Let’s face it, first dates are tough. After you’ve finally figured out where you’re going to take her, what you’re going to wear, and what cologne to put on, you still have one tall order to fill: What are you going to talk about on the first date? This is where many women say most men come up short.

We asked 35 real women to tell us what men should know about first date conversation. This is what they said.

1. Make Eye Contact

During your first date conversation, maintaining good eye contact is crucial. This shows her that you are both paying attention and have nothing to hide. Pretend it’s like Star Trek and use your tractor beam on her, but don’t do the longing eyes googly moogly stuff. Your eye contact should be direct, but remember it’s not a staring contest.

“Eye contact is good, but keep your focus on my face. Do not stare at my chest. When I’m talking, I want to know you’re paying full attention. Don’t stare around the room and definitely don’t glance at your cell phone, even if your best friend just texted the score of the game.” – Gina

2. Be Confident

Another key to first date conversations is being confident. The same way dogs can smell fear, a woman can smell insecurity a mile away. Don’t think for a second they don’t know the difference between a cocky and confident man. You should project an air of quiet confidence at all times. If you’re insecure, stay home (or read 30 Tips to Help You Get Your Swagger Back).

“Your date will be just as nervous as you so don’t be shy…because if you’re both quiet the date will be even more uncomfortable.” – Geraldine

3. Follow the 40/60 Rule

There’s a reason why we were born with two ears and only one mouth and that’s because it’s harder and requires much more effort to be a good listener. Give her your full attention. Practice the 40/60 Rule. You should be talking 40% and listening 60% of the time. Two ways to show you are listening is to paraphrase and ask good follow-up questions. You don’t have to tell her your whole life story; just leave clues. If she is interested, she’ll ask you—let her play Nancy Drew.

“Don’t reveal too much during first date conversations. A little mystery is always appreciated.” – Sylvia

“While a date is about getting to know someone, too many ‘I’s’ comes off as self-centered. Instead, ask ‘Do you’ or ‘Have you,’ wait for response and then add your two cents.” – Pearl

“Don’t brag about your Benz, your money, your house, or your $500 jeans. Unless the girl is a money-hungry hussie, all that superficial crap is not impressive. It’s more irritating than anything.” – Ella Mei

4. Tell Her What You Are Passionate About

When we talk about things we are truly passionate about, there is almost always a certain type of energy or excitement we exude. Tell her about what makes you tick, what gets you going, the projects you are involved with and how much fun you have doing it.

“I wouldn’t have said yes to the first date if I didn’t already think he was cute. On the first date, what I’m really looking for is for him to show me he has some fire under the hood.” – Kelli

5. Make Her Laugh

They say humor is the shortest distance between two people. Heed this advice and make her laugh so hard the pasta noodle comes out her nose. If you can make her laugh at least 5 times during the date, you’re halfway home.

“It’s good to be funny, so make jokes, but don’t be too schtick-y. I would avoid overly sexual jokes, or anything that could be seen as racist or sexist (at least until you get to know her better).” – Emily

“I’ll be honest, if a guy can make me laugh on a first date, there will definitely be a second.” – Patricia

6. Show Her Your Carmen Sandiego Side

Travel is always a great first date conversation piece. Talk about where you’ve been, what you learned, what you saw, and where you want to go next. If you’ve done your job, she’ll be picturing herself with you on that next trip. Oh and if you’ve never really left the shire all that much–shame on you!

“Nothing interests me more than a guy that is well-traveled. It shows he is willing to step out and see new things. It’s boring when a guy says ‘Oh, I don’t leave the city much’ or ‘I’ve only been to LA and Vegas.’” – Gina

7. Concentrate on Me Too’s

Concentrate on trying to say “me too.” If she says she loves reality shows, you should say me too! (provided that you do like them). This can be done with movies, TV shows, music, books, hobbies and practically anything. The key here is to try to find things that you are both interested in and you’ll find that things get easier from there.

