How to make a great first impression
First impressions matter. Love at first sight may be a myth, but those first few moments are vital when you’re out to impress. People can’t help but form an immediate opinion of you based on your appearance, your body language and the way you’re dressed, and this opinion helps to determine whether they hang around long enough to get to know you better.
Some first impressions matter more than others, particularly when you’re meeting men. One recent survey for a women’s magazine found that three-quarters of men notice a woman’s hair first, wheras only a handful of men mentioned clothes. That’s something to bear in mind next time you’re wondering whether to spend 50 quid on a haircut or a dress.
Read on to find out which five things men see first when they first see you, and how this can help you in the dating game.
1. Your hair
Hair takes the top spot for a number of reasons. First, it’s easy to spot. You may have a bottom to make Pippa Middleton weep with envy, but it’s unlikely to be the thing men notice first about you unless you’re holding a wedding dress train outside Westminster Abbey.
Men don’t just glance at a swooshy, shiny mane of hair and then move onto your other assets. They glance at it, and then keep on glancing. Long hair in good condition is extremely sexy, as is short hair with a sleek or fashionable cut. It’s a potent symbol of femininity that screams out to be touched. It also shows that you look after yourself and take pride in your appearance – qualities that many men rate very highly indeed. That said, you don’t want to look high-maintenance, so don’t overdo the products or extreme styling. Just keep your hair clean and conditioned, and invest in a good cut that suits your hair and your features.
Don’t feel pressured to cut your hair just because you’re getting older, or because Emma Watson cut hers. Only an exceptionally elfin face can carry off a drastic buzz cut. Most of us benefit from a glossy frame of hair, and the right haircut can work magic on balancing your facial features.
2. Your eyes
If your hair is your face’s frame, your eyes are its windows. Grown men can be hypnotised by a swoosh of beautiful hair followed by knockout eye contact. Eyes are so powerful because they are about direct communication, and eye contact enables you to make an instant connection with a stranger.
Psychologist Arthur Arun tested the power of eye contact by dividing pairs of strangers into two groups. One group of pairs engaged in intense conversation, while the other pairs stared silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes. Each time he did this test, the eye-contact couples reported feeling much more connected than the intimate-chat couple. One eye-contact couple even got married. So much for the power of conversation!
Make the most of your eyes by getting used to making and maintaining eye contact. It can be difficult if you’re the shy type, but its results can be extremely powerful. Also learn a few tricks of the make-up trade. Good make-up and well-shaped brows can make your eyes extraordinary, but too much can have the opposite effect.
3. Your shoes
Hair, eyes… shouldn’t smile come next? Not according to the men we spoke to. When asked what they noticed first, men were surprisingly keen to mention the importance of stylish shoes. Particularly, and predictably, high heels.
High heels will catch a man’s eye because they give you a sexy edge and improve your posture and the shape of your legs, but only if you can walk in them properly. Uncomfortable heels, like too much eye make-up, do more harm than good. There’s some reassurance for those of us who can’t or won’t wear heels: cool pumps, boots and on-trend trainers also go down well with men. Falling-apart old trainers or mis-shapen ugg boots, not so much. The key here is to wear stylish, quality shoes that co-ordinate with your outfit, and which you can walk in without wincing or lurching.
4. Your Smile
Smile at him, and that’s when he really sees your face. He won’t notice the slight crookedness of your teeth, or the chapped bit on your lip, or the spot that appeared this morning, or even if you’ve got a bit of food stuck in between your incisors – he’ll notice the sincerity and friendliness of your smile.
Meet his eye when you do it and he’ll find it impossible not to smile back – and that’s about the best first impression you can make.
5. Your body
Men notice a woman’s body. They can’t help it. That’s not to say that men judge you on your body shape as soon as you walk into the room, just that they can’t help but look at it. And chances are they’ll notice within seconds whether you’re comfortable with your body, so be sure to dress in a way that shows off your best assets, but leaves a little something to the imagination.
If you worry about the size of your tummy, thighs, arms and so on, don’t despair. Every woman has something about themselves that they’d like to change, but the good news is that most men won’t notice the bits that you do – they’re just happy at the prospect of seeing you naked. Embrace your femininity and go out with confidence, safe in the knowledge that your body will do at least some of the talking for you.