By Alyssa Roat, Crosswalk.com
There are few things more awkward on a first date than an uncomfortable silence when conversation lags. But perhaps even more maddening is returning from a date and feeling like you’ve learned nothing important about the other person.
Sure, they seem nice, but are you at all compatible?
Below are fifteen casual questions to help you truly get to know your date—who they are, what they like, what they’re looking for, and where they are in their faith. In no particular order, let’s get started.
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1. Have you read any good books lately?
As a writer and avid reader, I’m partial to this question, but it’s about more than just geeking out about your favorite titles. Unlike asking about movies or TV shows, books tend to bring out a deeper look at a person.
A recent movie someone has watched is probably just one of the newer big releases. Books, however, are far less restricted by what’s trending. Has your date been reading a nonfiction book? On what?
hat’s a good insight into what interests them. Have they been reading fiction? What kind? Do they like it? Why or why not? This gives insight into so many things—what inspires them, what values they hold, what sort of content they consume.
A lot can be learned about a person from their Goodreads profile.
2. Has God been doing anything cool in your life?
Asking point-blank questions about faith and theology can be a little overwhelming for a first date, so a simple question like this can help set the tone for a God-centered potential relationship. As a bonus, you get to learn about the things your date is excited about.
3. What is something you could spend all day talking about?
What is your date passionate about? Depending on how the date is going so far, this could be a fun question—“I could go on all day about why the Star Wars prequels are underrated!”—or a serious question—“I’m passionate about the problem of rampant homelessness in Los Angeles.”
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4. What are small things that instantly make your day better?
Pay close attention on this one. If your first date goes well, these are the little things you’ll want to remember to do for your date later on.
This question gives you an insight into what your date is like on a day-to-day basis. Do they really appreciate nature, or a beautiful sunrise? Can their day be made by a well-brewed cup of tea? Or does going for a quick run relieve stress? Maybe they really love when something gets done.
Any of these answers will be great insight into how God has wired the person in front of you, and how you can best encourage them!
5. What do you like to do in your downtime?
Jobs often come from necessity, not passion. A person’s hobbies are where you will often truly find their heart. Are they crafty? Into sports? Photography? Painting?
This is also a great question for when conversation may be lagging. People love to talk about their interests, and if you find that you have some in common, all the better.
6. What kind of music do you like?
If you can tell a lot from a person’s Goodreads profile, you can also learn a lot from their playlists. Do they like peppy pop? Are they more interested in instrumental? Do they love the drama of musicals?
Music tastes often tend to reflect something about a person’s personality or other interests and can lead to deeper conversation. People usually have amazing memories associated with their favorite music, and will light up when you ask them about it. It could also be an insight into their upbringing!
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7. What have you been reading in Scripture lately?
To avoid the impossible questions like “what’s your favorite book of the Bible,” try this one instead. Asking about a favorite book or verse may be a common question, but it puts the respondent in a tough spot. Out of the entire Bible, how is a person supposed to pick?
To lead to a more open-ended discussion, ask what they’ve been reading or studying lately. This brings up other questions. What led you to that particular book/passage? What are your thoughts on it? This is also an easy way to naturally have conversations about aspects of theology.
8. What is your favorite thing about your job?
Especially for young singles, most people aren’t yet working their dream job. However, there are aspects to any job to like or dislike. Perhaps your date is a waitress who really enjoys getting to know the regulars who come in. Perhaps he or she is a landscaper, who enjoys working in the sunshine rather than in an office. Perhaps a teacher loves the moment when their students grasp a new concept.
Asking this question sheds light on what your date values—and offers an opportunity to tell some interesting stories from on the job.
9. Would you rather be a space pirate or a mermaid ninja?
Okay, maybe not this question specifically. However, some lighthearted questions can rouse interesting dialogue and encourage laughter and camaraderie.
Other fun questions include: What mythical creature would you want to ride into battle? If you could bring one kind of dinosaur back from extinction, which one would you pick? If you had to have one movie villain come over for lunch, who would you choose?
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10. What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?
Talking about family can be a sore subject for some. However, by asking for one good memory from childhood, this allows your date to be as forthcoming or reserved as they would like to be.
It also opens the door for other questions. If they mention siblings, you can ask about those. If they had a hobby they loved, you can ask if they still enjoy it. They may mention a pastime with parents or other family members. Or, they may answer the question simply and move on—allowing you to pick up that family or the past may be sore subjects you should avoid for now, without embarrassing either of you by asking uncomfortable questions.
11. If you could go back in time and witness any scene in the Bible, what would it be?
Here’s another good faith question that can lead to a deeper conversation without starting things out awkwardly. It can be a lot of fun to discuss the merits of witnessing various events—and depending on how in-depth you want to go, might lead to a debate about who, exactly, you would want to be at the scene.
12. What is your dream job?
Some people may be actively striving for that dream job. For others, it might be more of a “it would be nice” situation. Either way, this question not only helps you get to know what your date is passionate about, but also where they would like their life to be headed. Some might hope to someday be a stay-at-home parent. Others may want to go into foreign missions, become artists, or be college professors. When looking at long-term compatibility, it’s important to take goals into account.
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13. Are you a cat or a dog person?
Or maybe they’ll surprise you and say “lizards.” This also naturally leads into whether they currently have any pets, and what sort of pets they may or may not want in the future. The sort of animals that people prefer can say a lot about their personalities, and it’s an important aspect if you’re looking at compatibility. If you’re allergic to cats and your date can’t live without them, that’s something to consider!
14. Are you working on any personal passion projects?
Whether this is knitting a scarf, writing a novel, or running a program for underprivileged children in your neighborhood, sometimes passion projects have little to do with hobbies or jobs.
These sometimes random projects can make excellent topics of conversation and lend a glimpse into your date’s interests and passions that may lie outside of what they may typically choose to identify themselves with.
15. What are you looking for in a relationship?
This question isn’t as casual as the others. However, especially if the date is going well, at some point this is a question that should be asked before things progress very far. Before those later relationship questions like kids and boundaries, it’s important to know what the other person wants in a relationship.
Are they looking at this date as something fun and casual? Are they looking more for an activity buddy than a life partner? Are they dating in order to pursue a serious relationship? Are they looking to date in order to find a spouse, or is marriage the furthest thing from their mind?
Even among Christians, there can be a variety of views on dating. Some may be comfortable with casual dating, even casual physical interaction, while others don’t date until they feel fully ready for marriage. It’s best to be upfront about intentions.
In the end, a date is an interaction between two people, just like any other interaction you might have. You are trying to get to know the other person—not impress them, not evaluate them, not interrogate them. If the reason for dating is to find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, there should be no pretenses.
Use these questions as they are helpful, but remember that being natural, and following God’s lead, come first. The person sitting across from you is just that—a person, a fellow human being created in the image of God and loved by Him.
Dating can be awkward, daunting, but whether you come away feeling you might be a good match with someone or not, every conversation is an opportunity to show God’s love to others and care for them the way He does.
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