First dates can be treacherous territory. Whether you're meeting someone you connected with online, you're being set up by friends, or you met this person by happenstance out and about, the anxiety behind the first date is all the same. We want to show the best version of ourselves. We also don't want to waste our own time or their time if it's not a good fit. Things don't always go according to plan, however. Sometimes a first date seems like it's going well but leads nowhere. Other times a date can go wrong, but you find that you want to see them again. Sometimes first dates are perfectly ordinary, too. So how do you know if a first date has gone well? What are the subtle signs that are ultimately a sign of good chemistry? How can you tell these subtle signs apart from mixed signals? And if you don't think it went well, how do you know if you should see the person again anyway?
Studies show that men and women see signs a first date went well differently. What a man tends to think makes a first date a success is different from what a woman thinks makes a good first date. Men think women are attracted to them if they get physical with their flirting, especially if it leads to sex. Women, on the other hand, think men are attracted to them if the conversation flowed nicely. If the man can lead a great conversation, ask good questions, and maintain good eye contact with his date, a woman will feel like a second date will happen. These are general findings, however, and shouldn't be seen as set in stone.
If you want to look critically at a first date and figure out if it went well, try looking at these five signs.
1. You Have Chemistry
Sometimes when you're on a first date with someone you can feel chemistry but the other person doesn't see it, or vice versa. Or, you can want a date to work out so bad that you project chemistry onto them even though you might be able to see it isn't there. There are some subtle signs that you can see if your partner thinks you have chemistry, though. It's all about body language. If your partner mirrors your movements subtly like if they match your smile or match your posture, they're probably attracted to you. If they fully face you when they're talking to you, this shows that they are genuinely interested in you and the date. They might also lean in closer and closer to you as you’re talking; this is one of the great signs that they are interested in you and what you’re saying. If they look around a lot or face the exit at any time, that's a sign they're thinking about heading out. When a great time turns into a bad date for the books, do not be discouraged! Everyone is bound to have a date that’s less than love-at-first-sight, so keep your date ideas at hand and start up the process again when you're ready.
Also, when a date likes you, they will probably try to get as close to you as they can. If you notice your date leaning into you while they speak or inching closer to you while you sit, they probably like you quite a bit. While these aren't foolproof ways to find out if you have chemistry with a date, it is a really good starting point. If they ask for a second date (or you ask and get a yes!), you can check these off the list and pull those date ideas you have on hand for immediate perusal.
2. Your Conversation Flows
If you have great conversations on a date, that could be a sign that it went well. Being able to talk easily with a new person is also a relief when you are just getting to know them. Sometimes talking easily comes after date number two, three, four, etc., so keep an open mind if the very first date isn’t flooded with dialogue. There are people who are shy, or socially anxious, or even just normally quiet, so flowing conversation doesn't have to mean constant communication. Start small with small talk. With some luck, this first date cocktail conversation may dive into deeper dialogue. Additionally, silence may feel awkward on a first date, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the date bombed. Pay attention to how you talk instead of how much you talk. Does your date have interesting things to say? Do you find that you want to get to know them more? Do you want to share things about yourself as well? As you get to know your date, the conversation will get easier. Maybe your date went longer than you expected. Finding yourselves lost in time at the hand of quality conversation is one of many telltale signs of a good date. Even if your conversation isn’t stellar, if you both at least find each other interesting, that's cause for a second date. So, even if you don’t necessarily have a lot of things to talk about but you still sense your date’s interest in keeping the conversation going, that can be one of the great signs that the date went well.
3. You Hug or Kiss At The End Of The Night
A first date doesn't have to lead to sex for it to be considered a good first date. If your date offers up a hug or a chaste kiss, that's also a good sign. It shows that they are attracted to you at least a little bit, and they're wanting physical contact, which shows chemistry. Getting physical doesn't always mean a date went well, either. If a date is looking for a hookup, they might want the one good date, and then they'll move on. Showing some restraint with a hug or a small kiss can show that they are interested in more, but they want to get to know you first. If your date senses this, they’ll likely look forward to the second date.
However, if you do find that they are aloof, you can ask them what they are thinking. Remember that you get to decide how physical you want to get on a first date. Someone who deserves another date with you will respect your limits or boundaries on a first date.
4. He Wants To Know More About You
When you are on a date, and the conversation is flowing, a clear sign that your date senses that they like you is that they have a lot of questions for you. The first dates are for starting to get to know each other. If your date goes on and on about their things but never asks you any questions, they are probably more interested in themselves than you. This inattention could be a warning that date number two will not lead to good results. It could also be a sign that they're feeling good about sharing things with you, hoping you may ask them questions or offering information for you to relate to. Both are viable reasons for someone to talk too much and ask too little. Though this observation may not make for a date you immediately felt true love for, it may encourage you to pursue understanding someone closer.
