5 First Date Body Language Don’ts
Want to know what makes the difference between a first date going okay and a date going really well? It’s the unconscious signals we give off and receive throughout the evening.
Most of the time we can’t control them, but knowing a little about the kinds of signals our body language sends can help to make your date feel more at ease, and to warm up to you more quickly. On a first date, keeping close control over your body language is essential.
Here are five things to look out for the next time you’re on a first date.
1) Crossing your arms
Crossing your arms ranks right at the top of the list of defensive postures, and definitely sends the wrong message. It shows that you’re bored, and that you’re protecting yourself from the other person. There is another variant of it, called the ‘broken zipper’ position, which is when you clasp your hands together at your crotch. Both of these postures convey uncertainty or a lack of confidence.
2) Avoiding eye contact
Holding someone’s gaze throughout a conversation is more difficult than most people think. A lot of the time, we get it wrong – either avoiding the other person’s eyes entirely, or focusing on them too much (which really creeps people out). Learn to look into someone’s eyes when they’re talking, but also learn to be aware of when your eye contact is getting too intense. It takes a lot of practice, but eventually you’ll get it right.
You shred napkins, twist drinking straws around your finger, or fold up the paper menu into tiny shapes. It’s not cute. Stop it. It’ll make your date think that you’re interested in everything around you except her. It’s a difficult impulse to control, but doing so will make you better dating material, and that’s a fact.
4) Invading her personal space
This is a tricky one, especially if you’re not from a Western country. In the West people generally consider a distance of less than 12 inches (30cm) to be ‘intimate’, and reserved only for partners or very close family. On a first date, you want to stay at least 18 inches away from her face unless explicitly invited in.
5) Patting during the hug
Even if the date went badly, the hug is inevitable. Avoid doing the condescending ‘pat’ thing on her back – nobody actually likes that, but we do it all the time. If this is the moment where the goodbye hug turns into the goodbye kiss, that pat is the nail that will seal the date’s coffin.
Learning to be aware of your body language is extremely important in coming across as confident, casual and relaxed, and making someone else feel the same. Once you notice the things you do wrong, it’s easy to avoid doing them, and you’ll immediately notice the change in response from other people.