There’s a huge amount of first date advice out there, and understandably so — there are few prospects more nerve-wracking than that initial meeting with a potential love interest!

But when it comes to that all-important — or perhaps even more important — second date, the advice becomes a little thin on the ground. This is surprising, given that the second date is often the time when you can really seal the deal. It’s the time to develop the magic sparked in date #1, but you don’t want to seem too eager, either. There’s a fine line between seeming disinterested in the person in front of you and subjecting them to an FBI interrogation. You want to keep things light and fun, but you need to get to know what makes them tick, too.

Luckily, Maclynn International’s got your back. Today we delve into 7 great conversation topics for your second date, guaranteed to assuage any awkward pauses and stop you worrying that your drink needs a refill.

1) The callback

You’ve probably been texting back and forth since date #1, so you’ve got a good deal of info stored away about them already. They had an upcoming meeting with the trustees that they were dreading. They were excited about their cousin’s wedding in Newport. Don’t be afraid to bring up something discussed previously. Not only will you show that you’ve been paying attention, you’ll be demonstrating that you care, too. Win-win!

2) Hopes and dreams

Few topics lead to more fascinating, unintentionally deep conversations than aspirations and desires for the future. Not only can they be profound and hilarious, they’re also a fantastic way of getting to know the person behind the person and seeing whether your dreams could even fall in tandem with each other’s one day.

3) Memories

Where have they come from? What really shaped them growing up? What is their family like? Ideally, keep things positive and upbeat; this isn’t a therapy session! If they want to open up about more melancholic experiences, fine — great, even, as it shows they trust you — but it’s their prerogative to do so, not yours.

4) Develop themes from date #1

You already know some recurring motifs about this person’s life: their work, their hobbies, their interests. Round 2, then, is the perfect opportunity to build on these topics. Not only does this demonstrate a good memory, it also shows you’re sincerely interested in getting to know them better. They said they love hiking? Ask them if they have any trips coming up. The dog in their profile picture? Ask its name and how long they’ve had the little pooch!

5) Amusing anecdotes

Laughter is a powerful bonding mechanism. Sharing humorous anecdotes, whether they’re about family, work or disastrous past dates, will show that you’re comfortable opening up to them, which in turn will help them feel more at ease with you. Furthermore, sense of humor is hugely indicative of someone’s fundamental values and personality traits, so having a great laugh is a surefire way of gauging compatibility while keeping things light.

6) Relationships

Talking about exes is a no-no on a first date, but it’s not uncommon for the topic to organically arise on date #2. If they volunteer some information then by all means encourage them to elaborate. How they discuss their past partners can even be a good indicator of whether the two of you share some fundamental principles when it comes to dating. If they ask you about your exes, be honest, be open, but don’t be gratuitous. Your date is seeking evidence you’ve put the past behind you and that you’re looking forward to new opportunities.

7) Passions

It’s easy to get caught up with conversations about the past, not to mention the future — but what about the here and now? Throw them a curveball: ask what they’re appreciative of right now. What makes them glad to wake up in the morning, walk out the front door? Whether it’s their pets, their cute nephew, their secret sweaty Sunday morning run, showing genuine interest in the small things in their life show that you’re attracted to them for them, not because you’ve built up some fantastical, idealized version of them in your head. Whether it’s volunteering at a soup kitchen, caring for their ailing grandmother or taking their niece swimming once a week, find out what they’re passionate about and the rest will flow like water. (And a final cheeky tip: if they ask you what you’re appreciative of right now, you can always take it literally, coyly sip your drink and reply, “Being on a date with someone like you.”)

Struggling to even nail date #1? Maclynn International can help

The second date is almost akin to the first real date. Having met in the flesh and not run immediately for the exit the first time around, you’ve both decided there was enough of a spark to want to get to know the other person more. You’ve established chemistry — now you need to establish connection. Yeah, they’re hot, they’re funny and they have excellent taste in jazz bars — but do they share your values? Do they strive for the same fundamental things as you do in the grand scheme of things? Are they (dare you whisper it) even looking for something serious right now?

If you’re having trouble getting past date #1, never mind worrying about how to conduct yourself on date #2, you may benefit from some professional help. Maclynn International is an elite international matchmaking agency based in London and New York, with a global network of some of the world’s most exceptional singletons. Get in touch today and never worry about ill-matched first dates again!