While a first date can make you giddy and terrified in equal measure, the temporary emotional turbulence is worth it if the end result is meeting your match. Naturally, though, not every first date ends in a fairy tale. And since there's no field guide for what constitutes compatibility, your best bet is to make sure your first date conversation is full of intention – and particularly telling questions.
How was your day?
Not only does this show you are interested in this person's life and well-being, but it can also reveal a lot about your date's attitude. If he goes on a negative bender about everyone who crossed his path that day, pessimism might be second nature for him. If he can't help but wax poetic about everything from his morning cup of joe to his afternoon commute, you might just have landed an optimist. This question is a fantastic ice-breaker.
What do you do for a living?
This might be one of the oldest first date questions in the book, but it isn't a classic for nothing – it speaks directly to how this person spends most of his days. Plus, it's a good predictor of things to come. If your date seems uninspired or listless describing his vocation, a major life change may be on the horizon. Alternately, if he can't help gushing about his line of work, he obviously considers his job a calling and, as such, isn't likely to be burdened by occupational stresses.
What is your family situation?
You don't have to ask for your date's entire family tree or trace his lineage all the way back to his great, great, great grandfather. What you really need to know is how family affects this person's household. Ask if there are children from previous relationships. Pets? That's right – don't neglect four-legged family members in your factoring. Being in a long-term relationship with a cat-lover when you are severely allergic could seriously hinder a budding romance.
What plans does the near future hold?
Again, without getting too philosophical, asking your date about immediate plans and goals can help ascertain if the two of you are headed down the same path in life. If your date's five-year plan includes a trip around the world and you're a total homebody, it can be a good indicator you might not fit into each other's lives.
About the Author
A native of Charleston, S.C., Julie Sprankles has been writing professionally since 2003. She received a double Bachelor of Arts in English and communications from Charleston Southern University. Formerly editor-in-chief at award-winning shelter publication "Charleston Home + Design Magazine," Sprankles now enjoys writing and editing full-time.