You see a couple sitting at a table looking nervous and awkward. Are they on their first date-Yes they are, no doubt about it! Visible and discernible clues are there- Both are well dressed for the evening but are not overly stylish; sit straight; scan the room, menu, and table setting; and making eye contact occasionally! The biggest clue of all: The snack laid out on the table is punctuated by strained silence and forced small talk. He seems tongue-tied, she seems self-conscious! Nothing is more nerve-wracking than a first date, especially with someone you hardly know. While dates are meant to be a precursor to an actual relationship, first dates are also mini-interviews disguised as social outings. A well thought out list of questions to ask on the first date and conversation starters is so important.
Phase 1: These questions are the key primers to be asked after you have said the initial ‘hello’. They will break the ice and give you something to converse about and set the ball rolling: Where exactly do you live in? Where are you originally from? Where did you go to school? What is your subject of specialization? Do you have any siblings? Did you get your present job in the campus interview and how long have you been in this company…
Phase 2: After the first drink arrives, it is time to get a tad more specific. Questions now need to be a good mix of casual and mildly inquisitive type that should allow you to start gauging his or her true personality: What do you like to do when you are not working? Are you a regular movie goer in the theatres or are you happy watching the Depending on the answer, ask what types of movies interest your date. Do you listen to music? Are you interested in travelling, do you have any trips coming up? Have you read any good books recently …..?
Phase 3: Things seem to be easing out and getting comfortable and now is the time to move on to some light personal questions, while making sure that neither of you feel compelled to reveal too much. These questions may sound trivial but they might give you some information. They can lead to some entertaining conversation too: Do you have any nicknames? Do you buy lottery tickets and if you happen to win, what would you do with it? What is your biggest pet peeve? What’s on your bucket list? What can I call you- a night person or a morning person? Do you ever cook? What’s your social life like? Do you have a big group of friends? Are you career-driven? What are you most passionate about…?
Phase 4: It is time to seal the deal—the last few minutes of a date are crucial to make sure a second date happens, if the first date had gone off reasonably well. If you think things went well, be not hesitant to let your date know of it. The last few questions should pave a smooth way for a second meeting while mildly hinting that you would be interested to meet up again: Can I split the check with you? Okay, can I at least leave the tip? How is work looking for you this week? Did you like this place? Any weekend plans…
Phase 5: This phase is tricky, and should be reserved only if you are really feeling strong vibes. If you are confident, ask if she or he would like to continue the date at some other place. Suggest some interesting ending to the night: Want to get coffee or some dessert after this somewhere else? My friend is actually having a party a few blocks away, do you want to stop by? Shall we just go for a short stroll…?
A first date is never too soon to get a basic sense of whether you share similar or compatible priorities and values; and whether there is a possibility for a supportive, shared life. To share your life path with someone, it is important to enjoy doing some things together, even if it is just having personally meaningful conversations and to support each other in your individual interests. By having both of these elements in place, you will have the chance to grow as a couple along the way and help each other grow personally.
Best communication occurs with an even and equal exchange between two people and also when one evinces a keen interest in the other. Spend some time talking about your interests too and see whether your date shows a genuine interest in listening to you. Remember that some of the potentials you meet may be shy or may need a few minutes to open up. Allow sufficient time to warm up by giving some information about yourself which you think will interest your date. It will surely help your date feel more relaxed. The trick to successfully vetting a prospect on a first date, while simultaneously keeping the energy light and fun, is in knowing what questions to ask and how to ask them. What not to ask includes questions on politics, religion, sex, and salary. They are too serious and too fast!