The First Date Quiz: What’s the Score?
Anyone who has ever dated has developed his or her own set of questions to ask on a first date. The objective is to gain some insight into the other person to assess compatibility. Some of the tests people use are downright odd. For example, if you have seen A Bronx Tale, you may recall that gangster Chazz Palminteri used to administer what he called the door test. After opening the passenger door of his car for his date, he would walk behind the car and observe her:
“If she doesn’t reach over and lift up that button so that you can get in, that means she’s a selfish broad, and all you’re seeing is the tip of the iceberg. You dump her and you dump her fast.”
The door test may not be very accurate, and it’s now irrelevant in the age of automatic door locks, but you want to have some kind of compatibility test to gain an understanding of whether you have any real compatibility with your date, or to uncover areas that will create a major conflict.
In general, think about asking questions in general categories to size up your date. You can start with questions about general interest topics such as favorite restaurants, movies, food, travel, etc., to see if you like the same activities. You can ask more probing questions about family, friends, interests, etc., to look for values, ethics, interpersonal skills, and other telltales that tell you more about the kind of person your date is.
Here are a few questions that serve as good conversation starters, and will tell you something about the other party:
How was your day? This is a safe yet very revealing ice breaker. If you get a negative response with complaints about coworkers, traffic, and life in general, chances are that your date sees her glass as half empty. However, if you get a report about something terrific that occurred, then you are with a positive person who looks for good things. The response to this question will tell you a lot about their perspective on life.
Do you like your job? If you can take the conventional question, What do you do? and turn it around slightly you will get a more carefully considered response. By asking if they like their job, you will not only learn what he or she does, but probably more about their perspective on work, career, and plans for the future.
Tell me about your best friend. This is a good way to give your date a chance to talk about someone other than himself or herself. It also gives you insight into the kind of people they like to be with, which can tell you a lot about your compatibility.
What do you do in your free time? This will give you a better understanding of compatibility, and help you gauge whether your date may be a workaholic.
Who are you closest to in your family? Again, this is a more specific question than tell me about your family and invites a level of intimacy and introspection. It also invites your date to share something personal about themselves but not too personal and will tell you about family dynamics and history.
What are you passionate about? This is an open ended question but it could be very revealing about topics such as religion, politics, personal preferences, or other areas that may or may not speak to compatibility.
Tell me about your last relationship. Ask this question if you are feeling bold and feel on the fairly secure ground. This is going to be a very loaded topic, but it will tell you a lot about your data as a potential long-term relationship. If he or she has recently broken up with someone, then chances are they are not ready for a long-term relationship right now. If they wax at length about how great or how evil their last partner was, then they may not be ready to move on. Tread lightly with this question, but pay very close attention to the answers.
These are just a few of the questions that you can use as conversation starters that will tell you a lot about your date. Of course, you can always take a page from James Liptons book and ask the 10 questions he always poses to his guests on Inside the Actors Studio. The responses will be sure to be entertaining, revealing, and a great conversation starter.
What questions do you ask on your first date? Is there anyone question you use as a deal breaker? We would love to hear it!