We all worry so much about how to end a first date. Kiss or no kiss? Text them on the way home, or wait three days for a call? If you have sex, will they respect you in the morning?
All very interesting, but you may not even get that far if you mess up the very start of your date. If their first impression of you is “grumpy, badly-dressed latecomer,” there’s not much you can do to pull back your chances of that goodnight kiss.
Here are our lucky 13 tips for making a winning first impression.
1. Get some sleep the night before
If you’re tired and running on empty, you won’t just have bleary eyes – you’ll also have a bleary brain. So get an early night before your date, and you’ll turn up looking fresh and ready to shine.
2. Wear something you’re comfortable in
A first date tonight is no time for a brand new outfit. You may not realise how uncomfortable it is until it’s too late to go home and change, and a sales tag hanging down your back is never a good look.
Another good reason to wear familiar clothes is that you should dress to reflect your everyday personality. You want your date to like the real you, not the real you in disguise as someone you once saw in a magazine. Don’t get so distracted by trends that you forget to notice what actually suits you (and what doesn’t).
3. Leave something to the imagination
The more flesh you flash, the less sexy you’ll be. You may have the finest chest within a five-mile radius, but that’s for your new lover to find out when you’re alone together.
4. Go easy on the slap
Lashings of lippy and enough foundation to float a yacht will turn your date off quicker than you can say “drag queen”. Especially if you’re a man.
5. With smellies, less is more
A hint of perfume is incredibly sexy, but strong fragrance will do more harm than good. Do you want your date to smell you before they can see you?
6. Dutch courage doesn’t work
Don’t even think about calming your pre-date nerves with a few swigs of vodka. You may feel less nervous, but that’s because your inhibitions will already be on their way out – and that’s not a good idea when you want to impress someone.
A drink or three before your date begins also means that you’re already primed to get sozzled. As a rule of thumb, don’t get drunk until after your companion does. That way, if you make a fool of yourself, they’re less likely to remember…
7. Meet in a venue that you know
You’ll feel comfortable, and the fact that you know the place will make you seem cool. Also, a place you know won’t present any unexpected surprises, like an ear-busting rock night that kicks off as soon as you’ve ordered your first drink.
What’s more, you’ll know how to get to a familiar venue on time. Which brings us to…
8. Don’t be late
If you keep them waiting around while you battle your way through an unexpectedly complicated maze of buses and trains, they’ll have gone off you before you even arrive. Better to be early than late.
9. Ditch your gum
Before they see you, ideally.
10. Relax your shoulders
Body language speaks volumes. Nervously hunched shoulders and a tense, closed posture tell your date that you’d rather not be there.
Before you walk into the pub or get off the bus, take a few deep breaths, drop your shoulders, and smile. If you learn to act relaxed, you really will feel more relaxed – and you’ll give an impression of being open, approachable and attractive.
11. Make eye contact
Meeting their eye is the single most powerful way to forge an emotional connection in the first few moments of your date.
Don’t overdo it, though. If you can’t take your eyes off them for the first hour of the evening, you’ll make them so nervous that they may “nip to the loo” and never come back. Use your eye contact to show that you’re interested and confident, not psychopathic.
12. Keep your hands to yourself
Hand-shakes are for job interviews, and hugging is too familiar for a first date. If you’ve swapped a few emails or met briefly before, a quick peck on the cheek is fine – but only if you feel comfortable with it. If in doubt, or if your companion seems particularly shy, just say “hello”. Once the conversation is flowing, feel free to flirt with bit of arm-touching.
Smile with a relaxed face and plenty of eye contact, and it shows your date that you’re happy to see them. They’ll find it almost impossible not to smile back, and that’s about the best start that a date can have.
Make sure that it’s a genuine smile, though. If you hide your smile behind a nervous nose-rub, you won’t seem sincere – and you’ll give the impression that you’re disappointed.