Many times, if a date truly wants to get to know you more, they'll ask you about your life, your interests, possibly your past, and future plans. Your answers to these questions will help you see if you are interested in a second date, too. If you want to open up about who you are, you probably enjoy their company and want them to get to know you.
On the flip side, do you want to get to know your date? Are you interested in their life and their interests? When a conversation can go back and forth between the two of you asking questions, there's probably mutual chemistry happening.
5. You Share the Same Values
To the outside world, a first date can go perfectly even if you didn't feel it. This is because sometimes first dates tick off all of the physical signs, but you aren't a match internally. If you don't share the same values with your date, it would be a bumpy road to try and continue a relationship with them. Values aren't the same as interests. You should be able to sense how your date views and responds to the world, no matter what their interests or hobbies are. You can have wonderful relationships with people who have different hobbies, tastes, and habits. It's harder to have a relationship with someone who doesn't believe the same things you do, though. They may think differently about having kids, getting married, spending time with family. Finding these differences will probably send up a red flag in the back of your head. Are you willing to work through these differences for this date? Are any of these red flags true deal breakers?
If you do share the same values, you may be off to a great start. When you have a date that connects on a deeper level, you’re more likely to love dating and continuing a relationship with that person. Plus, the relationship is more likely to be healthy for both of you. Even if you have different interests, that can be fun, and is no reason why you shouldn’t have a fun first date. If you are both inwardly reaching for the same goals and values, you can always work out wanting to do different things. You might even find something new you like because your date first showed it to you. If you are a religious person and religion is important to you, a date will probably go well if you have a first date who shares that religious background.
First dates can be fun and memorable with the right person. When a first date goes well, you usually already know. Intuitively, you'll see how the two of you connect and will realize you want the dating to continue.
Unfortunately, dates can go well but then never lead to a second date. They can give you all the signs and still not call, or say they had fun but aren't interested. In these cases, it's usually something they're working through on their own.
If you are in the dating scene and can't seem to make it past a first date, you might want to consider relationship counseling. Through ReGain, you will be matched with a licensed counselor that can help you through the process of dating by helping you find your self-esteem and giving you guidance on the dating process. ReGain will allow a deeper conversation than you might experience if you call and converse with friends about the date you cannot seem to get past. For more information on ReGain please go to www.regain.us/start.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you know if the first date went well?
Some subtle signs that indicate a great date can be as simple as suggesting future date ideas. In fact, this is one of the best signs your first date went well. These may casually pop up into conversation as you discuss your hobbies, interests, etc., or they may be intentional suggestions meant to initiate plans for another date night.
Some clear signs may include those physical touches throughout the night. Is your date playing footsie under the dinner table? Are fingers brushing together? Are hands being held? While some people believe physical signs are the best signs, remember that other signs a first date went well can involve less physicality and more conversation. Being asked to hang out or go on date number whatever can be a great time to build on a relationship before physical intimacy.
Keep in mind that these indicators can vary depending on your date’s personality (and your own). Remember, you don’t have to fall in love just from a first date. For example, if one or both individuals are shy, they may have a harder time opening up their feelings to the other and/or be afraid to take the next step in developing a relationship. Maybe they are unsure of what kind of relationship they are looking for? Maybe they know but are nervous to enter into a relationship? Be patient and have a good time - the rest will fall into place if it’s meant to be.
Had a great first date now what?
So, there was not a red flag on your first day and there were signs your date went well. Perhaps there were even signs of chemistry. The next steps after the first date can involve a bit of planning. Date ideas should be thought out carefully. Ensuring that you don’t simply repeat the first date all over again is key. You also do not necessarily want it to be a poorly planned out cheap date. If you went to dinner on the first date, the second date should not be another dinner date (and certainly should not be at the same restaurant if you choose to repeat this classic first date idea). You might want to check your social media feeds for new and unique date ideas. Perhaps talk with couples you know and see what their date ideas are. Better yet, reflect on your date’s interests and hobbies discussed on your first date to come up with a date-inspired date! Signs you’re on the right track include relevancy to your date’s interests, not too complex (since this is only a second date), and sentimental. Here you are looking for signs of chemistry, including emotional chemistry and physical chemistry. Any obvious sign of chemistry is a sign of good chemistry.
Can you like someone after a first date?
