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12 Evidence-based Strategies on How To Have A Good First Date

Securing a first date can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, to make it a great date comes from the connection and chemistry that two people have. However, you can also make it a great dating experience without those two human-based factors with a little bit of understanding of psychology and creating a solid strategy of navigating modern dating and dates as a whole. You will have to be the most authentic you and be hopeful along the way but this mindset mixed with a little bit of evidence-based strategy will help you secure and create an incredible first date.

So, if you’ve just met someone new you might be mindful of how to make a great first impression, which we all know really counts to create connection and help you pave the way for a successful and enjoyable first date. Lets explore twelve evidence-based strategies supported by research and insights from other incredible psychology and science-based incredible relationship experts. By incorporating these strategies into your dating approach, you can increase your chances of securing a fantastic first date.

1. Be Genuine and Authentic

Being genuine and authentic is vital when pursuing a potential partner, you have to also embody those factors to make a relationship work and create a true connection. When you aren’t being authentic you lose integrity to yourself and your needs as you shift the focus on trying to be someone else in order to get your date to like you. Acting in a different way and being anything other than authentic is only temporary, it’s not sustainable as you will end up ‘acting’ out other traits that aren’t quite for you.

The Gottman Institute emphasizes the importance of authenticity in building meaningful connections. Research has shown that individuals who are true to themselves and open about their intentions tend to form more successful and satisfying relationships.

Honesty and authenticity foster trust and create a genuine foundation for your first date. Avoid putting on a façade or pretending to be someone you're not, as this can lead to misunderstandings and disappointment later on because as mentioned before, it’s not sustainable for the longterm.

2. Show Genuine Interest

Demonstrating genuine interest in your date is essential to creating a great first impression. Esther Perel stresses the significance of curiosity in fostering meaningful connections. Curiosity is the key to creating connection on any level with another human being, its how friendships form and when you’re in a romantic relationship the foundation of this conenction is friendship. Ultimately, curiosity is the baseline and connection deepens from there, whether that is with someone you are on a first date with or if you’re in a committed relationship that results in marriage. By showing curiosity and asking thoughtful questions about your date's life, interests, and aspirations, you communicate your interest in getting to know them on a deeper level.

Research indicates that demonstrating interest in someones life and experiences is positively associated with relationship satisfaction. So, be an active listener and engage in meaningful conversations during your first date, not just the surface level stuff.

3. Practice Positive Body Language

Body language can speak louder than words, and it plays a significant role in forming first impressions. Paul Carrick Brunson emphasizes the importance of positive body language in dating and relationships. Studies have shown that open and confident body language can make you appear more approachable and attractive to potential partners.

Maintain eye contact, smile genuinely, and use open gestures to convey warmth and interest during your first date. Positive body language not only makes you more appealing but also helps your date feel comfortable and engaged in the interaction as you get to know each other better and, hopefully, form a deeper connection that goes beyond a first date.

4. Choose an Engaging Date Activity

The activity you choose for your first date can significantly impact your overall experience and dating journey in general. The Gottman Institute recommends selecting an engaging and enjoyable activity that encourages interaction and communication.

Research suggests that engaging in novel and exciting activities together can enhance feelings of connection and attraction. Consider activities that allow you to converse and share experiences, such as going to a museum, taking a cooking class, or exploring a local market.

5. Focus on Emotional Connection

Perel highlights the importance of emotional connection in building strong relationships. On your first date, focus on creating an emotional bond with your potential partner. Share your thoughts and feelings honestly, and encourage them to do the same. You can do this by asking questions gently and curiously and being open to whatever your dates response might be. You can make statements about your thoughts and invite open questions for input and feedback from the person in front of you to check out how your way of seeing the world lands for them.

By doing this you are able to also gauge their worldy view, aligned interests, values and ways of communicating. Research has shown that emotional intimacy is a significant predictor of relationship satisfaction and longevity. By nurturing emotional connection from the start, you set the foundation for a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.

6. Be Respectful and Courteous

Respect and courtesy go a long way in securing a great first date. Brunson emphasizes the importance of treating your date with respect and consideration. We recommend conducting your date this way no matter how attracted or connected you feel to the other person. You can create meaningful interactions and a joyful life when you show up with respect, kindness and courtesy. If you’re not feeling a physical spark you can still create meaningful connections no matter what.

