first impression

Meeting potential romantic interests can be exciting and flirty, but it can also make you feel insecure and anxious, so it’s easy to get in your head. You might be the type of person who stresses about every minor detail of your turns of phrase, personality, and appearance, but why waste energy worrying about things your date might not pick up on, let alone care about? Here are some things that your date is likely to notice right away.

Your body language.

Dating coach Damona Hoffman says that the way you position your body will signal to your date whether you’re interested in them or not. She says that typically, someone will turn their hips towards the person they like, lean in while they’re talking or look for chances to touch them in casual zones. Posture is also something your date will notice. Are you slumped over with your head hanging down, or are you standing up straight with your head held high? Sitting with your head held high signals confidence, while sitting slumped over signals a lack of confidence, and confidence is essential when making a great first impression. To have better posture, engage your core and glutes more when you’re seated and standing, and everything else will fall into place.

Your facial expressions.

Are you smiling authentically, or do you make and hold eye contact? Or do you look ill at ease, and are your eyes evasive? Making and holding eye contact signals confidence, while evasive eyes signal the lack thereof. Dating coach Nick Notas also highlighted why eye contact is important. He said looking into someone’s eyes helps create a connection, and avoiding eye contact can make a woman feel distant from you, setting an awkward tone. Similarly, a warm smile can go a long way to diffuse tension on a date. A smile says that you feel comfortable with them, you’re having a good time, and they can relax around you. To make a good first impression, create the aura of someone happy and excited about life by approaching your date with enthusiasm, a smile, and open body language. These behaviors will increase the odds that your date will instantly put you into a positive state of mind and be filled with positive energy and excitement.

Your hygiene and grooming.

Your pre-date routine should include basic things like brushing your teeth, combing your hair, and taking a shower. It’s not much to ask, and your date will appreciate it. Things like groomed eyebrows, a trimmed beard, and fresh breath show pride in your appearance. Body odors or dirty fingernails suggest a lack of self-awareness. Do you look like you take care of your hair and skin, and do you smell good? A well-groomed person with proper manners shows he has respect for himself and others. Everything else can be worked on or brushed off unless they’re jobless or married.

What you’re wearing.

Ensure that you’re appropriately dressed for the setting. You don’t want to be underdressed in an old T-shirt in an upscale restaurant or overdressed in a three-piece suit in a pub. Being well-dressed is less about wearing expensive clothes and more about wearing the right clothes for the occasion. To show this, business casual may be perfect for your job, but it’s inappropriately stuffy for most first dates. It should go without saying, but your shoes and clothes should look clean.

How much you talk about yourself.

Is the conversation one-sided, or does it have a nice back-and-forth? If your date can’t get a word in edgewise, that’s an issue. Do they just talk about themselves, or do they listen? You should also pay attention to whether they talk with you and not at you. It’s also not just how much your date talks about themselves, but it’s also what they’re saying. For example, if they say their last partner was crazy or start future-faking or talking about money immediately, spot the red flags.

How you treat your server/your manners.

If your first date is at a restaurant or bar, you better believe your date is going to notice how politely you interact with the people who work in the establishment. It screams volumes about someone’s character. You should also pay attention to things like whether your date opens the door for you or asks where you want to sit. None of these things are dealbreakers or required in any way, but it just tells a lot about their personality and how okay they might be with yours. Some people are awkward and need some time and space to ‘warm up’ to someone, so they’ll likely give people the benefit of the doubt for the same reason. Still, some very simple behaviors can hint at compatibility.

Things your date likely won’t notice.

You may feel self-conscious about perceived imperfections like a small scar or a few extra pounds, but your date probably isn’t focusing on any of that and neither should you. Unless it’s something obvious, your date isn’t focusing on little details. They’re focused on how you make them feel and your overall vibe. The same mindset goes for blemishes or pimples. Everyone gets the occasional zit, so unless you have one that takes over your face, you’re better off not calling attention to it and just enjoying your date. Your date probably won’t be paying close attention to your wardrobe choices. You want the overall look to be put together, but outside of that, the specifics don’t matter that much.

There’s a lot of emphasis on not only what to wear but on which brands to choose, but rarely do you hear from someone that they like a date due to the brands or specific clothing items they wore. Typically, they’ll notice if someone is dressed poorly or if their clothes are worn, but outside of that, labels typically don’t matter on a first date. Your outfit choice probably won’t tank a date as long as it’s appropriate for the setting. If your clothes look fitted and clean, they’ll walk away with a positive impression of your style.

The best advice is to focus on being your best, most present self when you meet your date versus worrying about any more small details, like which of two shirts to wear. It may be best to do something that makes you feel good, like watching a comedy special or going to the gym, before going on a date to make the best first impression.

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