Of course, there are people in the world who can go on a first date and immediately know that they like (or love) someone, these people have real chemistry. Of course, some people conclude a date with no more information or feelings other than that they enjoyed the date. These folks do not have positive or negative signs of chemistry; they don’t feel anything significant. For them, a date it’s just a date. If you are concerned that you don’t “really like someone after a first date,” don’t fret just yet. While some first dates are remarkable or undeniably special, other first dates can surely be awkward and confusing to interpret. Give yourself a couple more dates to figure out your feelings for someone. After date number two or three, if you are still not feeling the magic, give yourself some time alone before going on another first date. Who knows! Maybe your love-on-a-first-date will come with the next new person. Having real chemistry or signs of chemistry is important. If you are not feeling good chemistry on a third or fourth date, and you are not sure that you should extend the date further, it may be best to try and find someone else. If you are someone who loves dating and uses a dating app, then you will not have a problem continuing your search to find some that you see signs of chemistry with from the beginning.
Who should text first after a first date?
While our society has placed a heavier burden on men taking the initiative in romantic relationships (for first dates and thereon after), it is not unheard of for women to take the initiative in communicating post-first date. That being said, men: you may want to consider communicating with your gal sooner rather than later (if you are interested in continuing the dating process) because odds are she will be waiting for that text. Women: if you had a wonderful time on your first date and are happy to initiate the conversation first, you go girl! There are no specific “rules and regulations” regarding who communicates first after a first date, so do what feels comfortable.
How do you know if there is chemistry on your first date?
Chemistry can take many forms depending on who you are and what you deem a chemical romance. For example, some people may find physical attraction and sexual tension telltale signs for chemistry. Other people may find eye contact and stimulating conversation chemically romantic. Others may find chemistry in the date idea more so than the person they’re dating. Still others hold that if a date makes you laugh, then there is definitely some chemistry brewing under the surface there. These kinds of chemistry are more geared toward what is happening in the environment around the couple and can be confused for romantic chemistry. To answer a question with a question: What do you find romantically stimulating in a date that would cause “chemistry?”
If you met using any of the common dating sites out there, it’s likely that you got a chance to chat a little bit before the first date. Dating sites are a great way to meet people as long as you use safety precautions. If you spoke on a dating site first, you’ll have the advantage of knowing a fact or two about your date before it starts, and as a result, you and your date will have conversation starters to go off of. In this case, chemistry might look like an effortless conversation with your date after the initial shyness of meeting them face to face passes. It could also look like a conversation that both of you are genuinely interested in, no matter how you met. If both of you are on board with going on a second date, that’s the best sign. If your date has a good sense of humor and you don’t feel uncomfortable you could have real chemistry with this person. People with a good sense of humor often are the ones that people sense signs of chemistry with right from the get go.
How do you tell if a guy likes you after a first date?
Signs a first date went well for the guy (and that he probably likes you) can be found in his posture. Looking at the man’s posture throughout the date (and subsequent dates if applicable) can show his openness to you or his closed-off posture. More specifically, look at these details when he laughs with you. Is his laugh accompanied by a posture that signals he is opening his body towards you or is closing himself from you? One posture shows the woman as being accepted into the man’s (let’s call it) laughter circle. He is expressing a state of dominance, accepting the woman with his posture into his space; there are signs of chemistry here. The other posture shows the woman being isolated outside of the man’s laughter circle. In this case, the man is distancing himself emotionally and ultimately romantically; there are no signs of chemistry here.
If you notice that a man has an open posture, it is a great sign. Open posture is a sign of a great first date because it indicates that the person is comfortable with you. If someone’s legs and arms are crossed, that is closed posture. However, if their limbs are uncrossed, it is a marker of open posture. Their arms will rest at their side, and it will not appear as though they are trying to hide. Open posture doesn’t just indicate that someone is comfortable with you. It also indicates that someone is interested and that they’re listening when you speak, and that’s a great sign. Some people might be nervous on a first date, so posture and other cues may vary, but if you do notice open posture, it is likely a good thing. There are signs of chemistry and you may have found someone special to date long term.
Try your best to be mindful of your own posture and expressions when you want to have a great first date, too. Keep your own posture open, and smile naturally. When you like someone, use active listening skills to show that you care. When it comes to romance dating, and especially first dates, this is important. After all, it is your first impression. Additionally, do not be afraid of casual or light physical touch, such as brushing your hand on their arm. Don’t get too nervous or try to be something you’re not. Most of this will occur without effort. Generally, things will flow as they should, so go with your gut.
What does a hug mean after a first date?
