Make a good impression on a first date

How to make a good first impression on a date

by Fran Creffield - December 2, 2013

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. The key to making the most of those vital few minutes when you first meet a date lies as much in your attitude as your appearance

Online dating is different from meeting people in more conventional settings. You’ll have already spent some time conversing online and you’ll have seen photographs of each other, but still the first few minutes of face to face meeting is crucial.

The basics

Although these things may seem obvious, they’re so important that they’re worth mentioning in any advice about first impressions whether it’s for a job interview or dating:

  • Dress well – be comfortable and relaxed but look your best in clean, freshly laundered clothes.
  • Personal grooming – show your date you think they are worth making an effort for.
  • Arrive early or on time so you don’t get there rushed and flustered giving the impression that time management could be an issue

It’s a date not a job interview

While you want to create a good first impression, you can’t pretend to be something you’re not on a date. If it works out and you get ‘hired’ you‘ll be entering an intimate relationship with this person and any pretence will be exposed as they get to know you.

The stiff formality of a job interview is also not conducive to a successful date. What makes someone appear charming and charismatic is if they’re comfortable in their own skin, are obviously enjoying your company and are attentive to your thoughts, needs and opinions.

Be open

Your body language is the first thing that your date will notice about you before you even open your mouth to speak. Make eye contact, smile as though you’re genuinely pleased to see them and have your arms and legs uncrossed. All these things will help make you look welcoming rather than defensive. A handshake or kiss on the cheek is appropriate.

Don’t be on your phone

It seems these days that whenever anyone has time to kill, whether it’s queuing at the supermarket or sitting on the train, they pull out their mobile phone and lose touch of what’s going on around them. This is not a good strategy when you’re dating because your date is going to spot you and begin to form their first impression before they ever reach you. If they see someone hunched over their phone frantically playing Candy Crush Saga with a look of angry concentration they’ll get a very different impression than if they see someone poised and waiting with eager anticipation for the person they’re there to meet.

Being on your phone gives the impression you can’t bear even a few minutes with your own thoughts.

Unconditional positive regard

Your attitude towards your date, and dating in general, will be conveyed in many conscious and unconscious ways. If, while you’re waiting for them, you’re thinking ‘Well this is probably a complete waste of time’ or ‘He’s probably just like all the others’, it will come across – even if you put a fake smile on your face. Bitterness and cynicism are blocks to being open to meeting someone on an even keel because they’ll stop you from being able to ‘see’ them.

Approach each date with a commitment to regard them positively no matter how they’re dressed, what their accent is like or whether they’re very nervous etc. By making this commitment to see the positive in each and every date, unconditionally, you won’t necessarily want to see them again but you’ll feel good about yourself and enjoy the time you spend with them more.

Imagine what a great first impression you’d make if you approached every person you met with this same attitude.