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19 Fun Topics to Talk About on a First Date (And What to Definitely Avoid)

19 Fun Topics to Talk About on a First Date (And What to Definitely Avoid)

That first date is finally here! You’ve been hoping it will happen for a long time now. The date’s been set and it’s right around the corner. You know where you’re going to go and even have your outfit picked out. Seems like things are really coming together. Then your mind starts to wander to what you’re going to talk about on the date. Oh boy.

A first date is kind of a big deal. While it’s a good idea to take the approach if things are going to click they will naturally, sometimes it’s hard to get to that point. You certainly don’t want to overthink it, that just creates analysis paralysis.

That being said, it’s a good idea to go in with at least a semblance of a plan that includes what to talk about.

In this article we will look at the right way to approach an initial date as well as 19 fun topics to talk about on a first date. That way you’ll feel prepared when the day comes around.

When you feel prepared, you’re more confident and things go smoother. Here we go!

Getting that first date

Getting a first date is not easy. I think back to my younger days and I didn’t really have a lot of first dates. Most of the time when I dated someone it was because we hung out in the same crowd. We’d see each other out on occasion and if we liked each other, eventually we’d start dating. There really wasn’t a lot of the formality of asking someone out on a first date.

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Technology has obviously come a long way and brought some tools for dating along with it. Sites like Match.com are popular as well as Tinder and a whole host of others. While it is certainly easier to see who’s available, it doesn’t make the actual first date any less daunting sometimes.

I have a few friends who have dipped their toe into the dating waters after divorce. To say it’s intimidating is putting it mildly.

One of my friends joined Match.com several years ago and told me it was basically like having a part time job. She talked about how she had to build her profile, set her parameters, and basically set things up the first time.

Apparently setting up the account and her profile was the easy part. The hard part was wading through the messages and winks and so forth. She said she spent 2+ hours a day managing the dating website. All this before she even decided to go on that first date. That’s not easy while working full time and raising kids.

I have a guy friend that has been divorced for over 6 years. He hasn’t exactly given up on dating but doesn’t put any energy into it. He says he’s gone on enough first dates to last a lifetime. He’s told me it is simply a lot of effort for two busy adults to find the time and energy to go out on dates.

The point here is that getting that first date is certainly not easy these days. It’s important to be prepared when you do have the opportunity for a first date.

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The right approach

Taking the right approach on a first date is essential. Of course you want things to go well, but at the same time there’s a lot to learn and find out about the other person.

A couple of things to keep in mind as your first date approaches:

First of all, don’t overthink it.

I have certainly been guilty of overthinking things and creating analysis paralysis. When you think about something too much, you tend to examine every little detail and worry over things that you shouldn’t.

When you do this, you become less natural and more uptight. Remember that staying inside your own head all the time is not the best place to be.

Secondly, remember to have fun.

When you approach a date with more of a fun attitude, it takes some of the pressure off. Tell yourself that this is an adventure and you will enjoy it.

If you worry too much about coming off perfect, you’ll forget to loosen up and have fun.

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If you don’t particularly like the person after the first date that’s okay, you’ve learned what you don’t like. And that’s just as important as figuring out what you do like.

Finally, being prepared will help you enjoy the date more.

I’m not saying you have to study like it’s a test. What I am saying is if you feel at least semi confident going into the date, that will typically lead to a better time.

When we are confident, we feel more relaxed. When we are relaxed, we have more fun. Which leads us to having fun topics to talk about on the first date.

19 fun topics to talk about

I’m going to start with 10 fun topics to talk about on a first date, and then you can take a look at another 9 you might want to bring up.

