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The whole point of dating is to connect with a person and see if they are compatible with us. First dates are important in making that connection as soon as possible.

Often, these are the first impressions a person will have of us. And if a first date goes wrong, then it’s unlikely we will have a chance to connect with that person again in the future.

This article provides advice on how to connect with a person as best as possible. By following these tips, you’ll learn more about the person and they’ll learn more about you, and you can then both see if you are a good fit for each other.

Here are the best ways you can connect more on your first date.


Ask questions

Asking the other person questions is one of the best ways to really learn more about them.

What is this person’s interests? What is their long-term goals? What do they do for fun? What kind of movies and music do they like? What was their life like growing up? What are their beliefs and worldview?

There are a million and one questions we can ask a person to find out more about them. Each one of these questions can be turned into a full-blown conversation.

Now, don’t turn into a question-asking machine. That can become annoying. But if you are ever searching for something to talk about, asking a question is a great way to keep the interaction flowing, all while learning more about what your date is really about.



Really listen and pay attention

To understand more about a person and really connect with them, we must at least be willing to listen and pay attention to them.

For one night, give yourself a chance to get to know the other person and see what makes them tick. Be interested. Be curious.

It may turn out that you don’t like them, but you can’t know for sure until you listen to who they are as a person. Our undivided attention is a prerequisite to any happy and meaningful connection.


Be honest about yourself – don’t exaggerate

You should never feel the need to lie or exaggerate to prove yourself to another person. Instead, be comfortable in your own skin and be honest with who you are.

Pretending to be someone you’re not is unattractive – and most people can see through your bullshit. And even if your lies and exaggerations impress your date, dishonesty is not something that can sustain a real, long-term relationship.

The science of honesty is clear that lying less improves our relationships and trust.



Share something positive about yourself

Everyone has something positive about themselves.

And during your first date, you shouldn’t be hesitant to share some of these positive things – such as your accomplishments and successes stories, especially when they are relevant to the conversation.

Don’t brag, but make it clear who you are and the types of things you find important in life. Your date will appreciate your openness and willingness to share yourself.

Also, when we share things about ourselves, other people are willing to share things about themselves too. Just be sure to keep it an equal exchange and not to turn it into a contest on who is better.


Keep your cellphone in your pocket

While socializing, you shouldn’t make it a habit to look at your phone too much. It’s often a sign of boredom or disinterest, and it distracts you from fully connecting with the other person.

In fact, one recent study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that even the mere presence of a phone in a room during a conversation causes people to report worse relationship quality, trust, and empathy with that person.

I’m sure we’ve all had experiences when we are trying to talk to someone and they are texting on their phone or checking their Facebook. Try your best to avoid being that person while on your date.


Have fun and don’t let anything ruin your mood

A date should always be a good time and stress-free. You should be lighthearted, fun, and easy going – with a subtle sense of adventure and excitement in your voice.

So if things don’t go as planned, just shrug it off and continue smiling and enjoying yourself. Don’t let little things eat you up and cause you to ruin an otherwise good night.

Spill something on yourself? Laugh about it. Waiter is rude? Ignore it. Your date is being a bummer? Crack a joke and get them out of their shell.

Don’t let anything get under your skin. The more relaxed you are, the smoother everything will go, and the easier it’ll be to have fun and connect with the other person in a positive way.



Have a warm and playful touch

Touch has a very powerful impact on our relationships.

Harry Harlow’s famous studies in the 1960s showed that monkeys often choose physical comfort over food when they have to – this exemplifies the instinctual need for touch in our bonding and relationships.

Humans are the same way. We crave touch so that we feel comfort, trust, and connection with others.

On a first date, you can use the power of touch to create a stronger bond with someone. Simple things like high fives, quick hugs, holding hands, and friendly “hits” on the arm can jump start an instant connection with the other person.


Always be respectful

One rule to any date should be to always show respect. If someone doesn’t want to do something, you shouldn’t pressure them to do it. This is just common decency.

Everyone has different boundaries. And if we don’t want to offend someone or turn them off, then we should be aware of those boundaries and respect them.


Know when to end the date – don’t let it drag on

Another good thing on a first date is to know when to end it.

Our minds tend to put more importance on how an experience ends rather than the experience as a whole. This is why it is important to end on a high note and leave with a lasting, positive impression.

Too much time with a person in one sitting can spoil the moment. You don’t want to end the date spending 3 hours watching re-runs of Cops on your couch.

Instead know when it’s time to leave. If a true connection is built you’ll see the person again soon enough.


Follow up later saying you had a good time

There are so many “rules” about when to get back to a person after a first date, like “wait 2 days” or “wait a week.” This is usually meant so that you don’t come off desperate.

However, I say if you had a good time with the person, just send them a quick text when you get home or when you wake up the next morning.

It’s nothing fancy – you’re not looking to spark a lengthy conversation or anything – just say “Hey, I had a good time with you. We should hang out again sometime.” and that’s that.

Keep it short and sincere, the other person will likely appreciate the small gesture.


Discover more tools to daily growth in the digital guide The Science of Self Improvement

The Science of Self Improvement

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