Making a positive first impression is critical to a good first date. The way you present yourself, the clothes you wear, the way you speak, and even your nonverbal cues can all contribute to your ability to connect with your person of interest and secure a second date in the future. Research shows that you only have a seven-second window to make a quality first impression upon meeting someone for the first time, so it’s important to make your time count.
Unfortunately, because of the nerves that typically come with most first dates, it can be challenging to create the impression you want to in such a short span of time. Unlike networking events or job interviews, first dates don’t require you to have a certain set of skills, characteristics, or sense of professionalism.
The dating world is much more informal, which means that the only way to make a great first impression is by being yourself and putting your best foot forward under the circumstances. And while the open-endedness of it all can make that initial encounter all the more nerve-wracking, the relaxed approach to dating also makes for a more effortless approach to finding the person that’s right for you. This is because the lack of guidelines gives both you and your date a chance to truly express yourselves in a more authentic manner.
Despite the lack of guidelines or structure, there are still a few techniques that you can do to help you make a good impression on your first date. Read these first date tips to learn about everything you need to know!
Obviously looks aren’t everything, but they do play a fundamental role in your ability to make a good first impression. In fact, 55% of first impressions are based on a person’s appearance, meaning the way you present yourself on a first date plays a pivotal role in how the other person sees you.
Of course, the characteristics a person first notices will differ from individual to individual. Typically speaking, however, most people tend to pay closer attention to a person’s smile, skin, eyes, and overall physique during our initial encounters with someone. That being said, it’s crucial that you consider these physical features when preparing for your date and focus on playing up your strengths.
Here are some tips to follow in preparation for your very first date:
● Teeth: Beautiful, shiny, and straight teeth are the key components for a jaw dropping smile. Aside from brushing your teeth twice a day and regularly flossing, you can also freshen up your smile by wearing your retainer consistently, using whitening strips, and gargling mouthwash one week prior to the date. This will serve to elevate your smile and give you the assurance you need to show off those pearly whites. In turn, this will likely improve your self-esteem and cause you to smile more, indicating warmth and confidence to your date.
● Skin: Youth, beauty, and strong well-being are often attributed to those with clear, soft skin, so it’s essential to practice good skincare in preparation for your first date. Having clean, healthy-looking skin doesn’t happen overnight as most skincare treatments require some time before they begin to work. If you struggle with a common skin condition like acne, you’ll likely benefit more from using acne treatment products a few weeks leading up to the date. This will help to ensure your skin looks and feels flawlessly radiant on the big day.
● Physique: Obviously, the number one way to alter your physique is with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. But, even if your body shape isn’t in alignment with your health and fitness goals, doesn’t mean you should feel insecure or cancel the date. Use your wardrobe and unique style to hide the parts of your body that you’re not entirely comfortable exposing, and highlight the parts that are most flattering to your figure. This way, you can still strut your stuff and feel secure with who you are and the way you look. Remember that the more self-assured you are, the easier it is to portray yourself in the light you want to be seen.
● Eyes: Try swapping out your normal eyeglasses with regular contacts or even colored contact lenses as a simple way to make your eyes pop. You can also enhance the appearance of your eyes by wearing makeup that compliments their color. Whether it be a burnt orange eyeliner for blue eyes or a light green shimmer eyeshadow for brown eyes, adding a little color to your lid can work to bring out the color of your eyes. If you aren’t comfortable wearing contacts or you simply don’t have any, you can still showcase your eyes despite your glasses. Choose bright colored or unique shaped frames to help draw attention right to your eyes.
Besides walking the walk, you must also talk the talk, meaning the topic of conversations you have on your first date will impact your ability to make a good first impression. No one wants to experience those awkward silent pauses with someone they are still trying to get to know on a deeper level.
Sadly, this outcome occurs frequently on first dates, which causes many people to view their overall experience more negatively. That’s why coming prepared with a few different conversation topics and good conversation starters is necessary for keeping things fresh and interesting while making a long-lasting impression. After all, it’s highly important that you set the tone right with your date.
Make no mistake, coming prepared with a couple of topics shouldn’t mess up the flow of things or your natural way of communicating. The types of conversations you have centered around the questions you ask should reflect your personality and self-image,allowing you to get to know your date better and vice versa. This is not to say that you need to follow a specific script or drill your acquaintance with personal questions. Rather, it means using your personal objectives to initiate an intuitive, open-ended conversation with that special someone.
Don’t forget that this is only the first date, so you’ll want to avoid having too deep of a conversation or discussing any conflicting topics of conversation such as politics or religion. Instead, try to keep the convo light by talking about things that you and your date are both passionate about or have in common. These can be topics relating to travel, movies, jobs, family, and more.
Above all, focus on talking about your interests and hobbies with your date as a recent survey conducted by “It’s Just Lunch” found that these types of discussions are much more favorable compared to the other topics of conversation listed above. This is likely on account of the fact that our interests and our hobbies are something that’s unique to all of us and are usually the things that we get most excited about.
