The number of people you come across when online dating is a lot to manage. It’s best to know how to filter out those you’re definitely not going to end up with. Making a point to ask more thoughtful and open-ended questions that help you learn the most essential things about your potential date is a great way to see if you’ll form a connection.
We suggest asking these questions, that'll hopefully point you in the right direction about deciding to meet your match IRL.
What Are You Looking For?
There are many reasons people use dating apps, and they might not match yours. Nowadays people often go on a dating app to meet a foreign partner. Beautiful Russian brides or American guys—everybody is looking for a soulmate or for a person it would be nice to talk to. You need to learn their intentions as soon as possible to save you a whole lot of time. Does it really matter whether they’re introverted or extraverted if you want to find a romantic partner and they’re fresh out of a committed relationship in search of a rebound? Don’t waste your time hoping that they’ll change and let them want what they want.
Why Did My Profile Draw Your Attention?
This is an extension from the previous question, but in addition to learning their intentions, you’ll find out what they value. Pay attention to what details about you draw them in. Is it your photos, a specific part of your bio, or pure luck as they were just having a massive session of swipe-rights? It’d be awkward if the main reason they became interested was a thing in your profile that was completely out of character for you. You must be honest about yourself in your online profiles.
What Do You Do for a Living?
Careers are a huge part of life, and they eventually become integrated into people’s personalities. Do they travel for work? Do they move often? Do they work long shifts? You want your lifestyle choices to be compatible so use this question to assess how you’d make it work with both of your jobs if it gets serious.
What Does Your Average Weekend Look Like?
Speaking of lifestyle choices, this is a key one. Couples need to share at least some activities of each other. Dollars to doughnuts; the weekends will be when you spend most of your time together so would you be okay with hitting the club or going on long Sunday hikes? You are your own person and can manage to do this alone but having a company by your side adds to the fun.
Is There Anything You’re Passionate About?
Thoughts on politics, social justice, gender rights, environmental issues, etc. have a broad spectrum. And people can be very adamant about some causes. Instead of finding out that you disagree on fundamental human values on a date itself, discuss it in advance. Don’t sway from uncomfortable but important questions for the sake of being polite as conflicting belief systems will trigger huge conflicts later on.
What’s Something You Could Talk About for Ages?
This open question can be interpreted in many ways and however your match interprets it, you’ll learn something new. People always light up when they talk about something they’re enthusiastic about. And seeing people share their deep interests is very attractive.
Are You Religious?
Does religion/spirituality matter to you? Whatever your answer is, you have every right to know this information about your potential partner. If you both don’t associate yourself with any religious movement, that’s one thing. However, being committed to a religion or a spiritual practice places another layer on a relationship. Oftentimes, religious beliefs contribute to how a person lives even on a day to day basis, and you should decide whether you’ll have trouble with it or not.
What Are Your Long-Term Goals?
Wouldn’t you be disappointed if you made an emotional investment in a person only to find out their five-year plan involves them living abroad? Or they see themselves married with two kids in the countryside whereas you have no desire for that kind of lifestyle at all. Lifelong goals differ greatly from person to person. You should put all judgment aside and simply compare your long-term plans on life, relationships, work, etc.
Saw Any Good Movies Lately? Read Any Good Books? Discovered Any Cool Bands?
This is a light-hearted one for a change. As much as it’s a cliché to talk about movies and books, you can go deeper than the surface to make it more interesting. For example, don’t ask what their all-time favorite band is but rather ask what they’ve listened to recently and discuss the underlying themes of the lyrics.
What’s Your Deal Breaker?
A smoker? Bad grammar? Road rage? Ask these things to find out what’s important to them. What if it’s something stupidly superficial like excessive chest or back hair? Yes, people actually mention that as a deal breaker! The sooner you know, the better.
What’s One Thing I Should Know About You That’s Not on Your Profile?
Give them a chance to surprise you! They’ll be put on the spot and won’t have a premeditated line so you might get the most honest answer. Most people spend quite some time coming up with a neatly thought-out bio description, but you want to know the real person without all the fluff.
What not to ask
As a bonus, below are the questions you should not be asking.
Why Did Your Last Relationship End?
Fishing out this kind of information is invasive, especially considering they have no reason to trust you yet. There is a line between being curious and overstepping boundaries. Yes, we’ve literally suggested asking about their religion and work, but there is a difference. Talking about what you do generally has a positive, or at least a neutral tone, whereas talking about exes and breakups forces them into a negative space.
Why Are You Still Single?
If it’s your attempt to flatter them (as in ‘how come nobody has taken you yet?’), the wording leaves room for improvement. It will probably be received as if you imply there must be a reason no one wants them, and they should come clean. Moreover, if you are saying that there’s something wrong about being single, it puts them in an uncomfortable position. Are they supposed to defend themselves?
How Many People Have You Slept With?
That number shouldn’t concern anyone, and a negative reaction to this question is completely justified. Firstly, you will seem inappropriate and rude. Secondly, you put another person in an awkward position of having to choose whether to share this private information or not. If they answer, they can be judged; if they don’t, it looks like they have something to hide.
For all it’s worth, the topic of sex shouldn’t be discussed at all before meeting or during the first few dates. As much as sexual chemistry is important, you should first gain their trust.
How Much Money Do You Make?
Even if you’re simply curious, talking about their job should suffice. Asking this question undermines your true intentions because you seem interested in what they can do for you. Relationships don’t have transactional value. Again, it’s private information that is better revealed much later in the relationship if revealed at all. It’s their personality that should be your concern and not their bank account.
Do You Like Me?
Do you think I’m handsome/hot/funny? Don’t be pretentious. Needless to say, you should find each other attractive if you’re planning to go on a date, but this is just fishing for compliments out of insecurity. Asking this directly can be off-putting.
Ultimately, the key to getting to know a total stranger is simple: be inquisitive, but not pushy. Once you internalize the general idea, you won’t need a list to tell you what to do. You don’t have to follow these questions to a T; at the end of the day, it’s up to you. If everything goes right, you will be able to arrange a first date soon. And we will show you the best ideas for a first date.