Five First Date Conversation Ice Breakers

Is that the sound of crickets?  Yikes, awkward first date chunks of silence that knock their way into what was supposed to be a warm, chatty vibe.  But don’t worry.  You can defrost your first date and get it back on track with some of these conversation ice breakers.

1. “You look like you enjoy an active lifestyle. Tell me about it?”

You’re sitting in a coffee shop when the conversation slides into a bit of a silent slump and you wish the waiter would hurry up with the cappuccinos so you’ll have something to do. Instead of descending into the conversational black hole, take note of your date and any clues they give off about their hobbies, interests, or lifestyle. For instance, an artistic tattoo could be an interesting cue to ask them about what art they like; toned arms could signal that they like the gym or play specific sports. So, pay attention to how your date looks and what he says to give you a good ice breaker for that momentary quiet.

2. “Did you hear about the [insert something you saw on the news]?”

Asking about topical events kills two birds with one stone: it shows that you are interested in the world and what is occurring, plus it can reveal your date’s opinions about those things. This is great for helping them relax because they are speaking about something general. (Also, it is often in these moments that you can gain insight into one’s character – sneaky, sneaky).  When speaking about topical events or news, remember to stay away from religion, politics, and anything tragic.  You don’t want to become too serious on a first date or dampen the mood.  Interesting books, celebrity news, or something wacky are better topics. Keep it light.

3. “So, how is a guy like you single?”

Paying your date a compliment is always a good thing (as long as it is subtle), and asking about why they are single can help you suss out what they’re about.  He might say that he works too much or he is not really looking for something serious – which can help gauge what you want out of meeting him.  Also, this question is great because it can lead to other fun topics surrounding dating, such as funny bad date or blind date anecdotes.  Sharing a laugh is always a good thing for a first date.  However, avoid talking about your exes or most painful heartbreak stories because it’s too much information for someone you’ve just met.

4. Talk about your surroundings.

One of the reasons why first date location is so important is because if it is noteworthy enough it can help you to navigate conversation. For instance, sitting in a really cool 1920s inspired coffee shop can provide you with interesting artwork and décor to chat about, which can then flow into conversation about your artistic interests.  Another idea is to have a first date outside, maybe walking through botanical gardens.  You can stop and chat about the flowers, which may lead to questions about outdoor hobbies (hint: perfect for lining up that adventure abseiling for your second date).

5. Make a comment and run with it.

If you’re on a date with someone who doesn’t seem to be very talkative, then perhaps it would be a good idea to fill that awkward silence with something interesting about yourself.  This should be done in a casual way without making your date feel like you’re embarking on a brag fest.  Mention a little titbit of information – it can be anything that is interesting or would spark a conversation.  Now, take that piece of information and combine it with a fascinating fact.  For instance, if you’re having coffee, you could say, ‘I really can’t start my day without coffee [information about you]. Hey, did you know that caffeine can prevent Alzheimer’s disease? [interesting fact].’ Another idea: ‘I went to salsa class last night. Do you dance?  It’s such a great way to relieve stress.’  Throw it out there and see what happens. Even if he is not interested in dance or coffee, chances are he will then tell you what he is interested in (perhaps tea and Pilates?), moving you out of the silence and into the chatter.

It always helps to have a few ice breakers up your sleeve, but remember: sometimes a dash of quiet can be a good thing. It can signal harmony and comfort between two people.  Plus, scurrying to try to fill the gaps in conversation can make you look like a Nervous Nellie. Be relaxed so you can gauge what’s comfortable and what’s creepy.  If the quiet moment lasts a little too long, rush in with a cool ice breaker to keep things going.  Enjoy yourself!

 Image courtesy of twobee/
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I am a writer living in South Africa. I have been working as a journalist and blogger for ten years. I am passionate about writing, and I have to confess I love it even more than my favorite high heels and Lindt chocolate. Writing on the topics of dating and relationships is an interest of mine, and I love keeping my finger on the pulse of the latest dating trends.

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