Five Sure-Fire First-Date Conversation Starters

The first rule of first-date conversation: keep the focus on your date. You'll learn a little something about them whilst minimizing the chances of you saying something stupid. (Bonus!) But how can you suss out his or her potential…without sounding like you're on an interview? Just bring up these casual conversation starters.

Did You See That Thing…

Bond over the latest Hollywood scandal, hot television show, or popular movie. Just watch out that you don't sound like your whole life is spent in front of the tube. Scan the news headlines for an interesting story and ask for his or her view. Take care that your conversation doesn't get too political or religious, unless you're ready for your first fight.

Do You Have A Lot of Friends Around Here?

Get a peek into who your date is by asking about his or her pals. How did they meet? Where do they hang out? What kind of trouble are they always getting into? Insight into his or her family life can be even more revealing — what are her folks like? Where is he from? — but be ready to change the subject if any kind of dysfunction comes up.

At Least This Isn't the Worst Date You've Had, Right?

Past relationships are a bad, bad topic of conversation. But tales of past dates can be wildly entertaining to exchange. And if you're subtle, you can learn more about the kind of guy or gal your date generally goes for, and what he or she is looking for. Does she love nice guys or the bad boy? Is he looking for stability or strings-free sex?

So, What Do You Do For Fun?

Gauge your date's tastes — and get inspiration for what to do on date number two — by asking about what he or she does for fun. Where does he go on weekends? What kinds of hobbies does she have? Play, or just watch, any favorite sports?

What's Your Favorite Movie?

Here's where you're hunting for common ground. Do you like the same movies? Music? Books? Cuisine? Anyone who's watched John Cusack in High Fidelity agrees that "it's what you like and not what you are like that matters."

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