7 First Date Tips for an Amazing First Date
A new study reveals the sometimes counter-intuitive factors that make your connection sizzle…or fizzle
Okay, so nailing a date isn’t exactly quantum physics…but sometimes it seems like it might as well be, considering the time and effort scientists (and most single people for that matter) spend pondering the topic. In the latest study, Stanford University researchers analyzed nearly 1000 four-minute speed-dating pair-ups to figure out what factors determined whether couples felt a spark—or had a “meh” attitude toward each other. They recorded the conversations, asked participants to fill out a questionnaire about what they thought of each date, and then poured through mounds of data. What they discovered will fascinate you.
First Date Tips
Here’s what researchers noted about women based on the speed dates:
You’re usually pickier than he is One finding you’ll love: The power is (mostly) in your hands. “Women are much more selective than men when it comes to dating,” says study author Dan McFarland, PhD, a sociologist at Stanford. Ladies indicated a willingness to go on a second date with much less frequency than guys did. So you can relax knowing it’s more about you deciding whether you want to see him again than the other way around.
You might want to act a little self-centered On that note, couples hit it off when women talked about themselves and men supported this by talking about the women. So don’t stress about whether you’re hijacking the convo too much. “Conversations went better if women used words like I and me a lot and men said you more often,” says McFarland.
When you mix up your tone, he thinks you’re into him Speaking quickly and varying your pitch correlated with romantic interest. “It signals excitement,” says McFarland. A slow, monotone voice was associated with a sense of distance and awkwardness. Something to keep in mind, depending on the vibe you want to give off.
Questions are the kiss of death This one is pretty baffling: You’d think asking a guy about himself would show you’re interested and enthusiastic, right? Well, it turns out the more questions couples posed during a date, the less connected they felt. According to McFarland, a factual Q&A about where you’re from or what your hobbies are made people feel detached, like they were trying to fill the gaps and forcing it, instead of letting the chat flow naturally.
Choose your words carefully Fluffy fillers—sorta, kinda, probably, I guess—are turn-offs because they indicate a lack of passion. On the other hand, sprinkling in y’know and I mean when telling a story (linguists call these phrases “self-markers,” because they bring attention to yourself) draws your date into what you’re saying and helps you both get more in tune.
And a few notes from researchers that you might want to keep in mind about him:
It’s a good sign if he interrupts Surprisingly, women were more into guys who jumped in mid-story—not to bring the conversation back to themselves, but to complete her sentence or agree with her. “It makes you feel like you have chemistry because you’re jointly telling the story together, you’re both engaged, ” says McFarland. It’s his way of trying to build a rapport, and it proves he’s genuinely listening to and interested in you.
You’ll click more with an empathetic guy When you’re telling him about yourself, pay attention to his reactions. The research showed that men who chimed in with supportive statements about something positive in a woman’s life (“That’s really cool,” “That’s awesome!” “Amazing!”), and sympathy about a tough situation (“Oh no,” “That’s weird,” “That sucks”) scored more love from the ladies. And rightfully so—empathy is one of the ways he shows he’d be up for another date.
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