Topics for conversation when you first start dating

There aren’t hard and fast rules about what’s a good vs. Research has shown that the most effective communication style in relationships is a flexible one. Why: This is primarily relevant if you're either an extreme night or an extreme morning person.

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Monica O'Neal, licensed clinical psychologist and relationship expert, tells Buzz Feed Life.

It's important to get a sense of that person's day-to-day life. Or does he tend to take a nap after he comes home from the office?

It's one of the biggest "rules" of dating: Never talk about politics or religion on the first date. And that's why, as a guy, I'm happy when you Do all of these supposed Don'ts: Wait, WHAT? I almost feel cheated if I walk home from a date without learning much about her. Again, while I'm all for mentioning the tough stuff—whether it's politics or religion or your plans for a family—it's one thing to gently probe, and quite another to launch a Barbara Walters-esque interview.

We're told to avoid touchy subjects, keep things breezy, and God forbid we talk about what we actually want in life! The whole concept was born in a bygone era of black-and-white TV, when dates consisted of getting malts and egg creams (seriously, WTF is an egg cream? Don't be afraid to open up."I'd like to be married by the time I'm 30, and since it will take nine months to plan the wedding, that means I'll need to be engaged by May 1. "Real Talk" is like salt: A little bit adds spice; too much ruins the meal.

While talking about exes is generally a no-no, this question has yielded some amazing responses. I made a date with Rob-I-liked, and when I arrived at the bar… I had no choice but to sit it out, cursing the ambiguity of text messages. Mine is a toss up between a large hunk of cheddar cheese and a peanut butter cup.

For me, it’s the story of the time I met two people named Rob in a very similar timeframe. Finally, if you do find yourself in the midst of a quiet moment, remember that silence has its place in conversations, too.

When a well-meaning person asks, “Which famous person, living or dead, would you invite to dinner? If you have any acquaintances in common, bonus points for you. If you’re similar ages, you can discuss your feelings about Full House or The Wonder Years or the frighteningly robust POG collection languishing in your parents’ basement. I’m always poking around to see what people are reading.

” I want to say (as politely as possible), “Someone who wouldn’t ask questions like that.” Instead, here are a few topics I’ve found spark great conversation… Otherwise, cover your bases — siblings, hobbies, pets, favorite travel destinations — until you hit common ground. Whether it’s a graphic novel, a magazine article or an interview with their favorite comedian, discussing things you’ve read is a great way to see what makes them tick. It could be anything from yodeling to deep sea diving, but everyone loves to talk about times when they shine. Asking your date to boast leads to them feeling great in your presence. If you had to be trapped inside one giant food, and the only way to escape was to eat your way out of it, which food would you choose?

On a first date go for a friendly tone rather than an intimate tone when asking this question. Don’t be afraid to change plans if you arrive at a restaurant and find it’s too noisy for a good conversation.

Why: This shows you're considerate of other people's comfort. Why: If they still live with their Mom or they live with 10 roommates, this tells you something about how they like to live.

Key goals of a first date are to (a) see if you have a connection, and (b) find out if you and your date have any major areas of incompatibility. Why: Does the person have strong feelings or are they more easygoing and with milder feelings.

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