The Awkward Question You Should Always Ask On A First Date

If you're single and looking for a meaningful long-term romantic relationship, you are part of the majority. According to Match, 80% of young American singles report that they are now focused on finding a long-term relationship. However, this doesn't mean it's safe to assume that every person you share a first date with is there to find true love. Since nearly half of the adults in the U.S. under 30 are single, according to Pew, this still leaves a large number of individuals who would prefer to keep it casual and play the field.


Regardless of what your personal goals are when it comes to dating, the most important factor is that they are compatible with those of the potential partner sitting across the table from you. If one of you is seeking marriage and the other is simply looking for a mind-blowing hookup, there may be no middle ground to be had. Here's how to make sure you're both on the same page before too much time is wasted. 

The most important question

It may sound obvious, but the best way to ensure that the person you're on a first date with has the same relationship goals that you do is to ask them. This can be a difficult topic to approach, especially for women, who are often stereotyped as needy and desperate for commitment. However, you owe it to yourself to be selective when it comes to your time and energy invested.


If you're using dating apps or websites to meet potential partners, it may be easier to ask them what they're looking for before you meet in person. This can not only save you time but can also prevent a bit of the discomfort associated with asking such a direct question face-to-face. If you're more likely to meet someone in person, though, it's best to suck it up and broach the topic before you agree to a second date. If it turns out your goals are incompatible, they will likely be just as relieved as you are to move on to the next potential match. 

How to proceed

Imagining yourself asking a person whether they're looking for a long-term relationship on the first date can be nerve wracking enough. What if their answer also isn't what you want to hear? How do you proceed? Should you cut the date short? Cancel dessert, pay the bill, and run for your life? Take a deep breath and consider the long-term effects of this moment in the big picture of your life. Chances are, it isn't that deep.


If you ask your date what they're looking for and it isn't at all what you're looking for, politely let them know that you aren't romantically compatible. From that point on, consider yourselves potential friends and enjoy getting to know someone new. Once the outing has ended, it is up to both of you to decide whether you want to continue pursuing a friendship or part ways and wish each other luck in your romantic pursuits. When both potential partners approach dating with maturity, assertiveness, and respect, there is no awkwardness necessary.