You wouldn't walk into an interview without preparing, so why should your love life be any less important than your career? Don't let yourself be caught off guard by any questions - here are the most common ones and how to answer them!
1. What do you do for a living?
Many of us don't have our dream job, but you need to sweep any negativity under the rug for a first date. If you're not passionate about what you currently do, write down at least two things relating to your work that you benefit from (ex. "It makes me more disciplined in all areas of my life!"), and then talk about what you envision yourself doing a few years from now. An un-glamorous job used as learning experience and a stepping stone towards a goal can be a wonderful topic to discuss if you approach it with a positive, prepared attitude! Now if you are one of the lucky few that loves their current job, you should have no trouble answering this date question - but make sure you take a breather from singing your dream career's praises to ask about what your date does!
2. Where are you from?
Give more than just the name of your city - we are all in some ways influenced by the place we grew up in or currently live in, and people want to hear about that! There are many ways to elaborate on the answer to this question, but a few examples would be to talk about your favorite places to go in the city, and the unique traits of the people and personalities who frequent those spots. If you don't know much about your city, take some time to research it and make a list of places to visit. Then when your date expects you to offer suggestions on things to do in your city, you'll be able to talk about your to-do list - and invite him/her along!
3. What are your hobbies?
For this question, you don't need to rattle off every single thing you enjoy like eating, sleeping, shopping, or playing video games. Take some time to think about the hobbies that define you as a unique individual, even if it's not something you necessarily do every single day. If you enjoy hiking but only in the summer, you're still allowed to name that as a hobby! Of course when you start spending a lot of time with someone, you may naturally fall into "Netflix and nap" dates, but on a first date you should be marketing yourself as an interesting person who will bring something fun and different to a relationship.
4. What music do you listen to?
Be honest with this one. However, if you either don't listen to much music or listen to just about anything, you should think about specific songs you know and enjoy, and then be able to identify the mutually shared attribute(s) those songs have. At least you will then be able to say, "I don't have that much knowledge about music, but I love anything with a high-power female voice!" That way if your date is more into music than you are, he/she will not feel like you are completely apathetic about it, and will be able to offer suggestions on what to listen to based on your description of what you like.
5. What TV shows do you watch?
TV shows are one of those topics that two people can discuss obsessively together for hours if they are both into it, but it can easily be an awkward conversation-killer if someone has no idea of the show concept, story, or cast. Furthermore, explaining the details of all your favorite shows can also bore your date, especially if you consider the fact that people watch the types of shows they naturally gravitate towards in terms of interest (basically, if your date doesn't watch a certain show, there's a high likelihood it's not the kind of show he/she is into anyway). Talk briefly about the kinds of shows that stimulate you, and then move on from the subject quickly if there isn't a specific program you both follow.
6. What kind of people are you usually into?
This may seem like an odd question to ask on a first date, but people are often very curious about this, especially when it comes to gauging shared cultural upbringing and values. For example, a liberal Chinese-American girl whose family has been in the United States for two generations may ask a Chinese man this question in order to see if he will be too "traditional" for her. This is a good time to change the topic - avoid talking about your exes on a first date! You can talk about personality traits that are attractive to you (ex. "I love talking with people who are passionate about politics - I learn so much!"), but avoid bringing up specific people from your past.
7. What are your friends like?
People ask this question not only to find out what kinds of people you associate with, but also the way in which you associate with them. Are you the ringleader of your group, or are you a supportive sidekick kind of figure? Tip: it is good to mention a wide variety of friends to show that you have an open heart towards people in general, and try to show that you are both independent and caring of those around you! Being the "alpha" of your group may seem attractive, but you want to also highlight the nurturing, supportive side of your personality. Tell your date about your wonderfully talented friend who is aspiring to be a singer, and the last time you went to one of her shows! Leave out any "sketchy" friends, those that have addictions, etc. That conversation is detrimental to a first date impression because he/she will likely think, "birds of a feather flock together..."
8. Where have you traveled to?
People take being well-traveled as a sign that you are classy and cultured, and it is also an easy way to initially connect (ex. "You've been to Madrid?! I was just there this past summer!") You don't necessarily need to have gone to the most glamorous, mainstream tourist destinations. Think of the places you've been to that have left the deepest impression on you, and mull over the reasons why you love those countries or cities so much. Is it the people? What is the vibe like? How does the architecture make you feel? Exercise your memory now so that you will be able to have an engaged, exciting conversation about your travels on a date. You don't throw away this great chance to connect and understand each other more by saying, "Um...I've been to a lot of places, but I don't remember much."
9. What kind of food do you like?
If you end up dating someone longer term, you will probably be having many meals together. Figuring out where you'd be able to go together, and what foods you can enjoy with one another is naturally of importance. Before you get to know someone well, you don't know if they are organic-food-only vegans or lovers of Italian food, so it is a good idea to show that you are open to trying lots of new cuisines and restaurants. Of course you should be honest about what types of foods are your favorite as of right now, but hinting at a playful open-mindedness is always a positive thing!
10. Do you have any siblings?
This is often the "opener" question for when a date wants to know about your relationship with your family. In general, people tend to gravitate towards those who seem family-oriented because it shows a capacity for warmth and love. If you have strained relations with your family, you should still speak of them respectfully, and then focus the conversation on those loved ones that you regard as close as family (ex. best friends, mentors/mentees).
Keep in mind that a good date shouldn't revolve 100% around you - while you're hard at work answering questions about yourself, remember to make room in the conversation for your date to discuss his/her life too!
Posted on Tue, March 24, 2015