Before asking or answering any questions, decide in advance to spend most of your conversational energies learning about the other person.
Knowing what to talk about during those awkward first few minutes on a date can be challenging. One of the best ways to overcome this awkwardness is to develop a few predetermined questions you can use to break the tension of the moment.
Before asking or answering any questions, decide in advance to spend most of your conversational energies learning about the other person. When you ask the other person questions about him or herself, you allow them to speak about something they totally understand and it takes the conversation from the awkward question and answer level to a more comfortable storytelling format for both of you. This is especially true if you tell them a little bit about yourself after they have answered your questions.
Here are three simple questions, each of which begin with the word, “where.” “Where are you from?” Having a geographic landmark helps you to create a mental picture of the other person and their personal history. A few follow-up questions might include, “What brought you here, and which of your friends and family still live back home?”
The next question is, “Where do you live now?” The mental picture continues to build. And as you reciprocate about yourself, the feeling of being strangers should begin to diminish. Follow up the second question with “what types of things do you do?” Their school, hobbies, work, church and other current activities give each of you discussion topics and more opportunities to find things shared in common between you. Many studies on dating and eventually marrying demonstrate the importance of finding someone who shares a great deal in common with you.
Finally, a simple question about the future, “Where do you hope to be in 10 years?” These three questions open you and the other person up to one another while not prying too deeply into one another’s lives. Most importantly, they provide you with enough information to establish the beginnings of a relationship or help you discern how much if any more interaction you’d like to have together.
Ron J. Hammond, has a Ph.D. in family studies from BYU and is the senior family analyst in the UVU Family Studies Program. He and his wife, Alisa, research the family and their website is at ldsfree99.com/products-page-2 .