First dates can be super awkward, especially when you don’t go in with a gameplan of first date topics you want to take about. Sure, flirting and all that is great, but the point of a first date is to get to know someone, so move beyond just boozing and the banter in order to land a second date.

For instance, let’s just say you matched with a girl on one of the many online dating apps out there and you move things to text. That’s great and all, but there’s a good chance you’re both still doing something like 20 questions, keeping things light, casual and flirtatious. While that’s a good move prior to meeting someone in person, once you’re sitting across from them and talking, you need to have some things planned to break the ice. After all, you’re the guy, so take charge.

Since we want to see you succeed anytime you have first dates, we’re giving you some tips on first date topics. Remember, there are some topics you should never discuss — like money and politics — but the ones below are things that are totally OK, you just need to have some questions in your mind to talk about them.

What first date topics are okay to talk about?

While first dates can be tricky, it’s important to remember that everyone’s different, so what might work for some, might not for another. That said, there are some fool-proof topics that will likely get her engaged and laughing — which are all good signs for you while on a first date.

For those unsure about what to talk about, here are a few suggestions:

  • How they decided to get into the field of work they’re in
  • If they could live one place in the world, where would it be
  • The most awkward first date they’ve ever been on
  • If they’d rather eat tacos, pizza or Thai food
  • To name one thing that they’re afraid of
  • Who their celebrity crush is

Now, those might seem a little obvious — or even juvenile — but they’ll show her that you’re actually interested in getting to know her. People love to talk about themselves, especially in a unique way outside of the normal conversation about politics, trending news, etc., and having some fun with your questions will lead to some good convo back and forth. She wants to have fun, so make sure she does.

Are there certain ways to ask these things flirtatiously, so not to make it sound like a job interview?

Like a joke, first date questions are all about delivery. If you’re too serious when asking her who her celebrity crush is, she may look at you strange and wonder why the hell you want to know. Be playful and flirty with her, while also keeping things lighthearted.

As for worrying about a first date turning into a job interview, that’s why it’s important to have some fun questions planned before meeting up, because these types of questions are easygoing and lighthearted, which can shape the entire conversation. For instance, her answer to the most awkward first date she’s ever had could lead to an hour-long conversation about dating in general, while also showing her that not all first dates are bad — which you should playfully remind her to help your chances at scoring points.

I’m always bad on first dates, so will these questions help me score a second date?

Although not everyone is the same, if you’re firing off questions that make her laugh, there’s a good chance that you’re going to get a second date. Of course, just because you’ve both had good conversation doesn’t mean that you’re meant to be together forever and ever, so remember to do the little things, too.

There have been plenty of times where first dates have gone splendidly, only to have second or third dates fizzle out because there wasn’t much compatibility outside of some fun banter back and forth. This means you need to show interest by picking up the tab on a first date, hold doors for her and be a gentleman to show you care, then go in for a kiss if you feel like the energy’s there.

You may think you’re bad at first dates, but, really, you’re not closing on first dates — which means following up afterwards to see if there’s potential for more.

What if she gets offended by one of the first date topics you recommended, how do I play it cool?

Not all girls will think that flirting on first dates is the way to go, and she may think that your topic of conversation is either dumb, immature or straight up offensive for some reason. If that’s the case, you’re probably lucky to have only wasted enough time to go on one date and not any more, because a girl who doesn’t like to laugh and who takes first dates too seriously is a walking red flag.

However, since this question deals with how you can play things cool if she does get offended by something you ask, here’s what you need to remember: always laugh at yourself.

We know that might be too self-deprecating, but, a lot of times, the reason girls come across as offended or guarded is because of their own insecurities. If you show her that you’re totally fine laughing at yourself, then go ahead and own the conversation a bit more by cracking jokes about your celebrity crush or something. That’s sure to get her attention a little bit — even if that’s only for a little while.

If all else fails, try bringing up work topics, since everyone can complain about their job and/or boss. It’s not the best route to go on first dates, but, hey, if you’re already there and want to enjoy it a little bit, suck it up and go for it — then make sure you never try to meet up with this girl again, because she doesn’t sound too fun.