From First Date Dread to First Date Delight
First dates have a bad reputation. Most of you have probably heard and/or experienced enough first date horror stories to write if not an entire book, then at least several chapters, on the subject. However, it only takes one great first date to open the door to your next romance. If you’re looking for Ms. or Mr. Right, it’s worth brushing up on your first date skills and the Love Queen is here to help you do that!
What to talk about on the first date
TIP: Learn to bond by asking personal questions (but not too personal all at once!)
Your parents may have told you that it’s best to limit conversation with new acquaintances to impersonal, non-controversial topics. But chatting about the weather is hardly conducive to kindling a passionate romance and is not your best option to ensure a good first date.
Scientists have found that people are most likely to bond with each other when they move beyond light social chitchat. A study conducted by Dr. Arthur Aron and his team of researchers at the Interpersonal Relationships Lab at Stony Brook University in Long Island found that asking personal question can help foster intimacy between people. The researchers instructed paired volunteers initiate conversations using hypothetical questions such as:
– What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
– Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
– If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
These would be some great date conversation topics for your 1st date!
In the second phase of the experiment, the researchers gave volunteers more personal questions to ask each other:
– If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
– Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
– If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?
These are some good date conversation topics for your second date!
Finally, in the third phase, volunteers were given a new list of questions which delved more deeply into personal values:
– What is your most treasured memory?
– What do you value most in a friendship?
– Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
Try these questions on your third date!
Paired volunteers who were given the intimate questions to use as the basis of conversation reported feelings of closeness with their conversational partners, often exchanging contact information. On the other hand, a control group of paired volunteers who spent the same period of time merely chitchatting did not report any sense of bonding. You might want to apply some of this science to your next first date. The technique pioneered by Aron and his team, now known as the Fast Friends Procedures, has been found to work in a variety of settings. So instead of feeling tongue-tied when facing someone attractive over coffee or lunch, try asking some intriguing questions.
What to do on the first, second and third dates
If you’re meeting someone from an online dating site for the first time, make safety a priority. Meet at a public place like a coffeehouse or low-key restaurant where you can engage in conversation. Try breaking the ice with some of the tips in the section above.
Good date ideas
If this is a second or third date (or a first date with someone you already know, like a co-worker or neighbor), add some pizzazz to the occasion by opting for an unusual location or activity. Stroll through a zoo or aquarium or museum together, sharing observations on your surroundings. Go on a slightly unusual shopping excursion that allows for a bit of playfulness—perhaps a costume shop or vintage clothing store where you can both try on different hats or outfits.
Unusual date ideas
Shared activities can generate a mood of fun, dispelling any date jitters either of you might feel and give you something to talk about afterwards. Think about tackling a rock-climbing wall at a gym or going bowling together. Take a class together in some area of mutual interest—cooking; painting; yoga; fencing or whatever else intrigues you.
You can ensure that you both get your adrenaline pumping if you and your date, do something a bit daring—whether that’s riding a roller coaster or going bungee-jumping.
TIP: Scientists found that people who go on rollercoasters and theme park rides together on a first date tend to bond much better and meet again more than others who do something more ordinary. This is because sharing the fear is a very bonding experience and automatically brings you closer!
Other fun first date ideas
Don’t overlook some of the usual date activities. After all, there’s a reason they’re so popular. Movie dates, for example not only allow the two of you to learn about each other’s film tastes and have the film to discuss afterwards, but also allow you to sit together in the dark which can be fun on a first date!
One last tip! Be sure to check with your date about his or her preferences before making any plans. Springing a surprise on someone too early in a relationship is rarely a good idea. Remember, the important thing is building a sense of connection not making them feel forced to do something.
Good luck on your first date! Why not take a look at my article about best second date ideas and tips.