Making a First Impression

You get one go at this. Hmm, now why is that surprising? This is called a first impression after all! There are no second chances at making a spectacular first impression. Those first few seconds of contact become a benchmark for every subsequent impression you make. Online is easier in many ways than face to face. That;ls where a romantic dating site comes into its own.

Why second-guess the obvious? In just under ten seconds, enough time to read the first few lines of an email, glance at a profile or extend your hand and offer a friendly "hello," someone is forming a first and lasting impression of you. Is it a good one?

Your Personal Profile - How Good is it?

Your profile is a uniquely personal introduction. What you say in it says a great deal about you. Well it says, or should say, everything positive about you. Think of it as equivalent to not only what you say when first meeting a potential date, but also what you are wearing, your posture, eye contact, the firmness of your handshake--even your makeup, perfume or hairstyle. While there is no one profile style that suits everyone, a charming, humorous, poignant, creative or otherwise distinctly unique approach may improve your results. Likewise, there are some general breaches of romantic protocol and self-expression that should be avoided. You wouldn't show up late, wear filthy clothes, or chew with your mouth open on a first date at a fine restaurant, so don't behave inappropriately or to your romantic detriment in your profile. A poor picture defaces a perfect profile. No picture means fewer hits.

  • Use an uncommon or striking headline. Have some fun. Be daring! Elicit an emotion! Express yourself!
  • Proofread. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are as important as content. Think of the presentation of your message as a way of dressing for a date. While clothes don't make the man (or woman), no one wants to appear shoddy or unkempt.
  • Say it with style. What you say may not be as important as how you say it. Play with language. Write poetry. Tell a story. Perform stand-up comedy. Paint me a picture of you, one I want to gaze at in admiration
  • Be less-than perfect. Regardless of the style you choose or the language you use to express yourself, be careful not to extol your many virtues to the point of boredom, or even suspicion. No one can be that perfect. Your minor faults and charming inconsistencies make you human, interesting and approachable.
  • Avoid sending up red flags. Don't whine, complain or drivel on about any problems in your life. Refrain from casting yourself in the role of the victim, the egregiously wronged, or the emotionally mortally wounded. Never use the word "desperate," or bring up war stories from past relationships. Be positive and optimistic. Chaos, depression and drama aren't even attractive to masochists.

Your Message As A First Impression

Your first message is like the beginning of a cocktail party conversation. Introduce yourself appropriately. Listen as much as you talk. Show interest in the other person. Be confident, but also genuine. Make eye contact, yes, eye contact! Online and by Private Messagel!! Connect.

As with your profile, first messages should follow basic rules for presentation and content. Experiment and find a style that works for you. Use the subject line like a headline, proofread, be creative, positive and genuine. Avoid anything canned or trite. Pick-up lines don't work and you will rarely make a good first impression, or get a response using one. First messages should always be individually written and work best when conversational in style. Mention something about the recipient's profile. Where did you sense a connection? Ask a question or two and include some brief information about yourself. It's OK to flirt or tease a little, even during your first contact, but keep things light and friendly.

First Impressions In The Real World

If all goes well, your spectacular personal profile and carefully crafted messages will lead to a first date in the real world. Although you may feel as though you already know each other, you have yet to become familiar with each other's physical presence, and that can take some getting used to. First face-to-face encounters can be awkward or even shocking, regardless of the positive feelings you already have for each other. Courtship really starts when you meet in person.

You make your best real-world first impression by being calmly and confidently yourself. Try to enjoy the nervous energy you are feeling. Have fun. Remember to smile. People are perceived as more attractive when they are having a good time. Don't laugh at your own jokes. Do laugh at theirs. Your date will form an immediate first (physical) impression of you, usually in under five seconds, based on some combination of these attributes:

  • Posture or stance
  • walk
  • body language
  • attire
  • physical characteristics
  • smile/facial features
  • handshake
  • grooming
  • scent/perfume
  • eye contact
  • perceived confidence
  • Perceived comfortableness

Inside Information On Positive And Negative Impressions

Several hundred single men and women attending dating and flirting classes were asked to list the attributes they find attractive and unattractive in a potential partner. Below is a list of the most frequent responses. Although many of these attributes may not be immediately apparent, most will show up sometime during a first date.

Attributes Leading To A Positive Impression

Attributes Leading To A Negative Impression

  • warmth
  • sense of humour
  • imagination
  • confidence
  • success
  • fitness
  • individuality
  • body language
  • conversational ability
  • aspiration
  • power
  • creativity
  • kindness
  • ability to listen
  • showing interest

  • self-centered
  • closed minded and judgmental
  • boastful
  • lack of manners
  • poor conversational ability
  • negative life attitude
  • lack of education
  • immature
  • indecisive
  • without an opinion
  • lack of integrity
  • war stories from past relationships
  • whining and complaining
  • shallowness
  • only interested in sex
  • waiting for your turn to speak
  • power games and manipulation
  • materialistic

Notice that shyness is not listed! Also notice how there are more items on the downside of making a first dating impression than on the upside.

There are no second chances when it comes to first impressions, yet many of us fail to impress during early romantic encounters. We want to be loved for who we are and are leery to "package" ourselves in any way. This is understandable, but not always realistic. Dating is a numbers game and, like it or not, dating occurs in a competitive environment. The next positive, first romantic impression you make may turn into life-long love--not a bad return on a relatively minor investment.