Dating Advice

Why First Impressions Matter in Relationships

Your date smiles at you as soon as you walk in. Do you remember them for their genuine smile, for their lovely styled hair or for their beautiful eyes? Or maybe the fact that they stood up and gave you a warm embrace? All of these make a first impression on a first date and are very important to a relationship.

My first impression of Paco was his chivalry, equality, fun and spontaneity. Oh, and that he was tone deaf. Luckily for me most of these impressions still run true, except that he isn’t actually tone deaf but can sing songs better when he knows them! (in case you haven’t already guessed, we did karaoke on our first date) If I had based my first impressions on his singing skills we probably wouldn’t be together today.

How quickly are first impressions made?

According to Psychology Today1, it takes only 7 seconds to make first impressions

“First impressions are influenced by a number of factors, such as facial shape, vocal inflection, attractiveness, and general emotional state.”

psychology today

Why first impressions are important in relationships?

These initial opinions that you form of someone are difficult to change over time, which is why first impressions are so important in the dating world. It might mean the difference between choosing to continue to date or deciding no longer to pursue a relationship.

First impressions on a date are made up of –

  • First impressions your date makes on you
  • First impressions you make on them

Both these factors are equally important when on a date. Focusing on just yourself will mean you haven’t noticed what your date is like. Focusing on your date too much may mean you’re unaware of how you’re coming across.

When on a date, do have points of intrigue in your mind to consider, but the main thing is to be in the moment. Then you will be able to know and feel whether you’re compatible with each other.

How to create a good first impression

  • Smile! Smile genuinely – also known as the Duchenne smile.

A Duchenne smile is the one that reaches your eyes, making the corners wrinkle up with crow’s feet. It’s the smile most of us recognize as the most authentic expression of happiness.

  • Listen – Rather than think about what to say next, let conversation flow and really listen and respond to what your date is saying.
  • Dress appropriately – Show care and confidence in yourself. More on this in First Dates Dos and Don’ts.
  • Be yourself – Authenticity goes a long way in dating. If you’re not yourself from the get go, how are you supposed to find someone compatible to be with for life?

What to think about when forming a first impression of your date?

Making a good impression is important, but it’s just as important to form the right impression of your date. It’s like an interview – you need to know whether you like the company just as much as the company needs to find out whether you’re suitable.

Don’t just make a first impression in the first 7 seconds as we most often do. Think about different angles in which you can form a more rounded opinion before you make an opinion about them.

Think about more than the obvious ‘do they make you laugh’ or ‘do you have things in common’ questions. Consider the following points when making a first impression of your date:

  • Are they really listening to you?
  • What are their manners like? Do they treat the restaurant staff well?
  • How do they respond to the behaviour of others?
  • How do they respond when frustrated or in a challenging situation?
  • How do they get along with your friends?

First impressions don’t have to be the be all and end all. It’s important to be open minded when it comes to forming impressions on dates. People tend to try harder to impress on first dates so it may take a few dates before you see their true colours. Or they may be nervous and so unable to show their true self on a first date. So give your date a chance!

Have you been in relationships where your date’s personality has changed over time? Or when your first impression has been wrong?

We’d love to hear your stories!


About Author

Hi guys, my name is Dom. Travelling is one of my passions as I love to learn about different cultures and try different cuisines - especially foods with a little bit of spice! I also like to go on hiking adventures - for exercise, bonding time and also for the scenic views. But my main hobby is spending quality time with Paco.