Your First Face-to-Face Meeting

Success! You sifted through the dross to find the gold. You spent time corresponding and telephoning and have decided it’s time to meet in person. Bravo!

But take some time to think about what happens now, in order to maximize your odds of success on the next step.

You’ll want to take some basic precautions to ensure your physical and psychological safety. Meet in a public place, but one not too noisy.

You want to be in a position to get to know that intriguing person. That’s best done in a safe environment that allows for easy and effective communication.

Dress for success. Unless your first date is a sporting or exercise event, save the casual clothes for kicking around on a Saturday. Suit and tie for the men, or an evening dress for women, may be overkill for certain dates, especially if they take place during the afternoon. But looking good and well-groomed shows respect and interest.

Research proves that initial attraction is largely based on appearance. That may sound superficial, but it’s all you have to go on at first.

You’ll quickly move past it to get to know more about that person. But it’s hard to get over the first impressions if they’re negative. Lead with your strengths.

By the way, meeting during the day is not a bad idea for first dates. You can see well, there are more people around and you can beg off easier if it isn’t working out.

There are dozens of low-key activities you can enjoy. Nighttime dates always carry the aura of something more serious, at least at first.

You don’t want to over-think it, but spend some time considering what you’d like to do. Talk it over and select a few things that are mutually enjoyable.

That gives both parties the best chance of being relaxed in a naturally somewhat tense situation. Have a few options so that in case one thing becomes impossible or unattractive, you have a back-up.

You also don’t want to over-think what you plan to say, but you should have some idea. Spontaneity is great, but it leaves everything to chance.

Having a few questions in mind, or one or two interesting tales to tell, can help you get past that initial discomfort zone.

When you do ask questions, phrase them to allow for answers of more than just a word or two. You want to give the other person a lead to show you who they are.

Select something based on a topic you discussed in email correspondence or a phone conversation. And get the facts about them straight. That shows you were paying attention and care what they have to say.

One key to a successful first date, beyond the element of ‘chemistry’ that you can’t control, is good communication. Women want to be listened to, and men want to know that what they say is of interest.

Honest, polite, friendly conversation with give and take is the first step.