So what are the right questions to ask on a first date?
The quickest way to end a first date? How about asking your potential partner about Brexit.
It might seem like a sure-fire passion-killer, but in a new study commissioned by eharmony, behavioural psychologists have named it one of the top five questions to ask on a first date.
Dr Eric Robinson and Dr Michelle Tornquist at the University of Liverpool designed five questions to help determine romantic compatibility between couples, along with obvious red flags.
The academics shared their advice in response to new research which suggests one in six singles often suspect their dates are dishonest. A similar proportion have found themselves on the receiving end of tactless questions such as: “How much do you actually weigh?”
“In this research, we focused on ‘concrete questions’”, said Dr Robinson. “These centre on a very specific opinion or moment in a person’s life that can help to cut through impression management; by asking specifically about what a person did last weekend, rather than what they say they like to do at the weekends, we get a picture of a person that isn’t tainted by how they would like to look – a more real version of themselves so to speak.
“For singles that are looking for deeper level commitment, we hope these first date questions act as a useful conversation tool.”
The Right Questions to ask on dates are as follows:
1. How did you vote on Brexit?
While it might seem more diplomatic to steer clear of discussing Brexit with a potential partner – for fear of romantic fireworks – Dr Robinson suggests it’s a calculated risk.
“Our political views communicate our wider social values and world view,” he says, “Research also suggests that opposing political views can cause relationships to fail. The issue is most prominent amongst younger generations with reports showing 22% of millennial couples having broken up with someone over political differences. So, the sooner you know your partner’s outlook the better.”
Discussing issues relating to the referendum such as the economy, green issues and foreign policy can also help build a clear picture of someone’s intellect and levels of altruism.
2. If you lost your wallet do you think it would be returned?
This question helps establish levels of openness, trust and optimism. Research has also found people prefer partners who are trusting; and relationships built on trust tend to be more satisfying.
Dr Michelle Tornquist said: “We devised this question because there’s no factually ‘correct’ answer – it depends on how the individual asked perceives the world. But, if someone has good faith a lost wallet will be returned, they may be a more trusting and open-minded individual.”
3. What was your last holiday?
How a person chooses to holiday gives insight into their levels of extroversion, adventure, and how they might spend time outside work. Research also suggests that couples who share activities tend to have happier relationships.
Dr Robinson said: “Studies show that not only do people prefer a partner who’s open to new experiences, but couples who are more adventurous also report higher levels of relationship satisfaction.
“They key here is to ask someone about their last holiday rather than their future plans, because it gives you an idea of what they actually like doing rather than what they’d like to suggest they like doing.”
4. What do you spend most of your money on?
This question gives key insight into someone’s relationship with money, a significant source of conflict for many couples. This question is also a good way to understand a potential partner’s personal levels of responsibility (i.e. do they rent or live with parents).
“Research indicates that people who feel that their partner spends money foolishly are 45% more likely to divorce,” said Dr Tornquist. “Plus, if someone responds to this question with lengthy story about sports cars and designer clothes it could be a red flag if your values about money are very different.”
5. How did you spend Christmas and New Year?”
For some singles family is incredibly important, whilst others might yearn for a break from the endless socialising. How we engage with the festive season can also reveal how introverted or extroverted we are; extraverts tend to crave company and busy events far more than introverts.
“How people spent Christmas and New Year can reveal how close they are to their family and the likelihood that want to be in a committed relationship,” said Dr Robinson.
The eharmony research also uncovered the top three questions Brits wish they could ask a first date, but don’t dare. These are: “Why did your last relationship really end?” (20%), “Do you abuse drugs or alcohol?” (15%) and, “When did you last have an STI check?” (15%).
People also divulged the most tactless questions they had been asked in a date scenario. This includes: “Why are you in debt?” “How much do you actually weigh?” and even, “How much money did you get in your divorce?”
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