a tall order,” Lester continues.

    10. And check in on how they’re feeling – honestly

    This one’s important. “Get real with each other,” recommends Lester. “Perhaps you’re not feeling your best self at the moment – and you may not be alone there,” she says.

    If you are feeling anxious on your date, the relationship expert recommends being open about it. “Worried you’ve forgotten how to flirt? Tell them,” she advises. “It doesn’t have to be a heavy chat – but it could help break the ice and enable you to build a more honest connection. If the stats are anything to go by, your date may be feeling the same way,”

    11. When the conversation isn’t flowing? Find an activity

    Finally, give yourself some credit – first dates can be nerve-wracking at the best of times. So, afirst date after sixteen months of isolation and global chaos? “Flirty banter may not flow so effortlessly,” shares Lester. “We’ve been interacting behind screens for so long, it may take some time to get your groove back IRL.”

    That in mind, she recommends finding an activity for your dates. She reckons it’ll take the pressure off the conversation and add some variety so that those sparks can fly. Why not read our guides to the best rooftop bars in Londonoutdoor swimming pools, or best hiking routes in the UK? Fun dates if you ask us.

    What to talk about on a first date never looked so simple.

    Most importantly – don’t worry if it doesn’t go to plan

    Things not going so well? Don’t sweat it. “Chances are, you’ll be able to fill the silence on a first date purely by picking up on something they’ve said, relating it to an anecdote or commenting on it in some way,” shares Karia.

    Also important to note here – there’s no shame in ending a date early, they stress. “If you run out of things to say and you’re not clicking, chances are they’re probably feeling the same. Bow out early and politely – you don’t even need to create a made up pet and some kind of emergency,” stresses Clark.

    They advise this: when they offer to get the next round simply say ‘thank you, but I think I’m good… shall we get the bill?’. Anyone worth their salt should get the message, they share.

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