Love is complex, random and usually happens when we least suspect it. Many couples started out as long-time friends who decided to take a chance on a date. Perhaps you’re in the same position and are wondering how to make that first date a success? In today’s blog, we’ll discuss what should you talk about on a date if you already know the person.
We suggest keeping the conversation fun, flirty and casual – this is a date after all and we’re looking to develop rapport! Talk about topics such as recent or upcoming vacations, life goals or events (new job, new house or new car etc), social occasions with friends and your passions. Use these topics to segue into other topics that build rapport.
We can speak with some authority on this topic because we were actually friends for a long time before we started dating! We’ll discuss everything that worked for us so early on and all our best tips to make your date a success.
Location of the date
Before we jump to the discussion topics, let’s talk about where you’re planning this date. Regardless of whether your date is extroverted or introverted, this date needs to be at a venue where you can hear each other talk (nothing’s more of a ‘conversation killer’ than yelling into each other’s ears!). So, let’s park the rock concert tickets and try for something a little more zen.
Quiet wine bars are perfect. We’d recommend buying a bottle of wine to share as it’s a classy and intimate experience. Cocktails bars with a hug of Sangria or Pimms can also work. What we’re going for here is a relaxed atmosphere to spend a few hours getting to know each other on a level above that of ‘just friends’.
If it’s ‘Dry-July’ or you just want to give the alcohol a rest, a picnic (baguette, brie and prosciutto) can also be a great idea.
We don’t recommend restaurants at this stage. Whilst this might be a good idea for the 2nd date (classic, romantic & great for a foodie!), it’s an unfortunate circumstance that your servers will need to interrupt you to take your order and provide all the necessities of a meal. These interruptions provide a break in the flow of the conversation (which isn’t what we’re going for here).
When we had our first date, we only knew each other from one dimension – i.e. the friend dimension. We didn’t have that deeper level of rapport that makes dates so magical.
Our advice here is to remove all expectations with respect to outcomes (e.g. a kiss) or getting to a second date. It’s more important to focus on having a great time and finding out whether you’re compatible or not. If the conversation flows (and you’re losing track of time), setting up the second date won’t even be a question 🙂 .
What to talk about on the date
As you may know from our other blogs, Lisa is extroverted and conversation comes naturally to her. Scott on the other hand in introverted and conversation comes less naturally – so the way he maintains the ‘conversation flow’ is with the ‘circle technique’.
In short, any conversational topic you might have can link to another. For example, a conversation about ‘future goals’ can lead to talking about ‘buying a first home’ which can lead to another conversation about ‘home decor’.
As such, it’s easy to see how your conversation can flow naturally from ‘normal topics’ into more meaningful/fun topics that create rapport with your date.
- You: How’s work been?
- Your date: Very busy, I’m stressed most days and the pressure’s not going away anytime soon. Thank God for the gym or I don’t know what I’d do!
- You: Oh fantastic! Yeah, I love the gym as well. It’s such a great way to deal with stress and keep healthy. I’ve been looking into making it a bit more fun recently though, have you heard of those ‘silks’ classes? Those performers build strength and get a great cardio workout at the same time.
- Your date: I’d love to do that sometime! My friend has been raving on about it for months! I should really give it a go…I’ve been dreaming of doing something more artistic for years but I’ve never been sure what path to take. I haven’t seen that much of silks though; I wonder what tricks they can do?
- You: Well, I heard there’s a local show featuring silks. I could get us tickets if you’d like to come?
- Your date: I’d love that! ^.^
In this example, we’ve started with something mundane (work), moved into exercise (gym and silks), then dreams and finally to going to see a show (much more fun and ‘in rapport’).
In the below diagram, I’ve modeled how these conversation topics link up to each other. Notice how ‘exercise’ and ‘dreams’ are topics that can be related to work. ‘Seeing a show’ (completely separate from work) is introduced by linking it via ‘exercise’ and ‘dreams’.
Unconsciously, most people will follow this model in their conversations.
Great ‘conversational circle’ starter topics include:
- Recent or upcoming vacations where you had an adventure.
- What you’re hoping to achieve in 2021.
- Recent parties or social occasions with friends.
- Life events (new job, buying a house, new car/other large purchases).
- Your passions (hobbies, dreams and how you have fun).
- Once you get the conversation started, allow your date adequate time to tell their own stories and bring up their own topics! (Nothing is sexier than someone who can listen!)
- Allow starter topics to run for a while before more serious topics come up (for example, what’s important to you in life, beliefs, opinions, current struggles or other topics that require a more advanced level of rapport between the two of you).
As you talk about topics in more depth, there may be times in which you reach a disagreement. There’s no point dwelling on this (and let’s not start a prolonged debate!) Back up the conversation (i.e. change the topic to something more general) and then go deeper again when it’s something you agree on.
In doing so, you create rapport at the points where you both agree whilst minimizing any awkwardness which comes from disagreement. This allows for the conversation to flow better and you two can build more rapport.
What to avoid on your date
- In short, let’s keep the conversation fun! We’ve heard that some people bring up topics which range from immigration policy to violence or even their ex. Generally speaking, this is not the time to discuss those topics.
- Try to also keep the conversation at a level at which your date can understand. Whilst Scott may have a Masters’ degree in Financial Mathematics, the finer points of Stochastic Calculus might be somewhat of a downer for a first date!
To sum it up
Dating a friend isn’t unusual, indeed it’s rather common. But the normal ‘small talk’ associated with dating someone you’ve just met won’t quite make the cut here. Our advice is to focus on attaining a deeper level of rapport over a couple of cheeky vino’s utilizing the ‘conversational circles’ and our other tips as described.
If you need some ideas for a second date with this special someone, we have a whole list on our blog ‘Our Top 10 Date Ideas for New Couples‘. All the ideas have been categorized by time of day, cost and who they’re for! We hope this blog helps you and wish you the best of luck for your date!