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Going out on a date can be stressful. In fact, going out on a first date can be downright terrifying! It can be hard to put your best foot forward when you’re nervous and on edge, which puts a real damper on conversations. The result can be periods of awkward silence or worse, a conversation that turns weird or embarrassing.

Don’t worry, however–it’s easy to keep things on track if you have a few conversation starters ready to go. Here are a few topics that can lead to lively and interesting chat.

  1. “Tell me about your work.”  
    This is a safe topic that can lead to a chat that’s easy to contribute to without any pressure. It’s also a great way to learn about your date, which can make the conversation easier.

  2. “What kind of movies (or books) do you like?”  
    Everybody loves movies or books, so this is a surefire way to spark a conversation. The discussion could also be a nice way to hint at future dates. After all, a night at the theatre might be fun.

  3. “Have you always lived here?”
    People like to talk about where they are from and where they grew up. It also shows you’re interested and gives you some insight into your date.

  4. “Do you have any pets?”
    People who have pets love to talk about them. So if your date has furry or fluffy friends, then it’s a golden conversation starter. If they don’t have pets, you can ask about that as well, so it’s a win-win.

  5. “Do you like to travel?”
    People are often passionate about their love of travel or their dream of traveling to far off places. This makes it an easy starting point for a lively and engaging discussion.

And of course, there are some things you might want to not talk about, like your crazy ex or strange family problems. Just stick to these safe and simple conversation kick-starters, and you can relax and get to know your new friend without the pressure.