Back in college I joined a financial business where I was taught the art of ‘rapport.’ Little did I know that this information actually would serve me well, not just in business, but also in my personal life. I’ve used this every time I meet someone new, when I’m getting to know someone over the phone or on the internet… and I know it works well on first dates.
There’s nothing like an uncomfortable silence to make a date feel more like an interview than a date. (To avoid this, choose an activity where you’re not required to talk the entire time. Read about it here.)
On the best dates, both parties see their role as a “host/hostess” as opposed to a “guest.” The host/hostess keeps the conversations flowing, while the guest sits back and waits to be entertained. If both parties act as either the “host/hostess” they both carry the burden of keeping the date interesting and lively.
But, oh well.
Regardless, you can show that you’re an interesting, interested individual. Keep this acronym in mind when you go on any date:
F Family and Friends
In order to act as a great “host,” you want to “FORM” every person you date.
This basically means asking questions about these topics, typically in this order.
Every woman likes to talk about her close circle of friends and family. If she has kids, I’m sure talking about them will get the ball rolling. Talking about friends and family will make her feel more at ease because these are people she loves and a topic she is very familiar with. Here are some suggestions:
Family and Friends:
Do you have any kids?
Did you know you wanted to be a mother?
Do you have any siblings?
How is it being an only child/only girl/only boy/having a lot of sisters/brothers?
Who are you closest to? Why her/him?
Where did you grow up?
Did you like growing up in the city/country?
Do your parents still live there?
Which parent are you more like? How?
What was it like growing up in your family?
Where did you meet your roommate?
Do you keep in touch with any childhood/college friends?
What kind of work do you do?
What do you like about your job?
What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
Do you like your boss/coworkers?
Is this your dream job and if not, what is?
Why did you choose this profession?
or How did you fall into this career?
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? What made it the worst?
What do you like to do for fun?
What would you do if you had the whole day to yourself?
How do you like to unwind after a long day?
What’s your favorite cuisine?
What’s your favorite dish?
Do you like to play any sports?
How did you get into that sport?
Do you play any instruments?
What kind of music do you like?
Have you ever been to the opera/ballet/a musical/live concert/sporting event?
Which ones have you seen? Did you like it?
Is there any place in the world you’re dying to visit? Why there?
Do you prefer large crowds or intimate gatherings?
The reason why it’s important to talk about family, occupation and recreation before motivation is because motivation delves into deep issues that people aren’t always willing to share up front. Sometimes they don’t know their underlying motivations for why they do things so they may not be able to answer your question right away or at all during the date.
On the other hand, most people have family and friends, a job and things they do for fun. The great thing about the motivation questions is that you’ll find out the most about what makes her feel satisfied and what gives her life meaning.
Aside from work and leisure, what are you passionate about?
How did you get into that?
If you didn’t have to work, what would you do with all your time?
(if they don’t have an answer to that:) As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
Looking back on your life and even in your current situation, when were you the happiest? Why then? (or why now?)
Also remember that after you ask a question, even if your date doesn’t ask the question back, you can, and probably should share your input as well. For example, when you ask her her favorite cuisine and she says,
“Mexican, because I grew up in Texas where they have the best Tex-Mex cuisine and I love steak fajitas,”
You can add, “Yeah, I’ve had some great Tex-Mex steak fajitas! At Don Pablos in Dallas. My favorite cuisine is probably Thai because I love spicy Asian dishes with a sweet taste. I could live off of Pad Thai.”
If she’s never had Pad Thai before she’ll probably ask what it is, and the conversation will just keep flowing!
So remember, FORM is mastering the art of conversational FLOW!