Studies have found that individuals who feel respected and valued in their relationships report higher levels of satisfaction. Be mindful of your words and actions, and treat your date with kindness and courtesy, as this lays the groundwork for a positive and respectful relationship.

7. Avoid Excessive Self-Disclosure

While it's crucial to be authentic and open, excessive self-disclosure on a first date can be overwhelming and off-putting. The Gottman Institute suggests maintaining a balance between sharing personal information and respecting your date's boundaries. You don’t have to share every single detail about your life with the person in front of you, curiosity and mystery is also a key factor in developing eroticism of desire. So, it could be said that by leaving information to be desired you can create that spark over time. AND, slow burners are the best!

Research indicates that self-disclosure can foster intimacy, but it should be approached gradually and reciprocally. Avoid divulging deeply personal information or discussing past relationships in excessive detail during the first date.

8. Express Gratitude

Expressing gratitude is a powerful way to create a positive and appreciative atmosphere on your first date. Esther Perel emphasizes the importance of gratitude in nurturing relationships.

Research shows that expressing gratitude leads to increased relationship satisfaction and enhances emotional connection. Take the time to thank your date for their company and the effort they put into the date. Simple acts of appreciation can leave a lasting positive impression.

9. Be Present and Engaged

Being present and engaged during your first date is essential for fostering a meaningful connection. Active listening and being fully attentive to your date.

Research has shown that active listening enhances relationship satisfaction and fosters emotional closeness. Put away distractions such as your phone and make an effort to be fully present during your date, giving your undivided attention to your potential partner.

10. Practice Empathy

Empathy is a fundamental aspect of successful relationships. We need to listen actively, look with soft eyes and have the ability to put ourselves in our partners shoes (even if we havent experienced what theyre going through) to experience empathy. Without empathy we operate from a place thinking we know everything and everything is as we see it. We need to be able to have empathy to create closeness on an emotional level and understanding of the other person we relate to romantically. The Gottman Institute's research highlights the importance of empathy in understanding and responding to your partner's emotions.

On your first date, practice empathy by putting yourself in your date's shoes and trying to understand their perspectives and feelings and carry this through the relationships you have across the board. Empathy fosters emotional connection and creates a sense of validation and support.

11. Be Mindful of Non-Verbal Cues

In addition to positive body language, being mindful of non-verbal cues can significantly impact your first date. The Gottman Institute suggests paying attention to subtle non-verbal signals, such as tone of voice and facial expressions.

Research indicates that non-verbal communication plays a critical role in understanding emotions and intentions. Being mindful of your own non-verbal cues and interpreting your date's signals can lead to better communication and a deeper connection.

12. Follow Up with Sincerity

After a successful first date, following up with sincerity is essential for fostering continuity and interest. Esther Perel recommends reaching out to your date with a thoughtful message expressing your enjoyment of the date.

Research suggests that post-date communication is linked to relationship satisfaction and commitment. A sincere follow-up message can demonstrate your interest and pave the way for future interactions.

Ensuring you have a great first date and build positive momentum in the modern dating journey involves a combination of authenticity, positive communication, and emotional connection. By incorporating evidence-based strategies from relationship experts you can increase your chances of making a positive impression and fostering a meaningful connection with your potential partner(s) along the way.

Be genuine and authentic, show genuine interest, and practice positive body language. Choose an engaging date activity, focus on emotional connection, and be respectful and courteous. Avoid excessive self-disclosure, express gratitude, and be present and engaged during the date. Practice empathy, be mindful of non-verbal cues, and follow up with sincerity after the date.

By implementing these twelve evidence-based strategies, you can confidently navigate the dating process and set the stage for a promising and fulfilling relationship. Remember, be true to yourself, enjoy the journey, and keep an open heart for the possibilities that lie ahead.

Just know you CAN really enjoy dating with these strategies and mastering your mindset around it!

If you're feeling unsure then perhaps you would benefit from going on a journey to deep connection with yourself and others through love life coaching? I help singles go from stuck, unsure and overwhelmed in dating to clear, calm and excited about the process. Enquire about my dating and relationship coaching here.

Much Love,

Sarah x


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