“Relate to her on the same favorite movie or type of movie you like and analyze them with her. Challenge her on what she thought about the ending.” – Mira

“Shoot for something meaningful–not too deep as it will scare her, but meaty enough to have a real exchange about–but also quirky.” – Dominique

8. Show Her You’re Plugged In

Talk about what’s current. You don’t have to know about all the latest celeb gossip or be up on all the current events (chances are she’s not either). But do notice what’s current with her. Maybe she got a new haircut since the last time you saw her at so and so’s party. Or maybe tell her again what caught your eye about her in the first place. Let her know that you notice her (women love that stuff).

“Give her a compliment or make a comment on something you know she specifically wore for the date. It could be an article of clothing, her hair, shoes, or something decorative like a bracelet. Noticing the little details of the effort she’s made goes a long way.” – Lory

9. Don’t Say We Unless You Mean Wii

Even if the date is going really well don’t jump the gun and talk about future plans together. This will only get you more dates with your PS3 or Xbox. Sure it might work with some women, but majority of the time it scares them off. This is definitely a first date conversation no-no.

“Don’t assume a second date is a given or start saying ‘we this’ and ‘we that.’ Take it slow because you don’t want to come on too strong, too soon.” – Danica

10. Don’t Just Be Yourself, Be You-nique

I know you were waiting to hear “Just Be Yourself,” but you are not going to get that stock answer here. Just be yourself is an old standby answer that everyone will tell you because it’s easy to say and also requires almost no effort. If you are truly into this woman, I challenge you to go above and beyond your usual table talk and be You-nique. Standout! Being you-nique is all about being interesting. Talk about things she’s probably never heard of before. Make her feel like she’s never met anyone else like you. If you follow this last tip just right, I can assure you she’ll be raving to all of her friends about you and calling you for the second date.

I’d like to thank all the women who submitted their tips on first date conversations. I truly had a lot of fun writing this piece.


36 Responses to “10 Surefire First Date Conversation Tips”

  1. David Carmona (pixellite.com) on March 6th, 2008 10:56 am

    “Pretend it’s like Star Trek and use your tractor beam on her, but don’t do the longing eyes googly moogly stuff.”

    What an awesome line from the get-go,..Thank you and wonderful articles targeted towards dorks like me. I continue to read your wonderful paragraphs and hopefully…just hopefully….one day,…I’ll be able to talk to a girl….All because of you,…THANK YOU PLOOMY!

    I was stuck on visiting men.com, and came to the realization that all they cared about was ad’s,..I love being here.

  2. jayleck on March 6th, 2008 2:18 pm

    Sometimes too much ME TOO’s can get annoying. I prefer to have a little bit of difference with the gal and mix it up. The best first date conversations are the one’s that start off with a good toasting. Good read.

  3. Peter Holt on March 7th, 2008 7:44 am

    This is horseshit. Women don’t want to be talked to like this. They want you to talk 90% of the time and be manly. This is for sensitive guys only. Wimps.

  4. Anna in D.C. on March 7th, 2008 7:48 am

    I enjoyed the read. Gentlemen, it’s true you all talk way too much. Make us feel special and make it all about us on the first date.

    On the first date….pick us up, pull the chair out for me, let me order first, let me talk before you interrupt, and definitely pay for the bill.

    Is that asking for too much?

  5. a girl on March 7th, 2008 11:02 am

    Peter. Women want men to talk 90% of the time… and bore the shit of her? Either you impress her SO much about yourself that she can care less if you blab all night, OR… you just don’t get laid much. My guess is that you do neither.

  6. V-may on March 7th, 2008 11:30 am

    1) guys shouldn’t compliment too much.. it makes them
    seem insincere. 2 or 3 on a date is great!

    2) and avoid touchy subjects like religion and
    politics. you want to keep the conversation light and
    get to know the person. you don’t want to argue about
    different views on the 1st date!!!