  1. Admit you’re a little bit nervous. Do this at the start of the date. More than likely the other person will admit to being a bit nervous as well. This will help relieve some of the pressure and create a mutual laugh.
  2. Where did you grow up or where do you call home. This is great to learn where someone was born and where they feel home is. Many times these are two different things. Plus it helps you understand where someone has been over the course of their life.
  3. Do you have a favorite place to visit. Some people like beaches, some people like mountains. Others like going to a big city every year while others like backpacking in their favorite woods.
  4. What do you have on your bucket list. Some people have active bucket lists where they try to cross something off every few years. Other people don’t have a formal bucket list, just a few ideas of what they’d like to do. It’s awesome to find out what others would like to do, sometimes it can generate some new ideas for you as well!
  5. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done. For some people, this is giving a speech in front of hundreds of people. The especially brave of us might have jumped out of a plane and been terrified the first time only to find out they love it.
  6. A go to drink. This doesn’t necessarily have to be alcohol or beer. So many folks are coffee connoisseurs these days. I personally know 2 people at work who know tea inside and out.
  7. What makes you laugh. This is one of my personal favorites. There is nothing better than hearing someone you know laugh in that way that you know really touches them. Could be a certain movie (in my case something along the lines of ‘Tommy Boy’), could be watching video’s of cats getting scared and jumping in the air, might be a baby laughing. We all have things that seriously tickle our funny bone.
  8. What do you like to do when you aren’t at work. A lot of people will say exercise and that’s great. Living a healthy lifestyle is a good thing. Usually there’re some other things besides that as well. Personally I like going to concerts as much as my schedule allows. The former drummer in me lives vicariously through concerts.
  9. Who are the people in your tribe. Some folks are very close to their families whether it’s their kids or their siblings. Other people don’t feel very connected to their family and have created their own family. Having a strong social network is a very good thing.
  10. Do you like to cook and if so, what are your favorite things to cook. I’m partial to grilling as I know a lot of other guys that are. I’m also pretty handy with a crock pot and lately I’ve been experimenting with baked casserole dishes. I enjoy meal prepping and can say I’ve gotten my fair share of compliments on my paleo frittata. Let me know if you’d like the recipe.
  11. Do you stay in touch with your childhood friends. This is a great question and a fun topic. Personally I have 4 friends from my days of youth that I stay in touch with and still consider very good friends. I have a few guys friends I’ve made over the past few years who have no clue what their childhood pals are up to much less talk to them. Life gets in the way sometimes. If someone does stay in touch with friends from when they were kids, it could give you a glimpse into their childhood.
  12. What were you like as a kid. What a wonderful way to continue to find out about someone’s youth. Were they the class clown or bully? Maybe they were super shy until they got into high school. Personally I was an art nerd all through high school and fairly withdrawn until my senior year. A popular girl took a liking to me for some reason I’ll never know and next thing you know I was with the cool kids. Go figure.
  13. What’s your favorite movie. Most people I know like movies or Netflix shows. Not everyone but most people. It’s easy to talk about movies or shows as well.
  14. If you could have your dream job, what would it be. Some people are working their dream job but let’s be honest, most people aren’t. Even if someone really likes their job, usually there’s a thing or two that would make it better.
  15. What’s your least favorite household chore. For most of us chores are a fact of life. They take up a portion of our weekends or after work. I’m fine mowing and actually don’t mind cleaning bathrooms but really dislike vacuuming. Never hurts to pre-plan if things move forward.
  16. What do you like to splurge on. There are people who love to clothes shop, others that have vast music collections, others that go on a great trip once a year. This gives you a peek inside what the other person really enjoys.
  17. How do you spend your holidays. You’ll find of course that many of us spend our holiday time with our families. Which family members will tell you who your date likes to spend time with. Maybe they do some holidays with families or come from divorced parents and rotate family holidays.
  18. What subject do you know really well. I call myself the college of musical knowledge because I can name the title and artist of most songs I hear on the radio as well as the approximate year the song was released. What subject do you know really well?
  19. Describe your perfect day. Some people’s version of a perfect day is laying on the beach. For others it might be binge watching a Netflix show. For me it’s being out and about on a sunny Saturday with friends and family finished by a BBQ on my deck relaxing as the sun goes down.

There you have it, 19 fun topics to talk about on a first date.

5 Topics to definitely avoid

Now let’s take a look at a few topics you definitely want to avoid on a first date.

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  • Politics – I think this one pretty much goes without saying. This is a topic best left for later if the dates continue. Discussing politics on a first date is a big no no.
  • Religion – Honestly not too far behind politics. This subject can lead to many a heated debate. Leave it for now.
  • Your ex – Yes, your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. Nobody likes hearing you complain about your ex and it’s definitely not going to get you any points on a first date.
  • Money – This is an area that can be a bit sensitive as well. Don’t want anyone thinking you’re bragging about how much you make nor it is great to initially discuss how you had to borrow $50 from your mom for this date.
  • Sex – Just no. Not on a first date. Plenty of time for this later if things go well.
  • Your must have list – It’s a first date, not your therapist. The person sitting across the table from you doesn’t want to hear that you’re looking for a guy or girl that’s either a doctor or a lawyer, loves cats, visits his/her parents every weekend, and has a secret passion for gardening. Nobody wants to do a self-measurement check on the first date.

Summing it up

There you have it, 19 fun topics to talk about on a first date and a few you should definitely avoid.

Getting a first date is hard enough. Once you decide to go on a first date make sure you approach it the right way. It’s about having fun, not stressing about and over thinking everything.

If you have some topics to bring up on the first date, it will help you feel more confident. When you feel confident, things should be more relaxed and you’ll enjoy yourself more.

The next time you have a first date, take a look at this list of 19 topics to talk about and remember a few to bring up. You’ll thank yourself later. Now go have fun!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Mat Apodaca

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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