And here are some questions that you want to stay away from.
1. What Happened in Your Last Relationship?
It’s normal to want to know your date’s relationship story. But, according to Andy Whaling, MFT (Sunday Night Singles, 2000-2002), a first date is too soon to be talking about the ex.
And Terry Gorski (Getting Love Right, 1993) says you don’t want to get too intense. If you want someone who’s the whole package, it’s important to build the relationship in stages. The first stage is “Acquaintanceship/Casual Contact.” You’re finding out if you enjoy hanging out together. Do you get along? Would you like to get together again? So, as hard as it sounds — Try to relax and enjoy the ride.
2. How’s the Dating Site Working for You?
This question is especially tricky. Sharing your online dating horror stories is a quick and easy way to bond. But, just like it’s too soon to be talking about the ex, you don’t want to be sharing about other people you’re meeting on the dating site.
It’s kind of a lose-lose situation. If your online dating experiences have been awful, you’re sort of complaining and gossiping (which makes you look bad). And if you share that your online dating experiences have been great, that could make your date feel really weird. Probably better to just stay away from this topic all together.
3. Why Are You Still Single?
This is my personal favorite! It sounds like a compliment — How could someone as fabulous as you still be available? But, it’s really asking — What’s wrong with you? You look okay. But, I just want to cut to the chase and know why no one else wanted you so I can move on.
4. Do You Want to Get Married?
This is a great question. And you want to find out what they’re looking for before too long. But, a more important question is — Are you married now?
I’m not talking about someone who’s cheating (though that’s something to watch for). I’m talking about a date with someone who’s not all the way divorced. Maybe they’re separated and going through a divorce. They might even be “separated” but living in the same house with their spouse, especially in today’s economy. Trust me, you don’t want to get in the middle of that. In fact, Andy says it’s a good idea to wait a year after a divorce is final before dating. Because people need time to grieve and heal. So, if they’re not all the way divorced or if they haven’t had time to finish their grieving, they’re not ready to start a relationship with you.
5. Do You Want Kids?
Again, a great question to ask, but definitely not on a first date. Women usually have a stronger need to have children than men do. So, women — if you bring this up right away, he’ll think you just want him for his baby-making potential. It doesn’t mean you can’t find out where he stands on kids, especially if your clock is ticking. But, a first date is still probably too soon.
So, what’s left to talk about? Remember Andy’s first date topics (First Date Tips to Leave Them Wanting More). You can ask what they like to do for fun. You can share cool places you’ve traveled. You can talk about what you each do for a living. You get the picture. You’re visiting and chatting to see if you enjoy hanging out together. Because if you do enjoy yourself, you might want a second date.
Gorski, T. (1993). Getting Love Right: Learning the choices of healthy intimacy. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Whaling, A. (2002). Sunday Night Singles. Pasadena, CA.