  7. percy on March 7th, 2008 2:16 pm

    Based on the comments from the women who contributed to this article, I don’t think I’d date not a one of them. Let guys be guys would you. The last thing we want is to change who we are for you. This is the problem with most girls these days. They read crap like this and then cry to their girlfriends on why he won’t change for you. I am now happily engaged, but have done my fair share of dating in my time. Girls expect guys to kneel before them and tell them everything they want to hear and then get all pissed when we aren’t the same 2 months in. Well I got something for you ladies to hear, we’re not changing. And the ones that do are doing it for the wrong reasons.

  8. Jenn on March 7th, 2008 2:29 pm

    The best I advice could give you guys is just to be “refreshing”. More than anything just be refreshing.

  9. THE ONE on March 7th, 2008 3:16 pm

    great points….but i go with one simple rule BEING MYSELF…and if she isn’t feeling me then so be it…move on to the next

  10. mira on March 7th, 2008 4:59 pm

    i agree entirely with percy and “the one”. really, just be yourself. why waste time on a broad who won’t like you for who you are. otherwise, you’re working too hard to impress the wrong girl for you.

  11. kram on March 7th, 2008 5:13 pm

    i agree. be yourself. but i think some people here are taking it way over the top. “first date” tips, not “lifetime tips”.

  12. trekkie4u on March 7th, 2008 5:25 pm

    I really tried using my tractor beam on this one girl, but it didn’t work….turns out she’s a freakin Clingon anyways!!! loved the article. if any of you girls out there want a date, email me at trekkie4u at gmail dot com.

  13. Clark Kent on March 9th, 2008 6:46 pm

    Great advice! I’ll be sure to use it.

  14. CGROOVE on March 16th, 2008 8:14 pm

    I don’t think this list was ordered, but I think one of these points in particular can override most others: make her laugh.

    If you can make a girl laugh to it hurts easily, she’ll already be interested. Once she’s laughing, all the other aspects will fall into place.

  15. jozsefff on March 19th, 2008 3:01 pm

    “If you’re insecure, stay home.” Umm, I think I’d just rather stick with suicide.

  16. First Dates: How Guys Should Bank on That Initial Impression » Popular Fidelity » Unusual Stuff on March 30th, 2008 4:21 pm

    [...] [10 Surefire First Date Conversation Tips] Share this post: [...]

  17. Li’l Nuggets from MLS, 04.08: Blessed by Bruce « Center Holds It on April 8th, 2008 2:27 pm

    [...] I knew all those, but a couple other things caught the corner of my eye, so on I went to 10 first date conversation tips and 30 ways “to get your swagger back” – going into that first date, I suppose. Being a [...]

  18. Ben on May 28th, 2008 2:42 pm

    I don’t exist to entertain you, bitch. A date should be about *both* parties having a good time. If I’m not, I’ll cut the evening short and leave.

    Women: be fun, be interesting, be flirtatious. It’s what guys want.

  19. share-bare on July 2nd, 2008 11:56 am

    PERCY rocks! It’s the honest truth. I’m a chick and all that I ask from a guy is just to be “real”. They should act how they normally act as if they are with their boys, close friends, or family. Be yourself! Too many freakin rules! It’s riduculous! Sorry chicas – but I’m totally siding with the men this time around.

    This articles seems like it should be all about “HER”. Can I say someone’s being a lil bit selfish??

  20. Another 15 Songs to Get You Pumped Up : ploomy - what men need to know on August 14th, 2008 9:21 am

    [...] “When the album title is Slaughtahouse, nuff said.”, Ugly claimed. My thoughts are maybe Barry Bonds wasn’t using the clear, but listening to Duval Clear to help him break the home run record. One can only dream. Saying something like that might fit in nicely as #5 on the 10 Surefire First Date Conversation Tips. [...]

  21. Jonathan on August 17th, 2008 9:47 pm

    wow..nice article, i should better print this out..

  22. Ken on November 22nd, 2008 10:38 pm

    Good tips Ploomy.

