two people meeting for a first date

5 Topics You Should Absolutely Discuss on a First Date (And a Few to Avoid!)

First dates can be a bit nerve-racking. As excited as you are, you’re probably nervous about saying the wrong thing, right? It’s normal! When you’re meeting someone for a first date, you want to make the best first impression possible, from your outfit to your conversation.

And guess what — research shows that it takes just seven measly seconds for someone to form a first impression. A separate study found it takes just a tenth of a second to determine whether you’re trustworthy! (Not to put even more pressure on you.)

Here are a few other interesting dating statistics:

  • 63% of men think they should pay for the first date
  • 70% of Americans have kissed on the first date
  • More than 32 million Americans use dating apps
  • 93% of women prefer to be asked out on a date
  • On average, men have six relationships before marriage and women have five

Interesting, right? Luckily, we have some helpful topic ideas to totally nail your first date. Here are five topics to bring up:

1. Ask About Where They Grew Up

A little trip down memory lane for them and some good insight for you! Usually, you can’t go wrong with asking about their childhood. For example, do they have any siblings? What state or city did they grow up in? What are some of their favorite childhood memories? What about schools?

Getting them to open about their past can give you a better insight into their personality and whether you have anything in common. Maybe you both enjoyed the same TV shows or music growing up, or maybe your families vacationed in the same spots. Talking about your childhoods is a fun way to boost your connection and get you comfortable with each other.

That said, keep in mind that someone might have a troubled or traumatizing past. If that’s the case, they’ll likely say they’d rather not discuss it, to which you should show compassion and quickly change the subject (never push it!). Doing so shows respect and boosts initial trust.

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2. Ask About Their Job

This is usually a pretty safe topic! Ask about their work background, skills, and what they enjoy most about their job. What are their ambitions? Any career goals? Opening up about your professional lives can reveal a lot about work ethic, long-term goals, and priorities.

If they are very career-driven, it’s something to think about, since they may not have a ton of free time. (Every situation is different, of course.) You can also gauge if they plan on staying in the area or if they’re willing to move wherever a job takes them.

3. Talk About Hobbies and Interests

This is another great way to find out if you have any common interests. It also gives you more insight into their personality and what they’re passionate about. Are they the outgoing type that loves the social scene? Are they more introverted and prefer staying in? Are they a movie buff or avid golfer? Are you fans of the same football team?

When you figure out how they spend most of their time, it will give you a better idea of how much free time they have and how often you might be able to see them. Learning what they like to do for fun can also spark future date ideas!

4. Ask About Their Friends

What type of people does your new interest hang around with? Who knows, maybe you have friends in common! You can tell a lot about someone by looking at their friends. After all, we’ve all heard the expression “you are the company you keep,” right?

Your social circle tends to reflect your own personality and can influence you without even knowing it. Usually, people befriend others that share similar interests, values, and opinions. Ask about their closest friends and what they like to do together. You should also pay attention to how they describe their friends — trash talking is definitely a red flag. You’ll learn more about the type of people they associate with and what kind of friend they are to other people.

5. Talk About Movies, TV, Music, and Books

Keep the conversation flowing with your favorite music, books, movies, and TV shows. Are they a true crime addict? Netflix fanatic? Star Wars “nerd?” What do each of you think are some “must-see” TV shows and movies? What was the last concert you saw? Who is the best live performer?

You can definitely keep the conversation alive with this first date topic since there are endless things to talk about! It’s another way to discover more about each other’s personalities. It’s fun to find out that you’re both into the same reality show or horror flick — you’ll be feeling more connected already!

Of course, along with first date topics that are great to discuss, there are those that you should probably stay away from. These include:

Talking About Your Exes

Yikes. (Internal cringing.) No one likes to hear awkward comments about an ex. While the topic of exes may come up later down the road, talking about your ex on a first date can come across like you’re not over them. (And if you’re talking about them on a first date, you might not be!)

It can be incredibly awkward to hear the person you like ramble about someone they dated in the past. Whether you’re talking negatively about them or not, we can assure you that your date doesn’t want to hear about it.

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Money Talk

You’re not there to talk about a joint checking account, so first date topics should never involve finances. If you disclose how much you’re making, it can sound like bragging. If you talk about how broke you are, they’ll likely be turned off by your stress and complaining. You’re on a first date to learn about each other’s personalities, not how much money you have in the bank. (Save that for when the honeymoon phase is over!)

Your Sex Life

Talking about how many people you’ve slept with or how many you’re dating at the moment can be very off-putting (and not to mention a little rude). It’s also incredibly personal for a first date! It’s probably a red flag if your date volunteers that information or asks you about yours. It may be a sign that they’re on the date for the wrong reasons.

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Work Drama

Just like in a job interview, bashing your company or coworkers isn’t a good look. You’re not in high school, you’re on a first date! They’re not going to know what to do with the information, since they have no clue who you’re talking about. It can come off a little immature, which is a big turn-off for your new love interest.

Your Deepest Secrets

You’ve just met this person! When it comes to first date topics, stay away from divulging too much information. Rattling off deeply personal revelations can be uncomfortable for someone who barely knows you. Not to mention, you don’t know if you can trust this person yet.

Marriage and Kids

There’s no better way to come on too strong if you spend the date hinting at how badly you want to get married or have kids. Odds are, it will send your date running! It’s totally fine to mention that you see yourself getting married one day if the conversation comes up, but don’t spend too much time expressing how anxious you are.

Talking Only About Yourself

It’s normal to get nervous and start rambling, but try to catch yourself from dominating the conversation. If you spend the entire date focusing on yourself without letting your date get a word in, it comes across as super rude. The conversation should be smooth-flowing and allow both of you to listen, respond, and ask questions.

When it comes to first date topics, the best thing you can do is keep it simple. After all, you’re just getting to know each other. Keep the conversation light, don’t hold back your true personality, and have fun! Stay away from super serious topics, inject some humor, and make sure your date feels comfortable. You’ll be planning date number two before you know it!

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