Better Conversations – 9 low pressure date questions
Wouldn’t it be nice if the simplest questions could get us the answers we need? Or if we could answer a question about our hopes, what motivates us, or who we care about in a way that doesn’t sound like a cliché? Often if we’re asked about our values, our priorities, relationships, faith and anything that goes deeper than our favourite burger, conversational stage fright can set in. Or we can be so well prepared with a ‘good’ answer, we might not stop to reflect on whether things have changed or we’re being as open as we could be. Here are nine low pressure date questions to take a conversation deeper without awkwardness…
Instead of being put on the spot with a “Tell me about you” prompt, asking a question that relates to real life and positive experiences feels low pressure and enjoyable to respond to. Asking open questions – ones that don’t need a yes or no answer – also help conversation to flow. Tap into someone’s interests, passions and happy times, and you’ll learn what really makes them tick.
Here are nine low pressure date questions to help you get started…
What’s your favourite childhood memory?
A great way to help the conversation open up and flow is to revisit happy moments from the past. Forget the awkwardness of the moment and travel back in time. The first time you saw the sea? The thrill of the lights going down in the cinema and the screen bursting into life? Splashing through puddles and watching a rainbow appear?
Maybe that pudding only your grandparent could make, or the first time you tasted chocolate! Whether there’s one stand out moment or lots of little memories that come together, taking a trip down memory lane is both relaxing and revealing.
You may find you have fond memories in common too.
How did you meet your best friend/s?
There’s an old saying that you can know a person by the company they keep, and diving into a conversation about close friends is a good start. It may be that you don’t have just one BFF (Best Friend Forever!) but a crowd of people you’re close to from your school days, with lots of shared memories.
Or perhaps there’s that ride-or-die person that’s been with you through the highs and lows of life who you first encountered at work or church. Maybe a sibling or cousin is also your best friend, and you share family as well as experiences.
Learning about how someone starts and develops their friendships is very telling, and hearing them talk about loyalty, fun and trust moves the conversation into a good place.
What’s the nicest compliment you’ve been given?
Being on a date is no time for false modesty! If you’ve gone to the trouble of creating a dating profile, messaging and now talking in person, let your light shine. But it can be uncomfortable to feel like you’re boasting, even if you’re just being honest.
So instead of talking about what you’re good at, put it into someone else’s words. Your wonderful cooking. Your amazing sense of style. Your ability to pick the film your whole group of friends wants to see. Remember all those nice things you’ve heard about yourself and pick a favourite.
Often it’s the simplest things that others notice and care about. Are you a good listener? A relaxing presence? People will have told you so. Feel confident about the nice things others have said about you, and you’ll be showing your best qualities without feeling vain.
What subject could you give a TED talk / lecture on without needing to do research?
A question that provides the perfect opportunity to talk for two hours about your stamp collection! Well, maybe not. Instead it’s a great question to find out what makes someone tick and what matters to them.
Everyone has at least one or two subjects that provoke passion and even purpose. What’s yours? The perfect sermon length and why? How to cultivate beautifully scented roses? Why outdoor swimming is better than indoor? What makes volcanoes erupt? How you formulated the recipe for the world’s greatest chocolate cake?
Whatever gets you excited, whoever you date will – at some point – be hearing you talk about it, and may be experiencing it with you. They may share your interest! As well as a taster of how you spend your time and what interests you, it also lets someone see you in your element.
So, talk about your passions, share your knowledge and don’t be shy. Just remember to ask the question as well, and listen to the answer!
What skill do you most get called on to use in church and where did you learn it?
If there’s anywhere a wide range of skills could be called upon regularly, it’s church. Whether it’s playing the drums, flower arranging, welcoming people, working with children or public speaking, there are few churches that don’t encourage their members to bring along their talents and put them to full use.
Where did you learn to play the keyboard, or edit video? Did you volunteer yourself or were you asked? As well as giving information about the part you play at church, you’re also providing a picture of what your church is life, which helps someone know you better.
If you could recreate one experience from your life, what would you choose?
Questions that tap into positive emotions help make for positive conversations. Asking about important experiences can take a ‘getting to know you’ conversation to another level.
Maybe it’s the breathless excitement of white water rafting on a perfect sunny day or the adrenaline high of finishing your first marathon. Or something more serene – watching the sunset from your favourite spot or relaxing in your garden with a book and the sound of birdsong.
Sometimes the experiences that evoke the strongest emotions involve other people – a deep conversation with someone special, setting off on a trip with your best friend, or the first glimpse of a longed-for child. A niece, nephew, godchild or your own.
And, of course, it may be your experience of finding faith and a moment of change. Whether one thing leaps to mind straight away or several moments emerge, let the memory take you into a deeper conversation that shows what matters to you.
What do you feel most confident about in yourself?
It may take a moment to think of an answer, but there will be something. Changing a car tyre. Remembering birthdays. Knowing the best way to plan a journey. Running the perfect bath.
Sometimes it’s a more interpersonal thing: always helping others feel welcome and included, being a great listener, standing up tirelessly for an important cause.
For many Christians the simple answer to this question is “My faith.” But don’t just leave it there. If something has changed you that much, say why. What does this confidence feel like? How did you feel before?
Which fictional character do you most relate to?
Whether from a book, film, TV series or game, it’s unlikely you’ve never come across someone who thinks or acts like you. Ponder for a minute who it might be.
A superhero, if you’re feeling bold (and can fly), a Jane Austen heroine defying the social conventions of your day, a quirky personality from your favourite comedy or a Disney character (human or animal!).
Identifying what you relate to can be revealing. Whether it’s something you would maybe rather wasn’t the case – accident prone, shy, not a great cook – or something you’re proud to share – standing up for justice, engaging sense of humour – it’s worth remembering you’re also a unique person with many more characteristics and much more to offer than a fictional creation!
What’s the best surprise life has offered so far?
It may be the conversation you’re in the middle of is about to be part of a wonderful story of surprises, but whatever the longer term outcome, enjoy the moment.
The ‘best surprise so far’ could be something that changed the course of your life – getting the job you’d dreamed of since you were a child – or overcoming adversity to be where you are today.
Or it could be something celebratory – a surprise birthday party, a gift someone remembered you mentioning you’d love to have – or touching. Hearing from a great friend you’d lost contact with, or being part of a church that feels like home.
Next time you’re chatting with someone, why not try one or two of these low pressure date questions and see where the conversation goes?