Hugs have received a bad reputation for signs a first date went wrong. While hugs may be used to avoid more romantic displays of affection such as a kiss or sex and thus are seen as being friend-zoned, hugs can be what hugs are: another display of affection. Now, if a hug is followed by a comment such as “You are such a good friend,” or “I love our friendship,” then a hug is probably a signal that friendship is the furthest relationship you can have with this person. Hugs can be a great sign in this manner because a level of emotion is maintained for the continuing friendship instead of emotionally distancing due to the lack of openness found when one doesn’t hug. Additionally, if the rest of the date went well, a hug is probably a great sign. It’s common dating advice to hug someone you like instead of kissing them or engaging in sexual activity on a first date if you like them because it shows that you’re interested in them as a date; not just a hookup. It also shows that you don’t want to move too quickly for the connection to develop in an authentic, comfortable way. Look for other signs your first date went well, such as the words your date says to you both during and after the date and their body language. For more information on open postures and what they mean, please refer to “How do you tell if a guy likes you after a first date?”
It’s possible that you feel like you’re receiving mixed signals if you’re wondering what a hug after the first date means. You might wonder where you stand. Are you a friend or something more? That’s by far one of the most challenging questions to face when it comes to dating or date relationships. Since it’s only the first date, the best dating advice is to see where things go from here. If he asks you out on a second date at the end of your first, that’s a great sign. If you continue to experience confusion as a relationship progresses, it’s time to have a conversation. There’s a certain point where you start to wonder if you’re hanging out and going on dates or if you’re dating dating. While that time may not be on the first date, when it gets to the point where it’s been a few months and you still wonder if you’re dating dating or just hanging out and going on casual dates, it’s important to talk about it.
How do you tell if a date went well with a girl?
Signs a first date when well with a girl can be found in her laughter. Looking closely at when a woman laughs in the presence of her date, her volume level can increase plenty more compared to her everyday chuckle or giggle. This laughter allows the man to see that she is playful and romantically intrigued. Please note: this laughter may be someone’s usually loud laugh, so be sure you have a baseline laugh to compare to and do not immediately assume the woman is attracted to you. This could lead to a very awkward justification for your assumptions. Similarly, you could also look at the frequency of laughter a woman provides for a man. If she is more likely to laugh (even at little tidbits of humor), she may be showing her interest in a man. Additionally, if you immediately felt comfortable with your date, that’s a great sign. It shows that the connection has the potential to grow into something great.
What do you say to a guy after the first date?
Figuring out what you should say to a guy after a first date can be a sticky situation. While the common lesson in seemingly all love stories is that honesty is the best policy, telling someone your feelings for them after only one date can be a gutsy move. Don’t do it. Any dating advice you read will tell you that too much too soon isn’t a good sign. It’s time to get to know each other, so don’t dive headfirst into calling someone your soulmate after the first date, even if it might be true. The best dating advice for this situation is to express that you had a good time on the date. A way to include your honest feelings of interest into a milder appearance would be to simply tell the guy you enjoyed spending time with him. If you would rather not go on a second date, you can also respectfully hint at friendship to indicate a lack of romantic interest. Either way, you are expressing your romantic feelings in a way that is not overpowering to the man but also true to your heart.
What should you not reveal on a first date?
If you are new to dating, you may not be sure what to reveal on a first date. Some common dating tips from a relationship expert on dating and relationship advice simply says, only say what you are comfortable with others repeating if they were to share your date with their friends. This means that if the date is a positive one, and you are off to a good start, do not share your deepest darkest secrets. Wanting to share private details are undeniable signs that you are having amazing first dates, however, do not rush things, according to a dating expert. You want a second date, after all, if things are going that well. If you follow these dating tips, you very well may get a second and third date.
How long does a good first date last?
There is no time limit on how long a good first date should last. It is a positive sign if both you and your date do not want to go home and you are enjoying each other's company. A prominent dating expert says that if a first date lasts more than two hours, it is going well; those are signs of a good first date. Other undeniable signs that your date is going well is they hang out at your doorstep, and are hesitant to leave.
If your date lasts just long enough for the bill to arrive for your date to leave in a rush, then that is a red flag and bad sign that your date did not go well.
How do you tell if it was a good first date?
Undeniable signs that you had a good first date is if your date posted about it on Facebook Twitter or other social media sites. If your date uploaded a photo of the two of you on Instagram, they want their friends to know that you are having fun.
This does not mean that if they do not post on social media that the date did not go well. Perhaps your date wants to see how things go before they brag to the world that they have had amazing first dates with you.
What is the average age to go on your first date?
Dates can be exciting and teenagers can be eager for their first date. Most people have a true first date in their mid-teenage years. This does not mean that you are not normal if you do not date until you are 18 or 20 or even later. It just means that you either had your priorities set on other things or that you did not find someone to share your first date experience with that was suitable.