Relationships

How to make a good impression on a first date

By: Christa Connell

©iStockphoto.com/kupicoo Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/kupicoo

Relationships

How to make a good impression on a first date

By: Christa Connell

Sitting down with someone new on a first date, hoping you come across in a positive manner, can often be nerve-wracking. While it may be easy for some people, others may find their nerves get the best of them. In order to increase your chances of a second date, it's important to leave a suitor with a good first impression – and we have some simple tips on how to do just that.

For some expert first-date advice we spoke with Kateryna Spiwak, a Toronto-based dating and relationship coach. She shares five strategies for making a positive first impression.

1. Don't forget what the goal of a first date is
It's important to remember that the purpose of a first date is to see if you want to go on a second one. Don't bring too many other expectations with you.

"Remember you're just meeting someone to see if you connect and whether there's potential for a second date. You're not going to be evaluated as a future bride that day," says Spiwak. "Stay in the present, focus on the present and don't think too far ahead."

Spiwak also recommends hitting the gym a few hours before the date to release some of your nervous energy or simply thinking back to great dates you've had in the past for a little confidence boost. It's important to keep all of your good traits in mind.

2. Keep the conversation upbeat on your first date
On a first date, aim to keep the conversation pleasant, as revealing too many personal issues may make you come across as someone who could bring unwanted troubles into a relationship. A date is meant to be fun, not a place to share drama, advises Spiwak.

"You can reveal some information about personal challenges and how you've overcome them, but try to keep it light and not too personal," she says. "Don't talk about major issues and problems, and certainly don't turn to him for a shoulder to cry on."

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover three more great tips for making a good impression on your first date on page 2. 3. Dress appropriately and comfortably for your first date
While you do want to look appealing, you don't want to look inappropriate for the time of day or event. Spiwak suggests opting for a stylish work outfit if you're meeting during the week. Save flashier getups for weekend evenings.

"You can glam up a bit. Try dressier pants or a skirt, dressy jeans or a fitted top that could be somewhat revealing, but not trashy," she advises.

Now is not the time to try out five-inch heels if you've never worn them before. You want to be comfortable so that you can enjoy yourself without worrying about your clothes or even your ability to walk.

4. Be a good listener
Our nerves often get the better of us in the heat of the moment, and we can ramble on without taking the time to listen. But part of making a positive first impression is being able to listen and focus on what your date is saying.

"Remember to listen as often as you speak, and to ask followup questions," says Spiwak. "Also show interest and enthusiasm, share your thoughts and feelings, and use your sense of humour."

5. Be aware of your body language
While you may think that you're doing everything right, it's important to remember that a lot of what you're saying is actually coming through in the way you hold your body. According to Spiwak, nearly 93 per cent of what you convey comes through in non-verbal cues.

"This includes facial expression, eye contact, smiling, posture, placement of hands, tension in the body, energy and voice tone, modulation, pace and volume," Spiwak explains. "Keep body language warm, inviting, non-threatening, relaxed, casual, positive and open."

Spiwak reminds daters that the first date determines very little other than if there is going to be a second date. So don't put too much pressure on yourself or your potential mate.

"The first date is not an interview for marriage," Spiwak says. "There shouldn't be any expectation to fall in love that first night." So take a deep breath and just enjoy yourself!

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How to make a good impression on a first date