Even if you and your date don’t share the exact same passions, talking about them together will give you both a chance to learn more about each other and speak about something that brings you happiness. If you do happen to share the same interest or hobby though, chatting about it together will help to strengthen your bond even more and therefore bring you closer together. It’s a win-win!
Nonverbal communication is often overlooked by most dating world newbies because they either don’t realize they’re doing it to begin with or aren’t aware of how the other person is interpreting it. Believe it or not, your nonverbal cues can be just as telling as your verbal ones, which is why they can make or break your ability to create a quality impression on a first date.
Understanding your body language and facial expressions can be difficult at first when you cannot physically see yourself doing it unless you’re standing in front of a mirror. Nevertheless, it’s important to consider this form of communication in its entirety and evaluate the signals it can send to the people around you. As the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words,” so make sure that your visual cues match your vocal signals.
To put it into perspective, imagine you’re out with someone for the first time. You’re finally on a date with the person of your dreams, but throughout your entire thing, they have their phone out. How would that make you feel? What type of message is this giving off?
Sure, they might not mean anything by it, but this nonverbal gesture probably speaks volumes to you about how interested they are in you and the date. To put it bluntly, it’s rather rude. Especially when you are going on a date with someone for the first time, scrolling through your social media, texting, or talking to another person on your mobile device is a huge no-no.
Being on your phone while you’re out on a first date can be detrimental to your first impression as it sends a nonverbal message to the other person that you’re not interested in being in the present moment with them. For this reason, do yourself a favor and put the phone away throughout the duration of your date.
Apart from inappropriate phone usage, you should also avoid following these common nonverbal mistakes while you’re out on your first date:
● Crossing Your Arms: It’s one thing to perform this gesture in response to feeling cold, but keeping your arms folded up or tight by your side can send signals to your date that you’re unapproachable. Remember to loosen up and relax!
● Failure to Make Eye Contact: Holding eye contact with someone for a long period of time can certainly feel awkward or uncomfortable, but gazing into another’s eyes has been proven to be a rather powerful nonverbal gesture. Maintaining eye contact indicates honesty, interest, integrity, and engagement, so while you shouldn’t enter into a full-fledged staring contest, be sure to keep your eyes locked on the thing that matters most during this time— your date.
● Slouching: Our posture is arguably one of the most neglected nonverbal forms of communication. Slouching is a type of body language that indicates that a person is unfriendly, anxious, or bored with the situation at hand. Next time you’re out on a first date, try to refrain from doing this at all costs. Sit up straight and lean in closer to your date to show that you’re intrigued with them and the things they’re saying.
● Nodding: There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with nodding your head while you listen to your date speak, but it can easily be misinterpreted as agreement. Instead of using this nonverbal form of communication to show your engagement, tilt your head instead. According to the authors of The Like Switch, Jack Schafer and Marvin Karlins, the head tilt is actually one of the primary nonverbal cues that communicate friendliness. Use this to your advantage!
Going out for a First Date with someone is always kind of terrifying, especially if you’re determined to please that person.
You don’t want to wreck your 1st Date by taking them on a boring date which ends in the aforementioned awkward scenario.
What you need to do is plan out a fun and engaging date, to keep the both of you so distracted in the activities and having a good time that you forget to be nervous.
First Dates can be romantic, outdoors, or a combination of them. They need not be expensive. What’s important is for you to build the chemistry and attraction with your date.
You can decide which date idea is best and most likely to impress, based on what you understand of your date’s liking and personality.
There’s no denying how intimidating first dates can be. Not only does this experience require vulnerability, but it also requires you to make the best first impression you can and be open to the possibility of rejection. And while this may be a hard pill to swallow, putting yourself out there is essential for self-growth and lifelong happiness.
Whatever you do, don’t let yourself shy away from new experiences and firsts. The worst thing that can happen is that you don’t make an ideal first impression or form a genuine connection with the other person. But, think about it this way, with every failed first date, you are one step closer to finding the person that’s meant for you!
When it comes to first impressions, our best dating advice is to be mindful of your appearance, topics of conversation, and nonverbal cues, but more importantly, remember to just be yourself! The last thing you want to do is create a false persona of who you really are as this will make it harder for you to develop a real relationship with anybody, including yourself!
The right person will see through any faulty miscommunications and acknowledge you for who you truly are. As a gentle reminder, first dates aren’t meant to be taken so seriously, so let yourself have some casual fun, explore what’s out there, and be unapologetically you. Don’t worry, you got this!
Last updated: 9 January 2021
About the Author
Kelvin Kevin is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Content Editor of the World-Renowned HappyMatches.com Dating App and Dating Site. An avid writer since young, he is an Expert Dating and Relationships Coach for Casual Dating, Serious Dating and General Dating. You can follow him on Twitter (@HowToDateBetter), and also check out his personal Dating Blog, for the latest Dating Advice and Dating Tips to help Straight, Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Singles and Couples find and enjoy Fulfilling and Intimate Dating Relationships.