Finding the right things to talk about on a first date is tough. Obviously, there are topics we all know are off-limits like religion and politics but what else? Should you talk about the latest movie you watch or travel experiences you’ve had? How should you respond to what your date is saying? Well, good news daters: All of those answers are based in science. Here are five things you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to getting to know your date on your first encounter:
1. DO: Talk about your adventures.
According to a study, 18 percent of couples who met up for a second date talked about their adventures while traveling on the first date.
2. DO: Be responsive.
We’ve all been on that bad date where the person didn’t say enough or said so much they barely let us get a word in edgewise. A big part of getting the spark going on a first date is actively engaging in the conversation by building on what your date says, and asking them questions, like a ping-pong match. Psychologists have found asking genuine questions to the person across the table from us exhibits warmth.
3. DO: Share a secret.
One way to feel mentally closer to someone is to tell them something you wouldn’t normally share. In Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You, psychologists say you can speed up the process of becoming intimate by having a conversation involving emotional personal information.
4. DON’T: Be afraid to be controversial.
No, you probably shouldn’t talk about politics or religion on the first date, but that doesn’t mean you should bore them with your favorite flavor of ice cream, either. Researcher Dan Ariely found that talking about taboo things like STDs, abortion, and previous break-ups led to livelier conversations more so than playing it safe.
5. DO: Ask what their favorite drink is — then buy it for them!
Are you the type to wonder if you’ll get lucky in the sack at the end of the date? Ask them what their poison is. According to OKCupid, men and women who drink beer are more likely to be down for sex at the end of the first date.