For the love of LeBron, be able to talk about sports
Introducing the most popular tactic to break the ice, according to our dads: as Jerry Maguire once said, “Help me, help you.” (Also, you should probably know who Jerry Maguire is, although we wouldn't ask dad to SHOW YOU THE MONEY!!!!) “I’m not saying you have to like all my teams, although that doesn’t hurt,” assured one sports-obsessed patriarch. “But at least have an intelligent opinion on any major sports things happening. It's the easiest way to strike up a conversation. If I bring it up, and you can’t really talk to me about it at all, I’ll probably question you.”
Pro tip: If you know nothing and/or don’t care about sports, the founders of Seamless (both of whom are dads) launched a newsletter for novices that tells you exactly what to know (and even say) about sports, based on your level of knowledge. Dads are literally giving you the answers, guys. No excuses. Dads hate those.
Applying to college? Entering the job market? Have something to say about it.
“I asked one kid my daughter was dating what his plans were for after college. He shrugged and said he hasn’t really thought about it. Even if that’s true, which in this case it very obviously was, at least pretend it’s not. Even if it’s your dream job -- or grad school, whatever -- throw out something that proves you’re at least vaguely interested in something besides looking at your phone."
Pro tip: We can’t tell you what to do with your life, but we can tell you that being a professional fortune cookie writer is an actual career path option. And should hopefully crack a smile on even the most surly of fathers.
Have some interests outside of work
Although the specific hobby is less important than just giving a damn about it. “It doesn’t matter if it’s taking an improv class or having a sneaker addiction; anything that proves you have interests that are in no way related to what you do professionally. No rollerblading, though.”
Pro tip: Quote one of Louis C.K.’s deep life lessons, and obviously don’t rollerblade unless specifically asked to so do.