10 No-Fail First-Date Conversations

Tips on how to break the ice, avoid awkward silences and enjoy a first date.

[Editor’s note: This may be advice for men, but women can follow all of these talking points, too!]

So you finally gathered enough courage to go talk to the cute redhead who caught your eye, but your friends aren't impressed just yet. You finally develop the backbone to ask her out, and now your friends are impressed.

They ask where you plan to take her out, and, more importantly, what you're going to talk about on that nerve-racking first date. Your knees begin to tremble uncontrollably, but fear not! Read this list and you will have the girl begging for seconds.

Number 10: Avoid her past
Generally speaking, one should never ask about past lovers on a first date. In fact, this should be avoided until she initiates the topic (if she ever does). She might have been hurt or may still be in love with her ex. You also prefer to start with a clean slate, so becoming chummy with her and comforting her about past mistakes may not be the greatest strategy on the first date. 

Number 9: Got any brothers or sisters?
Usually, a safe topic of conversation is asking about siblings (but don't ask her if she's got cute sisters). Asking about her parents could backfire if they divorced or separated, especially when she was very young. But sisters and brothers usually trigger good feelings and score points for you, since you're showing a caring side and an interest in her family life.

Number 8: Traveled anywhere special?
A tricky way to spark a girl's interest is by asking about her past travel destinations and where she intends on visiting in the future. The upside is that if she mentions a spot she always wanted to visit, lo and behold, here comes the knight in shining armor (that's you, boy) who offers to make her dreams come true one day by taking her there. This also provides each of you with some insight about the other's cultural background and openness to new adventures.

Number 7: Drinks, anyone?
A topic of conversation, especially if the date is taking place at a restaurant or bar, is the kind of food and drinks each of you prefers. Not only can you gauge whether or not you share culinary preferences, but the potential topics are endless and provide you with a safe topic of conversation -- unless, of course, you are dating someone with an addiction to food or alcohol.

Number 6: Any career plans?
Asking a girl about her past education and whether she intends on returning to school is admittedly a double-edged sword. She might love to go on and on about her numerous academic achievements, but she might break down and admit that her current job has absolutely nothing to do with what she studied. In either case, you are provided with a golden opportunity to reassure and encourage her with an abundance of compliments.

Number 5: How's your job?
If you are years removed from your college years, then talking about work and career goals just might be a safer topic. Admittedly, you shouldn't let her go into the mundane details about how fed up she is with her life, which would explain why she's on her seventh margarita. But generally speaking, people like to brag about work, no matter how routine it is. It also gives you an idea regarding whether or not you are dating a future CEO or a waitress for life (not that there is anything wrong with that, of course).

Number 4: Got any friends?
Ask her about her friends. Even if you do not know them, she will love to tell you about her circle of friends, how much they mean to her and where she met them (and all of the things they did together). Don't doze off, though, my good man; this is when you get precious details about her. If you ever make it further than the first date, her friends are usually the best source to unearth the skeletons in her closet.

Number 3: Free time frolicking
Does she Rollerblade, collect stamps or dance? How about sports? What kind of music does she like? These are the questions you must ask to determine how much of a bond exists between the two of you. Moreover, you gain some insight to follow-up questions.

Number 2: Weekend's peakin'
Not only do you get a clearer picture of what life with her will be like after the honeymoon, but you are also sending mixed messages, which is not entirely bad at first. Yes, mind games are childish, but keeping your cards at your chest gives you leverage. She will ask herself: "Does he want to see me on weekends?"

Number 1: Be bold and look ahead
Now, assuming she is having a good time and she is looking at you with that sparkle in her eye... in other words, if her body language is positive, you can look ahead and talk about other things you could do together in the future. Admittedly, you do not want to rush too far ahead and scare her off, but if she's enjoying herself, chances are she'll be curious to see what other great adventures you have in store for her.

Get Talking
Use these topic ideas as a general guide. Be sure to ask her lots of questions, but the key is to listen to her answers and form new questions around those. And remember: Don't be nervous. See the first-date experience for what it is: A good time with some good company, and that's all. This way, you'll be able to relax and have fun.

More from iVillage Canada:
Where Are the (Normal) Single Men Hiding?
Are you Making Enough Time for Love?
Contemplating a Threesome? 10 Dos and Don'ts to Consider

WATCH: How to Read Body Language: Simple Signs He's Into You

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