Tinder bios are designed to catch your eye and maybe make you laugh. But they’re not always the best indicator of someone’s values. To get past the flirty connection and go deep into a match’s soul, you have to ask the right questions. If that sounds too much like a job interview, don’t worry — our conversation starters are super fun and don’t have anything to do with a five-year plan. The questions below don’t sound serious at face value, but their answers can actually tell you a whole lot about a person. Dating coach and expert Connell Barrett is also a big fan of this approach: He encourages daters to ask unexpected questions on their first date, and we couldn’t agree more.
While these questions absolutely work great as Tinder icebreakers, they’re even more fun in person — so maybe save (some of) them for your first date.
1. If you could give up sleep for a year and not be tired, what would you do with the extra eight hours a day?
This question is designed to get at the heart of what someone would accomplish if they had limitless energy and unexpected free time. Listen for passion projects like writing a book, getting into painting, or training to run a marathon. Quieter souls might choose to spend more time with their friends or learn to play a musical instrument. A potential red-flag response? People who claim they still wouldn’t have enough time to get anything done… sounds like they only have time for excuses.
2. What do you think of Kylie Jenner’s self-made billionaire title?
People tend to either love or hate reality star and makeup mogul Kylie Jenner. There’s little in between. A Kylie hater might have strong opinions on white privilege or reality TV, while someone who loves her probably admires the beauty industry or celebrity culture. Never heard of her? Your date might be 50 years old and not have any social media accounts.
3. If tattoos only lasted one year, what ink would you get?
“A tattoo is not just a decorative piece of body art — it’s CliffsNotes for who someone is and what they value,” says Barrett. “If your date wants a tattoo of their mom’s initials, that means they’re deeply driven by family, love, and connection. If they want to adorn their right arm with a full sleeve of ink, Beckham-style, watch out — you have a brash, confident date on your hands, and possibly an egomaniac.” Essentially, the tattoo choice tells the story of that person’s most important value — for this year at least.
4. Who deserved to win the “Game of Thrones?”
Any answer other than Sansa and you can disqualify this person from your life. Kidding, kidding. But if your love interest thinks Bran the Broken is the best person to sit on the Iron Throne (wait, did they build another Iron Throne after Drogon destroyed it?) then at least you know you can gift them with the “Game of Thrones” books so they can educate themselves using source material.
5. What are your thoughts on abolishing the Electoral College?
This question is a bit tricky, since your date can’t really fake an answer if they don’t know anything about the Electoral College. It’s shorthand for, “Do you just front when it comes to getting involved in politics?” Ask this question and you’re going to find out very quickly how civic-minded your date is.
6. If you were on death row, what would you want for your last meal?
I asked my ex-boyfriend if he considered himself a picky eater, and he assured me he wasn’t. Over the next few months, I found out he was actually a pretty strict vegetarian who also didn’t eat eggplants, mushrooms, or fish. I ate a lot of grilled cheese with him. Had he been honest about his diet, I may not have granted him another date. Sharing food is one of the best things about being in a relationship, IMHO. The thing is, daters want you to be happy with them, so they’re going to try to cast themselves in the best light possible. Had my ex admitted his last meal would probably be a bag of pretzels and hummus, I would have wished him well and gone flipping through Tinder for a foodie.
7. Were you baptized and/or did you have bar/bat mitzvah?
Much like the food situation, daters don’t want to define themselves with a label that might turn you off. Lots of people will swear that they’re not religious, but as you get to know them, you’ll find out they grew up going to Sunday school or fasted for Ramadan. They might not practice as an adult, but if a person was baptized or had a bar/bat mitzvah, it’s possible they were steeped in a religious stew so thick they can’t even see it. None of these things are right or wrong, but it’s good information to have upfront, especially if you want to have kids one day and raising them religious or not is important to you.
8. What is the quality you appreciate most in a partner?
“What’s great about this question is your date’s answer will tell you what relationship needs they want met, which helps you know if you’re a good fit,” says Barrett. “Whatever your date appreciates most in a potential partner reveals what they really want in their love life.” So, if they tell you they appreciate spontaneity, that might be code for variety, unexpected weekend getaways, and last-minute dinner invitations that could leave you longing for more notice and commitment. If you’re looking for a long-term partner you can depend on, pay attention to daters who appreciate communication and trust. “These daters want to be seen and understood,” adds Barrett.
9. Would you want to be the star of a reality show?
The question behind this question is, “How much attention do you like?” Personally, I would be a terrible reality show character unless the show was about minding your own business. Aside from attention, some daters might have cool hobbies like drag — either racing in a car performing on the stage — that they’d want to share on a reality show platform. Ask this question and find out who you’re dealing with: an introvert or an extrovert.
10. Would you rather ride a rollercoaster or read a book?
Super straightforward: is your date an adrenaline-junky or a bookworm? Of course, neither of these answers are deal breakers, but your personality type might mesh better with one over the other.
11. What was the single best day of your life, and why?
Asking someone to script their perfect day might seem like a good question, but again, daters often say things they think their date wants to hear. Instead, ask them to tell you about the best day of their life. “Asking about the best day of their life invites your date to summon a powerful memory that will feel great to re-experience and to discuss,” says Barrett. “Whatever made that day so wonderful — getting the dream job, a 16th birthday party, exploring Paris — opens the conversation wide open.” Who knows? Maybe one day, their first date with you will be a contender for the best day of their life.