  23. Sarah on November 28th, 2008 8:15 am

    I agree with Peter Holt – March 7th. I would prefer a man to be domineering and take the lead on the first date. There is no bigger turn on than independence in a man, and the ability to be engaging and interesting, i don’t want to be pandered to by any guy, and pretending to be into my hobbies to score brownie points? no thanks. I like my men with a bit of grit to them ;-)

  24. Person.al on February 15th, 2009 8:42 pm

    Great tips :) Ill suggest them to my site members
    Thank you

  25. angie on March 8th, 2009 6:47 pm

    Yeah i agree with the girl that says just be your self and if she dont like it then she is not the one for you its that simple ha ha for real. its the best for both.

  26. joshy on March 11th, 2009 3:10 am

    Well this artical shows that women want us to be there lap dog or something.
    A man should just be honest humorous and talk as much as she does
    women shouldnt expect us men to do everything please they should be entertaning as well.

  27. Dee on September 18th, 2009 1:25 am

    Damm u r good, was looking for a site visa versa yours come up wrong (wanted help for a 1st date from a womens perspective) but I am sure you r ready girls mind creepy………….ha u r good very good, girls like interesting guys like to travel conversation was really good, confident yes good but sometimes its a little sexy when a guy is a little shy and awarkward!! baby if I went on a date with you, I would have me at hello!!

  28. Dee on September 18th, 2009 1:29 am

    whoops correction a little tispy
    Damm u r good, was looking for a site visa versa yours come up wrong (wanted help for a 1st date from a womens perspective) but I am sure you r reading girls minds creepy………….ha u r good very good, girls like interesting guys, like to travel conversation was really good, confident yes good ,but sometimes its a little sexy when a guy is a little shy and awarkward!!

    baby if I went on a date with you, you would have me at hello!!!
    p.s. Ken Nov 2008 is cute…

  29. Soph on November 3rd, 2009 12:37 pm

    Where can I find advice for women?
    And should I offer to pay for half on a first date? 2nd? 3rd..?

  30. Matthew on December 20th, 2009 1:09 pm

    You should also ask questions to see if they are right for YOU. It’s not all about impressing them, they have to impress you as well. Ask her if she’s smart… directly say that. It will show that you’re just as picky as she is, and not simply gracious to be in her presence. A woman doesn’t want a man who will take just any one…

  31. Madeline on October 25th, 2010 6:39 pm

    Actually guys I would rather u do most of the talking, as much as I want to be with ” you” , u doing the talkin’ let’s me get to know u and then things aren’t awkard. You will figure me out, I wear my heart on my sleve, u will be able to tell, so talk away I have no problem with nodding and short and sweet lines @ the beging, but left me get to know u, not the awkard silence.

  32. H on December 17th, 2010 1:50 pm


  33. Stephanie H on December 22nd, 2010 9:55 am

    I went on a horrible first date a week ago and the guy parked like 4 miles away from our restaurant just so he could get free parking. Keep in mind there was a $4 parking lot right next to the place we were going! I was wearing heels too. Not too mention he kept getting lost, arguing with me about directions and had no idea what he was doing. Being unprepared is a TURN OFF.

  34. Kevin on May 6th, 2011 9:06 am

    I saw #6 about travel and just had to comment. Although travel is a great conversation topic, it should NOT be a REQUIREMENT that a guy has to have been all over the world in order for him to be interesting. I saw Gina’s comment under #6 “It’s boring when a guy says ‘Oh, I don’t leave the city much’ or ‘I’ve only been to LA and Vegas.’” – Gina”. Really, Gina???? Have you LOOKED at today’s economy???? IT’S BAD!! Not all of us can afford fancy trips! Speaking as a hard working guy who grew up in a poor family but now makes a pretty good salary at his job in these bad economic times, having learned from past mistakes, I am a lot more careful and responsible about my money and spending, and putting it toward things that are more important and useful like church, charity, family and loved ones, and I would think this would attract a girl a lot more than “Did he ever travel outside the country?” Gina, sounds like you are HIGH MAINTENANCE and so would any other girl who would say that. So, in saying this, #6 needs to be changed to just say, “IF you ever had any awesome travel experiences, this would be a good topic” and just leave it at that!

  35. Gator on August 10th, 2011 4:45 am

    I bet Anna in D.C. is still single 3.5 yrs later

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