Do you know that you only have 12 minutes to leave a lasting impression when you are on a first date? Within those 12 minutes, you are being scrutinized by your date and if there is something off-putting about you, even if it is something as small as bad breath — it can mar your chances at a second date. When it comes to trying to impress your date, you’d be surprised what can help (or hurt) your chances at creating a great first impression.
It’s all about the First Few Seconds
Let’s say you have joined online hookup sites, spent a few weeks speaking talking with someone online and you’ve decided that it is time to finally meet in person for a real date. You’ve probably already seen their photograph, you may have talked on the phone. You may have even had a webcam chat or two. So you probably think that the meeting will go smoothly because you both felt some kind of connection and have agreed to meet.
Do you know that you are judged the moment they lay eyes on you? It may surprise you that they are evaluating you just by your smile, whether you make eye contact, and on your tone of voice. For many people, these three factors can raise red flags and make them reconsidering their initial opinion of you. Would you be excited to spend the next few hours with someone who didn’t smile when you greeted them or couldn’t make eye contact with you? We didn’t think so.
Many times, people take it one step further and start judging you even before you meet up! This is where social media can really help or hurt you. Just like in the job market, people turn to social media to check out your online presence. Facebook, Twitter, and other venues like LinkedIn, Instagram, and even Tumblr can tell people more about you than you think. A good rule of thumb is to be careful with what you post on your social media accounts because you never know who is researching you.
Making Most of Your First Impression
A large majority of people who are meeting someone for a first date are going to be nervous. It’s only natural to want everything to go well and for the best date to happen. Here are some ways that can help you ensure that you leave a great impression while out on your first date with someone you fancy.
1. Plan An Exciting Date
How many times have you been on a first date and it has always been the same thing—a dinner and a movie? These types of dates lack imagination and they aren’t really a good way to get to know each other. Sure, there will be talking at dinner, but instead of conversation, it can feel like a game of 20 questions. Instead, plan a date that allows both parties to be relaxed and comfortable.
For example, if you both enjoy the outdoors, you could go on a bike ride through the park and grab something to snack on at a food truck. Another fun first date idea could be to go to a cooking class or an art class together. Dates like these can give you lots to talk about afterward.
2. Be Punctual for Your Date
No one likes to be left waiting, especially on a first date. It’s always a good idea to try and arrive at least fifteen minutes early to the date. If you are running late for whatever reason, you should always call the person that is waiting and let them know. Sometimes, no matter how early you leave, you cannot predict road conditions like traffic or accidents.
3. Put in Effort to Look Good
Now this may be common sense but you would be surprised at how many people do not put in enough effort think about how they look when they are trying to impress someone. Sometimes, ladies can go overboard on the make-up and the sexy clothing, depending on if you want to be seen as a potential life mate or a random tryst, you may want to see whether the booty shorts and tight tops is right for the occasion.
For men, start paying more attention to yourself. A nice button down shirt and slacks (wrinkle free for both, please) can get you a lot further than a sports jersey and a pair of cargo shorts. Clothes make the men and when you know you look good, you will also feel confident about dating, which will help you make a great first impression!
4. Send Positive Dating Body Language
Do you know that first impressions are made within 5 seconds? During this time, before you speak a single word, your body language would have already communicated tons of information about you to the person you are meeting. Positive dating body language will help you send the right signals to your date.
Stand tall with shoulders held back and with feet apart (at most shoulder width, otherwise you will look strange). Keep your posture easy, don’t be too stiff, and keep your arms relaxed at your side with an easy smile. When you speak, take your time to pronounce your words clearly with an even cadence. This shows that you are relaxed and in control, which is always incredibly attractive to women.
5. Be Prepared for Conversation
The whole point of a first date is to get to know each other and have fun. Instead of playing 20 questions, you’ll want the conversation to flow comfortably. While you may not have a whole lot to talk about in the first 12 minutes of the date, you don’t want to open with a controversial topic that could sour the entire mood. The task of trying to find topics to discuss can be made so much easier if you do a little bit of research and find out what the other person is interested in (see, social media can help!).
6. Don’t Just Hear Them, Listen
No one wants to feel like what they have to say is unimportant. When your date is talking, don’t just hear what they are saying, but listen to them. You want to show your date that you are paying attention to them and that you are interested by what they have to say.
Eye contact and physical contact are also key elements when you are having a conversation with the person. This helps you to connect on a subconscious level and it helps the other person know that you are interested in them and what you have to say.
7. Know When to Say Goodnight
Let’s say the first part of the date went off with a hitch and you are both having a great time and are enjoying each other’s company. It can be hard to determine when enough is enough and say good night. You don’t want to end the fun too early, but you also don’t want to last forever either. The key is to leave them wanting more and will agree to a second date.
Some people say a first date should be short, but it depends on the activity that is planned. A good rule of thumb is stick to one activity and that’s it. And when you do say good-night, openly discuss the possibilities of a second date and let the other person know that you had a great time.
You’ll find that by following these tips, you will be able to leave a great first impression and you can score a second date!
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Article updated as of Jan 2022