Any first date is nerve wracking but with Internet Dating the pressure is well and truly on. This is because we live in a truly disposable society where if something doesn’t quite fit, it is discarded without question. A first date has to be impressive, not necessarily with bells ringing and an intense physical chemistry apparent, but there has to be that excitement, an inner enthusiasm, a twinkle in the eye that appeals.
If you think that the moment you walk into a room and your eyes meet, you may extend your hand in greeting but in those first few seconds that first impression has been made. When you shake hands, what goes through your mind? Is their handshake firm? Weak? Insipid? Did you like the contact or were you repulsed by it? This may seem a strong reaction but it truly does happen. Internet dating cannot pre-empt that all important first meeting, it doesn’t matter how much you have chatted about your likes and dislikes, how many times you have said that you are so alike it’s uncanny. Virtually, your connection is a weak one until that absolute physical presence has been made. So all in all, your first meeting has to count.
I say this not to incite fear especially if you feel shy and less than confident but just because it’s a fact. There will always be some who just enjoy company and may wish to meet up socially anyway which may seem a contradiction to the point, but you don’t really know what someone’s motives are until you get to know them.
In the first instance, your profile was their first impression. They liked your photo, they were intrigued or felt a connection with your profile content and they enjoyed any email or phone conversations that took place as a result. But to make a good real first impression, you have to consider what they look at when they see you. This isn’t about being the most attractive person; this is about you, the whole you. Whether you were going for a job interview or were heading into an important business meeting with a room full of strangers, that first impression counts and you need to think overall how you come across.
Are you confident? Dynamic? Interesting? Are you able to hold a conversation and to interact even on topics that may not hold much appeal? It doesn’t matter whether you have all of those qualities; it’s about what you do with the qualities you have and how you engage others. You may have quiet appeal, an attractiveness that is exceptional through intrigue and a sense of mysteriousness. Or perhaps your humour is flamboyant and compelling and your face lights up as you entertain? Know your strengths and play to them. Try to perceive you as if you were witnessing you walking into the room.
Body language is so important on a first date. It’s about making eye contact, leaning in to talk in a confidential and conspiring fashion. It’s about being natural and the ability to simply enjoy the date for what it is. It’s about having the inner strength to like who you are and to not worry what anyone else thinks. Any flaws make you human, touchable and relatable. Perceived perfection has the ability to freeze others out, embrace your flaws as they add individuality.
With all of the confidence in the world, it’s still important to make an effort to impress. Dress to suit your personality and your environment, discuss life, views and ambitions but hold back on any bitterness or betrayal that may still haunt you. A depressed outlook is not an endearing quality and has no place on a first date. Above all else, show genuine interest in your date, hold their gaze if you like them, listen to them and respond.
First dates can be intimidating, unexpected and awkward, prepare for the unexpected and do not set your future happiness on the strength of this encounter. Make the most of any nervous energy, isn’t that the fun part? The anticipation, the wonder, the possibilities. Make the most of your first impression by simply going with the flow and relaxing into the evening, whatever the outcome, the experience is yours to relish.
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