Although we would like to imagine that people see us the way we really are, the truth is that they see us based on the impression we made when we met them for the first time. So, the impression you make on a first date will have a lasting impact on your relationship. In fact, it will still influence your date’s opinion of you even after they get to know you much better over time.
For better or for worse, the maxim that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression is true, and this is not just an opinion. In a psychological study, untrained subjects watched a 20 second video on job applicants meeting interviewers. Their assessment, based on a first impression, closely matched the assessment of interviewers who spent 20 minutes with them. Now, what is true of the psychology of job interviews is also true for dating – it’s all about first impressions becoming lasting impressions. This is just how the mind works.
So, how can you make a good first impression on a date?
It’s actually quite simple: take care of a few practical details.
Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:
- Be punctual. When you’re rushed, you’re out of sorts. You look frantic and desperate. This is a far cry from the cool, calm, and collected impression you hope to make.
- Be presentable. Although dressing up may be overkill if you are out on a casual date, you don’t want to look like you’ve slept in your clothes, or can’t find a comb. Groom yourself with proper gear, because real gentleman should always keep themselves looking kept.
- Speak with your body. Psychologists believe that as much as 75% of your communication may be how you walk, stand, sit, and generally move your body. This leaves a mere 25% for what you have to say. The fastest way to ruin your date is to be nervous, fidgety, or ill at ease.
- Mention their name. A rule of thumb is to use your date’s name when you first meet them, once or twice in the conversation, and when you say goodbye. That’s enough to make you come across as charming. More than that and you will sound like a sycophant.
- It’s not all about you. While you may feel compelled to impress your date with how well you’re doing in life, this is a complete turn-off. Instead, spend more time listening than speaking. And, above all, don’t brag – not even if you’ve just closed a million dollar deal or won a gold medal in the last Olympics.
- Be honest. Don’t try and pretend to be something you’re not. Trying to cover up your flaws comes across as insincere. It will be hard to create trust at a later time.
- Observe table manners. This is simple enough: don’t talk with your mouth full, avoid wiping food from your mouth with the back of your sleeve, don’t spill food on your clothes or spread it over the table, and know how to use a knife, fork, and spoon.
- Be polite. It’s tempting to correct someone when they mispronounce words, straighten them out when they have a completely wrong impression of something, or say something sarcastic if they say or do something that goes against your beliefs, but restrain yourself – this kind of behaviour won’t impress your date, and it won’t make the evening any more enjoyable.
- Be friendly. You can come across as unfriendly if you’re posturing, trying to look cool, or playing hard to get. Just be yourself, instead of playing some role you may have seen in the movies. You can be too cool for your own good.
- Be spontaneous. The idea of a date is to create a positive rapport with the other person. If you’re stiff, awkward, or self-conscious, you can make your date feel uneasy. Focus on having a good time and sharing your ideas in an open way.
Naturally, all this is common sense, but you would be surprised how few people do all these things—and blow the date. A little common sense can go a long way in creating a meaningful, long-lasting, loving relationship.