Have you ever read the first page of a book in a bookstore (if you still buy books that way, that is!) and decided not to buy it? It might have been a really great book, but you didn’t want to take the chance and spend the time to read 50 pages. It takes at least 50 pages to know if a book is okay, good, or great. But….you put the book back on the shelf because it just didn’t make a good first impression.
It obviously takes a lot of time to get to know someone. Really know them. But research shows that people make snap judgments based on first impressions within the first five seconds of meeting someone. As ridiculous as that may be, it is probably worth thinking about what kind of first impression you are making, while still being true to yourself. Then, if you can both get past the first page – you can settle in and take the time to get a “good read” on each other.
First impressions are not just about appearances by any means. The inside shows through, even in those first moments. It’s a good idea to start with the inside.
- Know yourself. Align with your values and goals. If you speak truthfully, from the heart, even if it’s about the weather or your job, your own inner integrity will be evident.
- Know what you require, need and want from a relationship. If you do, you are more likely to shoot from the hip and avoid attracting the wrong kind of person with those first impressions.
- Be aware of what your intentions are for dating. Do you want to date for fun and recreation or are you ultimately looking for a committed relationship? Yes, even this kind of self-awareness will inform the way you come across to others.
- Set and keep emotional and physical boundaries. Our bodies speak volumes. If you have wobbly boundaries, it will be apparent to others. This connects to self-confidence.
- Be confident. True confidence is self-acceptance, self-assurance, and self-love. Your wisdom, your life experiences, your goals, your special heart –these things are worth feeling good about. Your acceptance of yourself will be evident in the self-assured manner with which you present yourself to the world. That is you. That is confidence. Check out a blog I wrote about dating confidence for more help with this.
Though the inside that shines through to the outside when you meet someone for the first time is clearly the most important part of first impressions, there are things on the outside to work on too.
- Body Language. The non-verbal communication our bodies engage in every moment of our lives is “heard” loud and clear by everyone we meet. Open body language will put the other person at ease and will say, “I’m interested.” This posture includes standing or sitting tall, with head high, arms relaxed, leaning slightly forward, and facing your date directly. You want to appear comfortable, not bored. Confident, not arrogant. Accessible, not vulnerable. I have written a detailed blog about body language with great pointers. You can read it here.
- Appearance. How we present ourselves physically, maintain ourselves, and manifest what is inside on the outside – these are important. People will notice your hair, skin, clothing, grooming. So bring the best version of yourself.
Don’t be worried about that first impression – you will be fine, and anxiety will just put a damper on all that warmth and confidence you want to convey.