When it comes to first interactions, the only thing worse than awkward silence is small talk.
First dates might be a staple of romantic comedies, but they are nerve wracking in real life. After all, it is not easy to make a good impression on someone when jitters cause you to clam up with anxiety. Besides, most of us spend too much time and energy on figuring out if the person we are with is worth our time than actually enjoying the date.
Although relationships cannot be defined in black and white, researchers have spent a long time investigating the easiest way to get to know someone. In fact, they have figured out the perfect first-date questions that may possibly make strangers fall in love.
A study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 1997 found that people who asked personal questions during their first date become much closer with their partners than those who spend time playing mind games and talking about mundane things.
To come to this conclusion, the researchers assigned college-age participants in 33 random pairs and gave them a series of increasingly personal questions to ask each other. The questions began with simple stuff like, “Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want as a dinner guest?” and got a little deeper with “When did you last sing to yourself?”
These queries, which seemed ordinary at first, gradually progressed into questions such as, “Is there something you've dreamed of doing for a long time, and why haven't you done it?” to intense things like, “Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing?”
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Some people don’t feel too comfortable talking about their personal experiences, but as it turns out, asking personal questions bring people closer together than just talking about random, unimportant stuff.
Discussing deeper topics does not create the feelings of commitment or guarantee a longer-term relationship, but scientists believe it could be a fast track to inspire those feelings of dependability down the line.
Although, the study was conducted years ago, the theory focusing on interpersonal closeness still applies today.
For instance, a research study led by the scientists at University of Alaska found that people respond more positively to icebreakers that cover deeper topics. The researchers believed that the best way to initiate a conversation with someone you like is to opt for the mild and inoffensive approach instead of a cheesy sentence you heard in some movie.
There are several other factors, according to science, which greatly affect the success or failure of your first date. It may have not cracked the code to a happy life just yet, but it has certainly figured out some quirks and traits that can significantly affect your relationship.